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Can Social Media Help You Lose Weight?

How much does social media dictate what to wear, what to eat and not eat, what your hair color should be or worse, how to be a "better" parent?

Now we can use our phones, tablets, and computers to access social media and help us to lose weight, get fit and better our health! WHAT?

Yes, let's use Social Media to lose weight. Right?

While the online world can boast a plethora of negative views and promote unhealthy lifestyle choices and unrealistic or gimmick laden weight-loss schemes, there is a positive side to using social media to achieve weight loss goals. When it comes to bettering your health and choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, social media can provide a wide array of information, support groups, and accountability apps and sites to only help you be successful!

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to swiping, clicking, and tapping your way to weight loss!

DO: Share Your Goals

If your only honest with yourself, it’s easy to let willpower fall through the cracks. Want and need to stick to your goal? Share it with others!

Psychology professor at Dominican University of California, Dr. Gail Matthews, completed a study consisting of 267 participants on how goal achievement in the workplace is influenced by writing goals, committing to goal-directed actions, and accountability for those actions. Participants came from all walks of life and ranging in age from 23 to 72 years old.

Matthews found that more than 70 percent of the participants who sent weekly updates to a friend reported successful goal achievement (completely or were more than half way to meeting their goal) compared to 35 percent of those who kept their goals to themselves and did not write them down.

Whether your goal is to lose 10 pounds, not drink soda for a month or eat an apple a day, writing down your goals and having them in front of you to see every single day is a great way to start! Online support groups, whether they be on Facebook or a healthy living website are places where you can share your goal and possibly find others out there with the same ones!

Blogging your weight loss journey along with your healthy lifestyle goals is another way to share your goals and be accountable for them. Additionally, showing and talking about your own real life struggles and help readers identify with the highs and lows of your struggles. And, you may help motivate that one person to get healthy!

DO: Get Support

Who doesn’t want a cheerleading squad to yell motivational chants and be there to pump you up when you feel like giving up? Since having a cheerleading team at your beck-and-call is unrealistic for most people, the next best thing is having family and friends to call on when you need them!

But don’t ignore the people you’ve met online too!

Getting encouragement from someone with the same struggles is a great way to get the motivation for big wins! Don’t know where to get outside support? Log in to Twitter! Yep, that’s right. A study done by the Oxford Academic showed that people that tweeted about their weight-loss progress gained more encouragement from their followers than their own family and friends!

DO: Find Your People

Friends and family can be great cheerleaders but finding people that have the same interests and want to achieve the same goals as you are a great way to stay on track.

Online chat groups and forums where you can ask questions without judgement, get feedback, and have positive discussions about life and its struggles.

Every now and then talking to other people that you aren’t related to can shine a new light and a different mindset on how to achieve your goal. If you’ve hit a weight loss stall, you’re tired of eating the same thing over and over, or you’re sick of the same workout program; talking to like-minded individuals can help open your eyes wider to get a new perception on things!

DO: Check In

If the world wide web and social media is all new to you, take baby steps. You don’t have to post every morsel of food consumed, or every workout with calories burned posted, however, checking in and making a short post about your killer cardio session in your basement is as good as any!

Do: Track Your Efforts

Using food tracker apps are very helpful when it comes to taking accountability on what you’ve eaten for the day or what may be causing a weight stall. Many of these food tracker apps also have an exercise feature where you can input the type of exercise you did and how many calories you burned. This is a great motivation tool to use as the next time you go for a run, you can try to beat your previous time and distance!

Do: Find Motivation

Trust me. We all have those days and will have those days of not wanting to get out of bed and do a single thing for the day! Understand that the lack of motivation will happen but being prepared for those motivation-less days will help you stay on track to reach your goals!

Pinterest and Instagram are great social media outlets for motivational quotes and sayings. Motivation looks different for everyone so whatever works for you, go for it!

DO: Celebrate Progress

Progress pics are almost a must-have when beginning your healthy lifestyle journey online! So, post those pics, make those comments and share your wins with everyone! Whether it’s a Non-Scale Victory (NSV) or your blood pressure number has improved, share it! The positive feedback will only lift you higher and motivate you even more to stick with your journey and reach your goals!

Here is where social media can make a wrong turn.

DON’T: Compare Yourself

Everybody’s journey is different and comparing yourself to others will only derail you from achieving your goals. What works for one person may not work for you. Everybody is different and EVERY BODY is different! While it’s easy to get discouraged when you see someone reach their goal before you, being happy and supportive is a positive way to keep yourself motivated to do the same!

DON’T: Listen to the Trolls

Of course, putting yourself on any social media site and the internet can be risky. With the good comes the bad, and unfortunately there are individuals out there that love to rain on peoples’ parade. Being criticized is not what anyone wants, but it does come with the territory. Rising above the negativity will only make you stronger!

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