Courtesy of TwitterAmanda MacMillan, SELF magazine
We've asked you to get #UpnOut with us. We've given you plenty of #JumpStartDiet tips, showered you with healthy recipes and even encouraged you to #TreatYoSelf. And through it all, we ask you to tell us about it on Twitter. And it's not just because we like to see our @SELFmagazine handle in your feeds (although we love that, too!). We do it because we've known for quite some time what the science is now starting to prove: It works!
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According to a new study published this week in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine, Twitter can be a valuable support tool for people trying to shed pounds. The study is one of the first to examine the social networking site as part of a larger weight-loss program.
Researchers from the University of South Carolina studied a group of 42 overweight men and women who had been given a weight-loss podcast subscription, a calorie-tracking app and a Twitter app on their mobile devices.
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After six months, the group had lost about 2.7% of their body weight on average. Those participants who had regularly engaged with Twitter, however, were the most successful. In fact, the researchers calculated that every 10 tweets a person posted corresponded to about a .5% loss of body weight. Let's simplify the math--if a 200-pound person posted 100 times over the course of the study, they theoretically lost about 5% of their body weight, or 10 pounds.
Participants followed each other on Twitter and provided valuable feedback and helpful tips, say the study authors. Most tweets were "informational" (one example: "I avoided eating a pastry this morning at a breakfast meeting! I did have a skim Mocha without whipped cream ... not too bad.") while others were emotionally supportive.
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Twitter, the study authors say, can be an effective--and much cheaper!--stand-in for face-to-face weight-loss group meetings. Plus, in our opinion, it's just plain fun; that's why we made social media such a big part of our new no-cook Jump Start Diet! So what are you waiting for? Operation #TweetOffThosePounds (okay, I just made that up) officially commences now.
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