Can Facebook, Instagram help you lose weight? Yes, says study

Researchers have added one more advantage to the laundry list of benefits social media brags about. A study conducted by the University of California, Irvine, social media apps like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram could help in weight loss. So will staring at your Facebook profile for hours help you knock some inches off your waistline? It’s not that simple. The researchers say that sharing details of your weight loss journey, the good and the bad, on social media is an important factor in helping you achieve your fitness goals.

Social media users complain about having to see gym selfies of their fitness-obsessed friends, pictures of what they ate for breakfast, details of how many miles they ran and shots of their perfect body on social media. This can understandably fuel jealousy and insecurity in those who follow them. But irrespective of what friends think, the study titled ‘Weight Loss Through Virtual Support Communities: A Role for Identity-based Motivation in Public Commitment’says that it is important to share your small wins and losses on social media. Here’s a weight loss tip: Stay away from fat-shaming friends.

The study says, “Individuals increasingly participate in virtual support communities (VSCs) where they conduct numerous aspects of their lives with others whom they may never encounter in person, and they interact within these communities to attain various goals. Research finds that individuals are more likely to achieve success with such goals when they make a public commitment to achieving them.”

That means, if you are serious about your weight loss goals make it a  point to post about your experience on social media. The research says that it will help form virtual support community which creates a perfect environment of anonymity, accessibility, availability and flexibility, which can help you better with your weight loss goals. Social media can also worsen diabetes, though.

Social media will help in knowledge sharing and creating a good channel for feedback. The encouragement provided by like-minded fitness community on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram will help you stick to your goals, better than before.


Bradford, T. W., Grier, S. A., & Henderson, G. R. (2017). Weight Loss Through Virtual Support Communities: A Role for Identity-based Motivation in Public Commitment. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 40, 9-23.

Image source: Shutterstock

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