Friday, 12 October 2012

How Social Media Can Help You create and sustain a Healthy Lifestyle?

Facebook  - You can create a free group/individual or community page on Facebook where you post about your healthy lifestyle journey.  Give it a fun name and regularly post links to recipes, websites, articles, pics and videos of interest. Post daily status updates on your progress, exercise for the day, or anything that you like.  If people “Like” your page, they will see your updates in their stream. Here is a great example of a Facebook page devoted to one person’s healthy lifestyle journey:  If you are concerned about privacy, keep in mind that you are in control. Share what you want to share, nothing more.

Twitter – Get a free Twitter account and tweet about your journey!  Afraid nobody is listening?  Here is how to instantly create your community: “Follow” all the people on my Healthy List.  This is a carefully selected group of people and organizations that provide support, information, advice, and interactions around healthy lifestyle.  Click here to read more about it.   To find the list, go to @DrSherryPagoto on Twitter, open my profile, and find the option called Lists.  Click on Lists and find my list called The Healthy List. Click on "Follow this List."
Once you are on Twitter, be active! Tweet every day about your workouts, recommend healthy recipes, join fitness challenges (see PlankADay for an example) or just tweet your thoughts about your journey that day.  Interact with other tweeters too, congratulate them on their successes, comment on their tweets, and don’t be shy!  I guarantee within a few weeks you will have some regular Twitter weight loss buddies.

Blogs – A blog is an online journal that is viewable to the public.  Go to to set one up (for free!), then compose and post entries about your process.  What to write?  Anything you want. Tweet and/or post your blog entries on your Facebook page to share them with others. This is a great way to engage others in your journey.  Why blog?  For yourself.  Do it to express your thoughts, challenges and/or lessons learned.  It can take a while but over time you will get readers and commenters. Here are a few awesome blogs to check out to give you an idea: , , and

Mobile apps with a social networking function – If you don't yet have a mobile phone, health mobile applications are a great reason to get one, even if it is your only reason to get one.  A number of mobile apps for fitness and/or weight loss have a social networking function where you can follow other users.  If you have a friend that you wish you could exercise with but can’t, make a deal that you both start using one of these apps and follow each other’s progress. You can set up a function on many of these apps to post updates of your progress on Facebook and Twitter.  My Fitness Pal and Lose it! are highly recommended.

Online communities – Sparkpeople, Weight Watchers, and Livestrong are three websites that have online communities (i.e., discussion boards) in which you can interact with other people trying to lose weight. Check out these websites and start interacting in the communities.
If you are missing a strong social support system for your weight loss effort, consider that this may be holding you back from success more than you think.  Instead of giving the next trendy diet a try, consider taking your weight loss journey into cyberspace. Success may be just a few follows, friends, and likes away.  I'll see you online!

Christakis, N., Fowler, J. (2007). The spread of obesity in a large social network over 32 years. New England Journal of Medicine. 357, 370-379.