It’s no secret there’s an obesity epidemic in America. Some 68% of people over the age of 20 are considered either obese or overweight.
Usually, when someone wants to lose weight the first thing you’ll hear is “I need to go on a diet.”
But most people have the completely wrong idea of what a diet is.
They hear the word and immediately think of the Mediterranean Diet, the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet or any other trademarked, or at least heavily marketed, diet plan.
A diet, however, is just the kinds of food that you habitually eat.
In other words, what you consume when you’re not following a “formal” diet plan to feel and/or look better.
You either have a healthy diet, or an unhealthy diet.
This negative connotation that’s developed around the word diet is powerful. It makes people dread even just the thought of trying to improve their health by changing their eating habits.
It’s not just the connotation that matters. The actual words we choose can also determine whether we will gain, or regain, weight we don’t want. (More on that in a moment.)
Something called “crash dieting” is usually what pops into people’s heads. It’s sparked by the motivation to shed pounds “through any means possible.”
Crash dieting is when someone tries to lose weight through extreme caloric restrictions. And what they do allow themselves to eat may not provide enough vitamins, nutrients or minerals.
Crash diets usually result in rapid weight loss, yes. But the truth is, only 5% of people who lose weight on a crash diet will keep the weight off.
That’s because they must eventually go off that diet. Crash diets simply aren’t sustainable.
Then people find themselves back at square one. They might not gain back all the weight they lost, or they might regain it and more.
Either way, they gain something else: a jaded view of what it takes to live at a healthier weight.
There are many factors that go into weight loss. But one of the biggest is your mindset.
Weight loss isn’t just about getting skinnier and then the job’s over.
It’s about losing weight, and then sustaining your new body. The way to do that is living a healthy lifestyle day in and day out … physically and emotionally.
And it doesn’t hurt to let the world know it, either …
The Skinny on Social Media & Weight Loss
One of the more-interesting weight-loss studies to come out recently is from the Georgia Institute of Technology. They found a fascinating connection between weight loss and a person’s attitude on social media.
In fact, the researchers determined that dieting success — or failure — can be predicted with 77% accuracy. And all you have to do is look at the sentiment of the words and phrases you use on Twitter or other social media sites.
“We see that those who are more successful at sticking to their daily dieting goals express more positive sentiments and have a greater sense of achievement in their social interactions,” said Munmun De Choudhury, who is lead researcher on the project.
This assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing also said, “They are focused on the future, generally more social and have larger social networks.”
By comparison, people who are unsuccessful in losing weight often take on a negative tone. They tend to be more uneasy and fearful in their posts.
“These users tend to be more anxious seemingly because of a lack of emotional control, and because of certain activities and events of daily life,” said De Choudhury.
Maybe you’ve seen posts like this …
- “I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose my mind. Completely lose what little is left. I cry at the thought of stupid things …” and
- “Feel rough as old boots this morning :/ Ankle hurts, shin hurts, chest hurts, head hurts.”
Maybe you’ve even posted … or wanted to post … similar thoughts.
But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to carry around a few extra pounds for the rest of your life.
De Choudhury suggests the new analytical method could be pushed forward to provide greater health and well-being benefits:
“For instance, by temporally aligning social media, quantified self-sensing and self-reported attributes, statistical models may be able to explore dynamics of events around when or how soon an individual’s diet is likely to fail.
“This would allow for proactive measures to be taken to help ensure more positive health outcomes.”
Social media often reflects your real-life attitudes around friends and family. So, these findings can help you on your own weight-loss journey.
Tweet Your Way to Your Goal Weight?
You probably rarely remember everything you say during the day. A negative attitude toward your fitness goals can be a habit you’re not even aware of.
But you can see every post you make on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Which is why I’m challenging you to go back through your feed and be honest with yourself about your attitude and word choices. Even a quick, off-the-cuff comment about your health could have a long-term impact … good or bad.
And from here on out, before you press that “send” button, stop and think about the intent behind your post.
At first, it’s about becoming aware of your bad habits that set you up for failure. Only then can you can break them and replace them with habits that set you up for success.
You need to make a conscious effort to be positive.
It’ll be hard and even feel fake at first. But over time, it’ll create a new outlook of positivity … one that becomes essential to achieving (and maintaining) your goals.
And we suspect your good-health goals aren’t the only ones that will benefit.
We would love for you to share your own weight-loss experiences, good and bad. Please share, in the space below, any type of tool, tactic, or strategy you’ve used that could help our other readers.
Happy and Healthy Investing,