7 Things You Do On Social Media That Help You Lose Weight
Unfollow indulgent food
Scrolling through drool-worthy photos of #foodporn on Instagram may seem harmless, but it encourages you to indulge more. A review of studies in the journal Brain and Cognition found that regular exposure to virtual food may exacerbate physical hunger. Even worse: Seeing photos associated with a particular taste decreases your enjoyment when you actually experience that taste.
Pin healthy inspiration
Once you’ve unfollowed social media accounts that make you crave unhealthy food, focus on the ones that inspire you. Create digital vision boards on Pinterest for each of your healthy interests: For example, designate one board for jogging inspiration, one for slow cooker recipes, and one for smoothies. Add to it regularly, and explore your board when you need motivation.
Build your support group
You know a support system is crucial for successful weight loss, but sometimes your family just isn’t on board. (Ditch Friday pizza nights? Never!) If that sounds familiar, find a support group online. A Northwestern University found that online dieters who checked into CalorieKing, a weight-loss website, to log their meals and “friend” other dieting members lost 8 percent more body weight after six months than their less-connected peers.
Post your favorite photos
It’s exciting to see your body get toner and slimmer, so go ahead and show it. When you post a photo of your progress on Facebook, a network of friends can offer congratulations, support, and encouragement that inspire you to stay on track. A Cornell University study found that simply spending time exploring or editing your Facebook profile can boost self-esteem, likely because it enables you to put your best self forward—hello, toned triceps!—and celebrate your successes. (Remember, you can adjust privacy settings on Facebook to determine who exactly sees the weight-loss photos you post.)
Tweet your progress
Use Twitter to make quick comments on your progress in real time. University of Southern California researchers assigned one group of adults to listen to two nutrition and fitness podcasts each, and another group to listen to podcasts in addition to reporting workouts and connecting with other study participants on Twitter. Every 10 tweets in the second group corresponded to a 0.5-percent greater weight loss. Twitter can be an effective tool in a weight-loss program because of the increased access to information, accountability, and social support, say researchers.
Write about your ups and downs
Prone to emotional eating? Blog about it. Recording your weight loss journey can help you identify triggers that make you binge, helping you differentiate between emotional and physical hunger. Keep it private, or publish it publicly to inspire others also struggling with emotional eating. Once you determine what your triggers are, write about how you’ll fix the problem. If you tend to overeat after work, write about what activities you’ll do before going home instead. Follow up with notes on how your plan worked.
Use apps to log your meals
Various smartphone apps now allow you to log your daily meals, post photos of your food, and leave comments on other dieters’ healthy food posts. Some apps may even soon use food recognition technology, which determines nutritional information based on photos you upload. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that participants who monitored their diet with either a smartphone app or memo feature missed fewer days of logging than people using paper and a pencil, possibly due to ease of use. Check your app store for available apps (many are free).