I recently met up with a new friend for the first time. We had crossed paths countless times, but it wasn’t until recently that we had started talking and made plans to meet up. We met up at our local pub, and after chatting for about 30 seconds, we realized that we had a lot more in common than we had thought. We live in the same area, have the same favorite local haunts, both write blogs, and both have aspects of our jobs that are social media-related. Within two minutes of getting our first drink, we had connected on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Foursquare, WordPress, and Blogger. All before we had even exchanged phone numbers.
I am always plugged in. Social media is a big part of my life: I work in marketing and part of my job is to run social media for my agency, so the more active I am on social media, the more of an expert I become in my field. It also allows me to stay connected with my friends and family around the world, since I don’t get to see most of them on a regular basis. I also use all of the social media channels to promote my blog. Sometimes I even write my blog posts (including this one!) from my phone while on the treadmill. Writing about getting fit while actually getting fit…multi-tasking at its finest!
The truth is, social media has actually helped me during my weight loss transformation and continues to help me to improve my health and fitness on a daily basis. There are a ton of resources out there on social media to help you do the same. Here are some ways that you can use social media to reach your health and fitness goals:
There is a huge health and fitness community on Instagram. I’m probably most active on Instagram of all the social media channels because it’s great to literally see what people are doing to get in shape. You can follow people who are on a weight loss journey or have already lost weight and see how they’re doing it on a daily basis. You can find people with similar interests through searching hashtags that interest you. It’s a great resource, but there are some drawbacks: a lot of people use it for fads and gimmicks such as trying to sell wraps, diet pills, shakes, etc., so don’t fall for their hype. The tried and true way to lose weight is to eat healthy and get active, so find people doing that and take some cues from them. Just use the search feature to find whatever you’re looking for…motivation, workout routines, meal ideas, and recipes.
You’ll find that Pinterest is a great resource if you’re trying to get healthy. You can search for healthy recipes, inventive workouts, and motivational images. Beware, depending on who you follow, you may also have to sift through tons of insanely unhealthy recipes to find what you’re looking for, and not all of the pins on pinterest are useful. Use the search feature to search for specific workouts or recipes and then follow people who are pinning the kind of stuff you’re into. It’s all curated for you, right there, and you can pin your way to a new healthy lifestyle.
Some of my favorite magazines such as Women’s Health, Shape, and Self post great weight loss and health tips on their Facebook pages. There are links to articles with great information. You can also follow your favorite bloggers and see what their day-to-day life is like. Do you have friends who’s attitude towards health and fitness you admire? Scope them out too. Find and connect workout apps to Facebook to let people know that you’ve gone for a run with Nike Running or that you signed up for a race. You may create deeper connections with friends that have similar interests. Being healthy is a mindset and a lifestyle. The more aware you become of how others do it, the easier it will be to see how you can adjust your life too.
Research has shown that being active on Twitter can help you to lose weight. One study found that people who build social support networks on social media lose more weight than those who don’t. Not only can you get support from your friends also trying to lose weight, but you can get tips and inspiration for new routines and meals while being held accountable by your fitness buddies. Follow your favorite health food brands for new recipes and products. Follow health and fitness blogs to get an idea of how people live healthy lifestyles. Follow your favorite athletes and see what they’re doing. I follow members of my favorite sports teams and Olympic athletes to stay motivated. You can even tweet your favorite people and they might write back. Once, Paula Radcliffe congratulated me on a run and Nike Running even gave me a shoutout the other day on Twitter. It feels good to know that the people who you usually cheer on are cheering for you right back.
DietBet is a social dieting game. You can create your own game or join an existing one, then you have to bet a certain amount of money (often around $25) to join the game. You can either do a DietBet4, where you pledge to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks, or a DietBet10 where you pledge to lose 10% of your body weight in 6 months. It’s a creative way of motivating yourself and helps if you’re motivated by a financial incentive. You may have to bet $25, but if you win, you split the total pot with all of the other winners…and sometimes there are THOUSANDS of dollars in the pot. Learn more about it here.
This app and website is amazing- not only does it help you to track calories, but it is also a lot like Facebook for weight loss. You can create a profile, add pictures, find friends, and swap ideas on the message boards. You can make your food diary public to hold yourself accountable, and you can view other people’s diaries for meal inspiration. I have friends I met on message boards through MFP that I have become friends with on Instagram. I even met a friend on there who I have become friends with in real life because we live in the same area and work in the same town. We go out for healthy dinners, take Pilates class together, and keep each other motivated. Social media definitely makes the world smaller and can help you to find like-minded people.
There are tons of other social media resources out there, but these should get you started. Social media allows you to create niche networks with like-minded people and will help you to connect with people trying to lose weight and get in shape just like you. Chances are, you’re already active on social media…now use it to get even more active in real life. So go ahead and tweet, pin, and post your way to your best self. You’ll be amazed at the results!
How do you use social media for health and fitness?