The rising obesity levels in populations have reached alarming figures that many governments are worried about this trend. Losing weight is increasingly becoming a significant life ambition of many individuals. Weight loss can benefit people by lessening the risks associated with being overweight. This can ultimately make them feel good about themselves and give a positive and proactive outlook towards life. But in the overall "battle of the bulge", it is the fight to maintain body weight after shedding substantial amounts that is the toughest. This usually occurs when individuals having lost weight, become slack in their approach towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle and fall back to habits practiced before losing weight.
Role of social networks in maintaining weight after weight loss:
A social network website called as www.extrapounds.com is an example of a modern-day social networking through websites that help people stay focussed on retaining their reduced body weight, by making them accountable to themselves. The National Association for Weight Loss Surgery (NAWLS) network is another example where members can interact daily with other members, to keep in track of their weight maintenance progress. These websites support research done by sociologists and other professionals that show a complementary role played by social networking in maintaining one's weight after a weight loss.
A very recent study conducted by the Imperial College London has shown that there was a modest, but significant drop in the Body Mass Index (BMI) levels of about 0.64 in those individuals who availed themselves of social interaction in maintaining body weight, after completing a weight loss program. But some studies have shown that the impact of social networking on maintaining weight loss is not conclusive and that more research needs to be done to definitely prove its effectiveness.
According to an expert from the Nutrition Department of the Arizona State University, social interactions among people helped in holding them in being accountable, if they tried skipping an exercise or indulged in overeating. Another promising benefit of social networking in helping one maintain their weight is that it does not involve any cost factor. Also, social media and social networking sites may be accessed in practical day-to-day life. But an important downside of this method is that to use it one may have to be slightly tech-savvy or comfortable with online interaction.
Overall, it appears to be clear that involving oneself in a social networking website to help with maintaining weight after completing a weight loss program has more positives than drawbacks. It certainly compliments other methods of weight maintenance and hence, it is certainly worth trying it out.