Want to lose a few unwanted extra holiday pounds? A new research study from the University of South California has reported that using the social network Twitter as a network support can help people shed some of that unwanted extra weight. according to MSN reports released on Thursday, Jan, 31.
A study that researched 96 obese men and women for a six month period found that after they split the volunteers into two groups, one group only received podcasts about weight loss, and the other who received podcasts and mobile apps for Twitter that helped them track their nutrition and exercise progress with other group members.
After the six month study, both groups saw a 2.7 percent reduction in weight. But when researchers looked specifically within the mobile group to examine how Twitter may have helped participants battle the bulge, they saw that every 10 posts to the social-media site resulted in a -0.5 percent weight loss.
Lead researcher Brie Turner- McGrievy, Ph.D. stated that "Those who were engaged with Twitter lost more weight," Revealing that a group-based approach to weight loss proves to be more helpful as the group provides a support network, and also helps keep everyone a bit more honest and motivated. "We were interested in finding a way to provide that group social support online during our intervention," Turner-McGrievy says. "We chose Twitter because we wanted people to feel free to post multiple, brief messages each day, and have the choice to be anonymous."
For those of you who are interested you can try using an online social network to keep you accountable for your health goals, too. Turner-McGrievy suggests the following:
Look up others tracking their own fitness journeys, and follow along. "I suggest first to search for weight loss bloggers online who also have a Twitter account," says Turner-McGrievy. "Start by following them and then see who their users are. Follow the users you find who are similar to you."
Don't just watch others talk health; dive in. "Start tweeting!" Turner-McGrievy says. "Twitter is an amazing way to connect with other people who are also attempting to start an exercise, healthy-eating and weight-loss program." Interaction is key. You want to feel like you're in it together with other users, not like you're alone on an island.
Update Your Status:
No need to worry about making tweets witty or particularly newsworthy, Turner-McGrievy insists. "The posts to Twitter were mostly in the form of status updates, so just telling people that you went to the gym or stuck to your calorie goals for the day was helpful," she says. "The nice thing about Twitter is it's expected that you will post multiple times per day, and you can be fairly anonymous... Our study participants liked having the ability to be anonymous and not have to worry about a friend knowing they were trying to lose weight."
While Twitter's anonymity is certainly great if you want it, Facebook may also work, especially if you can join a weight-loss group or have real-life friends getting fit along with you. "In a current weight loss trial we are conducting among women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, we are using private Facebook groups and have had good success with those," Turner-McGrievy says.
If you use Twitter or any other of the social networks o aid in your weight loss program, let us know how much success you have had, and any other suggestions you may have.