The Facebook Diet is the new fad weight loss routine that’s taking New York city by storm. Instead of deleting or untagging themselves from unflattering photos, people are heading to the gym, using the pictures as motivation to work out, get healthier, and lose weight.
“Sometimes looking in the mirror just isn’t enough,” says Lisa young, an expert in health and nutrition. “You’re seeing what you look like and not hearing it from somebody else.”
Part of the reason why Facebook pictures have provided dieters with such great motivation is because of the constant comparing people do with their friends and followers.
“It’s a measuring stick for people socially to say, ‘How do I stack up with my friends?’ ” says Kevin Audley, a life coach.
It’s no secret that social media has an affect on its users’ psyches. Recently, Facebook got into trouble when people found out that it had conducted a social experiment on users in 2012 without asking permission first. Shady ethics aside, the study had some interesting results. According to the paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the posts on users’ social networks can have tangible impacts on their emotional states.
“Social media is a mirror for most people,” says Tom Ajello, Founder of Makeable. “It is a direct reflection of themselves online – fully exposed – often times putting themselves and their most personal feelings, ideas and thoughts out there for all to see, add to, and even laugh at.”
The Facebook study provides a bit of insight into the Facebook Diet. If people are seeing photos of happy, fit looking people stream through their newsfeed and friends’ timelines, then they’re naturally going to have a negative reaction when they suddenly come upon a less than flattering photo of themselves.
Whether something negative or something positive comes from those reactions is up to the user.
“Some clients take it as a motivation to make a positive lifestyle change, and others just break out the ice cream in self-pity,” says Audley.
However, the Facebook social experiment did find that negative begot negative and positive begot positive, which means that a person is perhaps more likely to make positive changes if his or her newsfeed contains more positive posts, like Katerina Gkionis’s. The 27 year old would receive positive, encouraging comments that motivated her to continue on her weight loss.
“I’m not scared of a tagged photo anymore,” she says, after losing 40 pounds on the Facebook diet. “There was a fear before, but now a confidence. I feel stronger than ever.”
Take this as a lesson — put more positivity out into cyber space. You may unconsciously make a difference in a person’s life.