Can Gym Selfies Help You Lose Weight?
Some people only love going to the gym for the pure enjoyment of workout itself. For the rest of us mortals, we have to use a few tricks to stay motivated.
For some people, its the needle on the scale slowly creeping toward a lower number. For others, its the weight on the bar creeping toward a higher number. But for some, the gym selfie is a little reminder of how far youve come to keep you motivated to keep going.
Shape.com reported under a study that looked at motivators for women to stay in a 16 -week weight loss program. They included tracking body mass indicator, hip-to-waist ratio, weight, and before-and-after photos. It would be a bit of a stretching to equate these before-and-after photos with gym selfies. Women were only shown photos of themselves at the start of the program and at the end, four months later.
Gym selfies, on the other hand, may be a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly practise for some. Theyre also often shared on social media that they are able to invite comments, likes, and favorites.
According to the study, published open access in PeerJ , the most powerful motivator for women to stay in the program was keeping track of their shrinking waists. Women who objective the program with the biggest change in their hip-to-waist ratio reported the most satisfaction with their results. But the researchers said the photos helped drive home their satisfaction with their results.
So visually tracking ones progress may be a good motivator to keep on a weight loss program, but what does that mean for the gym selfie?
Theres not too much research on this specific phenomenon. However, researchers are interested in how people harness social media to affect positive changes in their health. One meta-analysis drew together several other studies on various health interventions, including discontinuing smoking, exercising, and dieting. Taken together, the studies presented some weak evidence that social media can be helpful. But the latter are specifically looking at interventions designed by healthcare experts , not how individuals might use social media in their own ways to stay accountable to health goals.
Gym selfies may have some negative consequences, too.
One study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders suggested that fitspiration posts and images, such as gym selfies or photos of #bodygoals, share a lot of worrying traits with thinspiration posts often shared by those suffering from eating disorders. These common traits included stigmatizing fat and stoking guilt about being overweight and certain eating behaviors.
Another study in the periodical Body Image found that time spent on Facebook interacting with body-focused images reported a most negative opinion of their own bodies. So you might be posting your gym selfie with the best of intentions, but it may be causing some psychological distress in someone else. Of course, such person or persons can always choose to unfollow you.
There only isnt enough research to definitively prove if gym selfies are helpful or hurtful. But they can be a style to keep yourself accountable. And they can also help you keep track of your progress to stay motivated, at least according to the first analyze. But perhaps take fewer of them, and think twice before sharing them on social media.
Photo by symo0 / flickr( CC BY ND 2.0 )