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 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 is such a great idea in every case. Be careful when you put pictures on social media,” said Dr. Ronald Klatz, President of the A4M.