Twitter helping Americans lose weight
Thanks to 24/7 social support, Twitter is quickly becoming one of the newest ways to help dieters shed unwanted pounds. And according to researchers at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, connecting with like-minded dieters online really works. The report, recently published in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine, is one of the first to measure Twitter’s direct impact on dieting.
Here’s how it works: Tweet your diet goals, ideas and successes online, follow others who are looking to achieve similar goals, then connect with an instant army of diet supporters in the Twitter universe who help to cheer you on every step of the way.
In the study, 96 overweight or obese adults were randomly assigned to either listen to two podcasts per week about nutrition and fitness or to listen to the podcasts, record physical activity and connect with other study participants on Twitter. In six months, the Twitter users lost more weight. In fact, each tweet actually corresponded with half a pound lost, which suggests that social networking can be a powerful and accessible tool for dieters.
The good news for dieters, researchers say, is that using social media can help you cut costs. That’s because it is vastly different from traditional behavioral weight loss programs that cost money and provide support through weekly face-to-face meetings and weigh-ins. To start your own online support group, follow these tips:
- Tweet your intention. Start by publicizing your goals on Twitter.
- Make Twitter your honesty meter. Practice what you preach online. By sharing your everyday activities and goals with others, you are more likely to hold yourself accountable.
- Follow other groups that share your goals. Whether you’re doing Atkins or counting calories, connect with others who share your interests and goals…It’s a great way to build support and get tips on recipes, workout plans and more.
- Share Your success and reTweet the success of your followers: Use Twitter to spread the word about your success and be sure to reTweet other success stories and ideas when you see something good. It’s like Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.”
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