With rising obesity rates and the consequent increase of chronic diseases such as diabetes, there is a desire in populations in the United States and the Western world to keep a watch over their physical self. Numerous weight loss programs have been designed to help achieve this goal. But in the “battle of the bulge,” the real challenge lies in maintaining body weight once a significant amount of weight has been lost.
One method that has been increasingly researched is the use of social networks to sustain an individual's motivation to continue training to maintain the reduced body weight. This method can be cost-effective and easy to implement on a daily basis. Research by sociologists and other professionals show that social networking can complement more conventional methods like support groups. Social interactions are more likely to make a person take responsibility for his or her motivation to maintain body weight.
There are many social websites that cater to a variety of needs. The website www.extrapounds.com is an example of interactive social networking helping people stay motivated to exercise further. Additionally, websites like www.worldpulse.com and www.womansday.com are designed specifically for women, with an understanding of problems faced by them and providing motivation.
Although there is an ongoing debate on the role/s played by social networking in weight loss, the overall effect of networking to maintain body weight appears to have a more positive than a negative impact on individuals. Aiming for feeling good, and a positive outlook on life can do wonders to anyone at any stage of weight loss.
Ashrafian, H., Toma, T., Harling, L., Kerr, K., Athanasiou, T., & Darzi, A. (2014). Social networking strategies that aim to reduce obesity have achieved significant although modest results. Health Affairs, 33(9), 1641-1647.
BSNtoMSN.org. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://bsntomsn.org/2010/top-25-social-sites-for-weight-loss-and-maintenance/
Chang, T., Chopra, V., Zhang, C., & Woolford, S. J. (2013). The role of social media in online weight management: systematic review. Journal of medical Internet research, 15(11).
Social Media, The New Weapon In The Battle To Lose Weight. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/06/353505527/social-media-the-new-weapon-in-the-battle-to-lose-weight