How Social Media Can Hurt and Help Your Weight Loss Journey

If you're anything like me, and almost everyone out there, the internet plays a major role in your everyday life. Especially for women, this can prove to be both a good thing and a bad thing when it comes to body image, confidence and comparison. For those on the journey to weight loss and improved fitness, being constantly bombarded with images and messages of beauty means we can be heavily influenced by what we see online, even if we don't want to be. Social media has become one of the most popular ways of staying connected these days, and because we spend so much time on these sites every day, we must be affected by what we see on them, right? So how exactly does social media hurt or help your journey to weight loss and improved health?

Social media is a broad category that includes everything from interactive sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to one sided information and idea sharing sites like personal blogs and tumblr. Everyone uses social media for different purposes, but for the most part, people will likely only post things that promote themselves and show their good side. This can be a source of unhappiness for many and can cause people to believe they do not live up to certain standards. On the other hand, there are plenty of people on social media, especially within the healthy living community, who use it as a platform to share their honest reality and to encourage others.

How it Hurts

There is a quote by Steven Furtick that relates to how social media can hurt your weight loss journey; ”The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.” This means that while most people are only posting their successes, accomplishments and perfectly edited pictures online for the world to see, it is easy to believe that your weight loss or fitness journey is lacking, or that you're not doing enough compared it to what others are broadcasting. Social media has a way of making us feel like we aren't as good as others because we compare our real, everyday lives to the manipulated one's voluntarily posted by others. For the most part, failures, defeats and otherwise less-than-perfect appearances will not appear on social media unless to fulfill a certain purpose.

A lot of social media sites are chock full of photoshopped and contrived images of the “perfect” body. Much like the advertisements we see in magazines and on television, these messages and images force us to believe that there is an ideal we must live up to. It can be discouraging seeing these things and believing that that's what the majority of people look like. The truth is that most people only show their best side on social media while hiding all of their flaws.

How it Helps

On the other hand, social media can actually be a very powerful tool in succeeding in your weight loss journey, as long as you're in the right place. There are thousands of online blogs and websites that aim to help promote healthy living and proper weight loss techniques through first hand accounts and information sharing. These kinds of healthy living blogs, as well as weight loss forums, tumblr sites and other groups and organizations on social media, act as an open arena to share candid experiences, genuine struggles, helpful advice, information, motivation, inspiration and encouragement to others who are working hard to lose weight and get healthy. If you don't have support through family, friends or loved ones, becoming a part of these social media groups can be very helpful in staying informed and inclined to continue on the tough journey of getting in shape.

Social media is an incredible way of not only acquiring information and motivation, but engaging in conversation with people who want to help. One of the best aspects of social media is that it is a two way street when it comes to sharing and participating in a worldwide accumulation of like-minded people. Find a niche or group of people who can provide you with whatever you need to stay on track with your weight loss journey, and it may be a key factor in reaching your goals.