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Fighting Fat with Facebook? How Social Media Has Changed Dieting Forever

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Old 01-29-2011, 05:38 AM   #1
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Post Fighting Fat with Facebook? How Social Media Has Changed Dieting Forever

Hi everyone,
Thought I'd share this post I found on Psychology Today.

Quote:
Fighting Fat with Facebook? How Social Media Has Changed Dieting Forever
Trying to lose weight? Facebook may help!
Published on January 17, 2011

Temptation is all around, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Before Facebook, Twitter and texting, those trying to shed a few extra pounds relied on old fashioned face to face support networks to help them achieve their weight loss goals. As a kid, I remember the neighborhood ladies discussing their latest pound shedding success stories at coffee klatches or Tupperware parties...yes I'm dating myself here! Historically, in-person support groups were an essential part of most weight management programs as a means to lose weight and keep it off. Weight Watchers, a pioneer in the weight management- support network philosophy, started in the 1960s at a home where neighbors met once a week to discuss the best ways to lose weight. Now, internet social networking offers a whole new way for flab fighters to interact.
It's no secret that having an enthusiastic group of friends is an essential component to reaching and sustaining healthier eating habits. Studies have shown that dieters can achieve greater weight loss if partnered with supportive friends or family members. Friends are a source of motivation, encouragement, inspiration and empathy. When it comes to weight management, today's social media provides the ideal forum to ask for support, build relationships, track progress and encourage others to share their experiences, good or bad.
So how can you effectively put Facebook and other social media to use when battling the bulge?
Start by making a list of simple, but realistic goals, like "I want to drop a few pounds this year by making healthier choices." Then, take that first brave step and post on your Facebook page for all to see: "I'm trying to LIST YOUR GOALS and I need your support." Then, tell your friends what you specifically need from them: "I need you to : suggest activities that don't involve eating; take an interest and ask me how I'm doing; not chastise me if I eat a morsel of brownie; help me avoid my triggers (emotional eating, buffets, parties; join me for a walk or other exercise." Use Facebook as a place to talk about your struggles and challenges and track your progress over time. Enlist your friends to be "on call" when you need a little extra temptation avoidance...here is where texting and tweeting come in.... Feeling unmotivated to take that walk? Text a friend that you need a virtual kick in the butt. Have an impulse to visit the corner fast food joint and raid the dollar menu? Tweet your temptation to a pal. Use your vast network to motivate and keep you on track!
Healthy behaviors are strengthened by healthy relationships. Don't be surprised if you find you have a saboteur in the company you keep. A friend or two may find your new commitment to fitness to be a threat to their well-being or even your friendship. Guilt, fear, anger and jealously may arise and you may question, "Why would my friend try to make me fail?" Some friends may be afraid of change, thinking "What if my friend gets a hot new bod and ditches me for dates?" Or he or she may be feeling guilty over their own less than healthy habits and try to sabotage your efforts toward success as a way to cope with their own perceived shortcomings. So how should you cope with a dietary slayer? Explain, up front, that you are serious about your goals and that you need support. If the friend(s) in question continues to offer more resistance than a cat getting it's claws trimmed, then its time to create some distance. Keep in mind that friends are the most powerful influence on weight loss and weight gain. This was demonstrated a couple of years ago when the influence of friendship on obesity was highlighted by data from the epic Framingham Heart study. It showed that close friendships could create corpulence. It didn't matter if the friend lived next door or across the country: people were most likely to become obese when a friend became obese. I'm not saying to abandon your portly cohorts, but be aware of the influence others have on your choices and decide to set limits. Use Facebook wisely. Surround yourself with positive, supportive influences that allow you to resist temptation in favor of a healthier you. And the next time you feel the urge to overindulge, tweet or text your temptation away!
I know they're talking about Facebook but the ideas still apply, right? We get support from talking to each other. What I love is that this site has been around forever (before Facebook and much longer than the term "social media" itself), I feel like 3FC is so so so much better. Because we don't know each other IRL so we can truly be anonymous, we can go on these crazy rants and be super stoked about our .05 lbs loss without anyone laughing at us. Most of all because we have all been there. We all know what it's like to be fat. I don't think texting a friend or proclaiming my goals on Facebook could help as much as the replies you guys give me to one post on 3FC where I'm having a mental breakdown because of a muffin.
I bet if they did a study on how much weight you could lose with support on Facebook and how much weight you lose with support from 3FC, the latter would kick some butt
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Old 01-29-2011, 06:07 AM   #2
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I agree. I like the anonymous aspect of this place. If I post to facebook, I'd have to worry about people gossiping about me and knowing all of my personal business. I really don't want a workmate to know how much I weigh!
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:41 AM   #3
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I just don't think most of friends would understand my weightloss journey. I try and talk about it sometimes but they seem content to tell me I'm not that fat and that I'm obssesive and should exercise 4 days a week. A lot of them have never been fat and the ones who have are quite content where they're at. That's why I'm so happy I have people to talk to on 3FC the people here know whats up.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:14 PM   #4
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I totally see it both ways but having said that, I will say that in one month, I have lost 12.5 lbs since Jan 3 via WW points plus AND without meetings. I formed a secret group on Facebook of women who were interested in support for the program without going to meetings. Most of the women I DO know. Others had to be invited by another person.

I think having the facebook platform is a little easier for me because I can access it easily from my iphone, ipad--via the facebook apps.

Again, I see all of your views, but facebook definitely works better for me.
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Starting Weight: 284
Current Weight: 218.5
Goal Weight: 199

Doing WW all ONLINE! With the assistance of my WW facebook group I formed.

If you would like to join the group, send me an email to toothlady@alumni.unc.edu--I'll add you as a friend first then add you to the group. After you are added to the group, I will dissolve the friendship.

Last edited by toothlady : 02-01-2011 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:16 PM   #5
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And what really surprised me was the number of my friends that were interested in losing weight. It totally keeps me accountable!
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Starting Weight: 284
Current Weight: 218.5
Goal Weight: 199

Doing WW all ONLINE! With the assistance of my WW facebook group I formed.

If you would like to join the group, send me an email to toothlady@alumni.unc.edu--I'll add you as a friend first then add you to the group. After you are added to the group, I will dissolve the friendship.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:26 PM   #6
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I love this, and its so true.. 3fc is amazing, and the people on it are great.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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Posting diet and weight loss goals on Facebook may work for some. But I don't think it's something I'd do. It's mostly because I'm not comfortable sharing something really personal with my co-workers and clients. On the other hand, it's easier to share weight loss goals and stories in forums like 3FC because, well, we're all in the same boat and want the same thing. It feels safe because no one will judge you here.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:40 AM   #8
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My bf looks at me like I killed his puppy when I call myself fat, so does one of my best friends, so if I talk about my insecurities to them they give me this >.> or they give me a lecture, and I have friends who are really fat so if I talk about how I want to lose weight to be in the military or lose weight to fit in a dress they are all WHAT ARE YOU COMPLAING ABOUT! >.>

So I talk to no one, thats why I joined this so I won't feel all alienated with my insecurities, PLUS family on facebook, they'll just harass you with recepies, and my family got mad at me when I bought a treadmill that I bought that I purchased because I sold some of my prize possessions a bass a guitar and an amp really good equipment to, I still have one bass one guitar and one amp though but MY LOVE!!! D=

Oh and My bf isn't fat, and he doesn't eat vegtables or work out, and he plays xbox, maplestory, and OMGpop!!!! ANNNNNDDDD MY PS2!!! Which I call shenanigans!!! And he goes to college too. >.> So frustrating.
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