Finding Your Tribe: Using Social Media to Bolster Your Weight Loss Journey
Motivation isn’t always easy to come by. People, however, can motivate each other, and sometimes this is the best form of motivation. It not only gets us going in the first place, but can help keep us on track when we feel like falling off the wagon. While there’s been a lot of criticism about social media – that it encourages body shaming, trolling, and other negative sentiment – the internet is also full of an almost equal amount of positive sentiment, support, and encouragement if you look for it. Communities on social media are found across almost every spectrum of human interest, from finance, to technology, and including – you guessed it – fitness, health, and weight loss. Rather than looking at the vast pool that is social media as a scary place of popular-media judgement, we can find that there are actually blossoming communities full of real people that can help provide not only motivation and support, but also encourage growth and learning through our entire personal journey – be it weight loss, fitness, or both.
Where to Look
There are tons of social media channels. Some people prefer Twitter, and others like Instagram, while still other people use Facebook as their go-to for social interaction. In addition, new apps are popping up all the time that allow people to share snippets of their journeys, provide advice on what’s worked for them, or answer questions. As with a lot of things, the medium you choose is really up to you. Visually-inclined users might veer towards Instagram, while those who want a smaller community (where you could post comments or questions without a public audience) might prefer a Facebook or MyFitnessPal group. Twitter, meanwhile, can be great if you’re someone who wants to get your information quickly in less than 280 characters. Some platforms will have less anonymity, while others will have more, both of which may be preferable, depending on whether you want to be more of a wallflower or if you prefer to have a greater sense of community. Regardless of where you start, you can try out different mediums until you find one that’s a fit.
Who to Follow
Almost every medium will have people from all walks of life and in all different stages of it. The college grad who is just starting out on their weight-loss journey is going to be side by side with the mom of two who’s balancing working her way back to being fit and managing motherhood. You’ll want to look for the people like you, as they’re the ones you’re going to learn from, be inspired by, and feel comfortable interacting with, if you choose to do so. Following the accounts who are on the same journey as you, or who have been down the same road you might just be starting on, is going to give you the information and encouragement you need. If you’re not sure where to start looking, Instagram – for example – will provide suggestions in categories such as fitness and health. Once you start following a few people you like, Instagram’s algorithms will bring up other accounts you might find useful. Most social media platforms will do the same thing or have a similar way to search for content, and if all else fails, Google always knows where to find things. Doing a search for “weight loss Facebook groups,” “fitness Twitter,” or even “best social media accounts for losing weight” can be a great place to start.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
After you’ve found your niche, don’t be afraid to reach out. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the whole reason these accounts exist is because someone who felt exactly like you wanted a place to be able to share their journey and help anyone else along the way. Meanwhile, chances are that the people who have followed them did so for the same reasons as you. These communities tend to be full of support for this very reason. If you have a question, likewise, someone else in the group probably has the same question. Reaching out in the comments or on the message board can get you answers that will help you solve that burning question you weren’t able to find from a generic Google search. It can also give you insights into what a specific part of a certain challenge was like for a real-life person, rather than the result of what some study or expert said. Plus, you can get insights from people in the community, in addition to the poster themselves, through seeing what other people have mentioned in response to a photo or post about their own experiences. Lastly, if you do decide to post your own take, you’ll probably be met with encouragement. That’s not to say that the internet doesn’t have rogue trolls in every corner once in a while, but the odds are you’ll get a dose of support that gives you a boost.
Starting Your Own Account
If you’re feeling up for it, some people find it worthwhile to use social media to document their own journey. It can be a useful tool for those who feel they might need a bit more accountability, or who feel more motivated by the thought of posting results. It’s not for everyone, but for those who want to start their own diaries of their individual journey, it can be a fun way to document the adventure, celebrate victories, and see how far you’ve come, all while maybe garnering some followers of your own along the way who share your goals. Starting a hashtag for yourself can aggregate your posts and help keep you consistent. Just be sure to check in with yourself about how your account is affecting your goals – if it’s creating stress, pressure, or causing you to feel negative about your progress, it’s probably better to let it go. But if you don’t find yourself obsessing over posts – experts generally say once a day is enough – and it’s generating positive vibes for you, then your own social media can be a fun way to help keep you on track and enjoy the ride.
Finding our own niche can be a great way to boost our mood and inspire us to keep going. It can also provide unique insights, remind us we’re not alone, and that people before us have indeed accomplished what we’re trying to do. Take a deeper look into the accounts that lift you up, and let social media work for you.