Weight loss

7 methods social media may help you shed some pounds

The Internet: It's no longer just about cute cat videos and political arguments.

If you don't have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account yet, you want to do this this week. A number of research studies have shown that social media can not only help you improve your eating habits and motivate you to exercise, but can also help you lose weight. Here's how:

1. Friend lose weight
A 2015 rthwestern University study found that members of an online weight management program who signed up frequently, recorded their considerations, and "made friends" with other users lost seven to 10 percent of their body weight compared to those who didn't have many friends had (you only lost about five percent). This is peer pressure that has gone in the right direction.

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2. Tweet the pounds away
University of California researchers asked a group of adults to listen to weekly podcasts about nutrition and fitness. They asked a second group to listen to the same podcast, then report on their training and connect with their fellow students on Twitter. Surprise: All 10 tweets that the second group sent corresponded to a weight loss of 0.5 percent. The secret ingredient, of course, is accountability and social support.

3. Turn Twitter, Facebook and Instagram into your own personal accountability tools
If you hold yourself accountable to someone, you can achieve your goals. A group of adults who told a friend every week how far they had got to a goal was more successful than those who kept their goals to themselves. Astonishing 70 percent of them were successful. Using a social media platform like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, which is mostly phone photos with little space for text, can take the place of a personal friend and help you get where you want to go. Use the hashtag #weightloss and see who and what shows up.

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4. Track yourself with an app
One study after another has shown that keeping a daily food diary helps you stick to your diet and exercise program. A permanent Kaiser study found that if you log every bite, you would lose twice as much. Thanks to the multitude of applications for your computer, your phone and your wrist tracker, this is even easier today. NuMi, Nutrisystem's free online tracking tool, makes it easy to track your food and water intake, physical activity and weight loss. NuMi also gives you access to thousands of healthy recipes, restaurant suggestions, and exclusive offers and discounts on Nutrisystem foods. Tell all your social media friends about this free service to share recipe feedback and share your progress.

5. Start your own group
With Facebook, you can create a completely private group that you and your employees – think of close friends, neighborhood friends, work colleagues – can use as a virtual support group. Your friends will not only give you support and encouragement when other online groups are showing signs of it, get tips, advice on what really works, and even recipes to try.

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6. Pin it
Someone once called the pin-and-save online service Pinterest “electronic hoarding”. So electronically hoard some great information. Your free membership gives you access to thousands of great, low-calorie and healthy recipes, fitness ideas, exercise programs, and even encouragement from other winners available online. Create boards for all of your weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals and put together your own mini-program to achieve a leaner body and a healthier life.

7. Take food pics
As it turns out, food photography is not just for foodies. In a study published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing in 2016, researchers found that a picture of their own healthy foods can make consumers better rate those foods if they become aware of the fact that other healthy foods are eating. Takeout: Scrolling through the pictures of healthy foods can increase your enjoyment factor for those foods. In another study, published in the journal Psychological Science in 2013, the researchers found that delaying eating by performing a short ritual before eating could positively affect our perception of the food on our plates. So if you take the time to properly adjust the lighting and angles of this beautiful green salad, this may be the delay you need to improve your perception of the healthy dish expected.

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