Struggling to lose weight? Maybe posting that selfie on social media can help, researchers say.
Their study included 33 people in two weight-loss groups -- surgical and nonsurgical -- who regularly blogged or posted online about their weight-loss experiences and were followed for four years.
Sharing their successes and setbacks on social media helped the participants stay committed to setting and achieving their weight-loss goals, according to the study results.
"The sharing of intimate information and photos about weight-loss goals in virtual space is a key factor in motivating behaviors that fulfill that new thinner identity and thus helps people reach their goals," said study co-author Sonya Grier, a professor of marketing at American University in Washington, D.C.
She said this approach allows for relative anonymity, accessibility, availability, and flexibility for people to create a community that can help keep them motivated and accountable.
"Not everyone can get the support they need from the people they interact with in person on a daily basis," Grier said in a university news release. "It is helpful that technology can support community building and goal achievement in virtual spaces."
“Although I agree using tools to your advantage is a good thing. However given the state of Social Media bullying, oversensitivity, lack of ability to express an opinion without extreme criticism, and general intolerance demonstrated on Facebook every day, I am not so sure posting your weight and your weight loss goals are such a great idea in every case. Be careful when you put pictures on social media,” said Dr. Ronald Klatz, President of the A4M.
The findings were published in the November 2017 issue of the Journal of Interactive Marketing.
Brian P. McDonough, MD, FAAFPPeer
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