Anything that makes losing weight more achievable and enjoyable has to be a good thing and new research has found that those using online social weight loss groups were found to lose more weight than those who dieted alone.
But don’t just think that you can sign up to a weight loss online programme and see fantastic results, the study has shown that it is important just how many friends you have on the site and what kind of friends these are.
Luis A. Nunes Amaral, senior author of the analysis of the online community of Calorie King, a paid online weight loss program with social networking features, told Reuters: “What we found out is the more embedded in the network you are, the more success you have.”
He added: “The fact that you have lots of friends that also have lots of friends, that’s how enmeshed into the network you are,” he said. “Having many friends who only have one friend would not be the same.”
According to Reuters, the researchers examined data on over 47,000 unique visitors to the online programme in both 2009 and 2010.
While many may doubt the results of the research because users are responsible for uploading their own weight loss and could be prone to embellishing a little on the truth, Amaral and other experts agreed that in these types of online programmes, people are generally truthful when it comes to saying just how much or how little they may have lost during the process.
During the research it was found that at the six-month point, members who were not social networking had lost an average of 4.1 percent of their body weight, while those with two to nine friends lost an average of 5.2 percent, those in the giant cluster lost 6.8 percent and those with the most exchanges of online communication lost more than eight percent of their body weight, according to the results in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
“People write posts and send messages, the system records them but we didn’t have access so we cannot know for sure what they said,” Amaral said to Reuters. “It is known that in face to face interactions what happens is that people have support, they share experiences. We believe that the same thing is likely at play here.”
This is good news for anyone who is hoping that online tools will be able to help with weight loss success and it looks like the more support you get from your online community, the more likely you are to drop the weight and reach your weight loss goals.