How social media affects weight loss

womens mouth with a tape measure in it

We all know that exercise and diet affect our weight loss. Most of us are even aware that things like the environment, genetics, and stress levels can also affect. But have you ever considered how social media can affect the amount of weight you lose? Not surprisingly, social media can have an enormous effect on weight loss- either for better or worse. Just like sickness and disease can spread through a small work environment, health ideas and habits can spread through social media. However, unlike the spreading of a disease, transmission in social networks can be spread across hundreds of people throughout thousands of miles. There is no limit to the spreading of health ideas or habits.

In the Framingham Heart Study, researchers found that if a sibling became overweight during the study, the other sibling had a 40% increased chance of also becoming overweight. This could be attributed to genetics. However, the same increased chance of obesity was found among spouses. This is also possible as spouses often share the same meal schedule and exercise routine. What was most shocking about the study, however, was that if a friend became obese, the study participant had a 57% increased chance of obesity. Friends don’t share genetics nor do they commonly share eating schedules or exercise routines- certainly not enough to warrant such an increased chance of obesity.

How social media influence us?

This study shows that we may well be much more influenced by their friends and peers than we realize. Scientists suspect that what people perceive as normal and acceptable is influenced by social media. Therefore, if friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances through social media are gaining weight, then one might see that as more socially acceptable. They might see weight loss as natural, or even unavoidable. Instead of making a constant effort to keep the weight off, they might succumb to the “pressure” of social media and just join the crowd of weight gainers.

Incidentally, there is also evidence that social media can work the other way- encouraging people to keep a healthy lifestyle and body weight. Social media users who regularly post their workout routine, health goals, or diet regulations on a public social network have an increased chance of success. There is much more of a sense of ownership and responsibility to follow up with weight loss goals when they are posted publicly. Additionally, users who consistently post health goals can have the same effect on their social media “friends” that was described above. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle now appears acceptable and inviting. If a friend is losing weight and consistently following up on his weight loss goals, the chances are dramatically higher than the study participant will also be living a healthy lifestyle.

In a nutshell, what you post on your social media sites in regards to weight loss does make a difference. So if you’re considering, for example, how to start the biggest loser at work, consider your social media weight-loss strategy, too. Pictures that you see of others, whether skinny or obese, affect the way you perceive yourself and others. Sites like weight-loss wars are a huge force of encouragement. Take advantage of your membership on this site! Use the people around you who share your goals as a motivator. Encourage others in your weight loss competitions, and post frequently in the adventures in health. All of these things are proven to boost your success rate of weight loss. Remember, you can gain alone or you can lose together.

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