Why Tracking Your Weight Loss on Social Media (Like Ciara) Can Actually Help

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Even two months after giving birth to baby number two, Ciara’s body is still #goals. But according to an Instagram post the singer shared a few weeks ago, she put on more weight than she planned to while pregnant with her second child.

“I said I wasn’t going to gain 60lbs Carrying Sienna, and… I did exactly that!!” Ciara captioned the photo of her feet standing on a scale that read 178.6 pounds. “4 weeks after her birth I lost 20 lbs. This Weeks Goal is 10lbs. I was 183 yesterday.”

Ciara has since shared two more scale updates: On June 13, she was down to 175.2. Then on June 20, the singer reported she had a “no movement week"—and was still hovering around 175 pounds: “Started my stretch mark removal process this week, and the Doc told me I couldn't work out…so I ate healthy & added a few [cookies] in the mix!” But Ciara didn't let the exercise restriction squash her motivation: “This weeks goal 3lbs. #BounceBack” 

RELATED: 57 Ways to Lose Weight Forever, According to Science

While the notion of posting scale pics on Insta may seem daunting, Ciara is on to something. For a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, researchers looked at people who belonged to an online weight loss community for six months. They found that those who regularly logged in, "friended" others, and shared the number on their scale shed more pounds —8.3% of their body weight, on average—compared to those who didn't network on the site, and lost only 4.1% of their body weight.

Another study, published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Informatics Association, found that people who posted slim-down updates on Twitter reported receiving more support from their Twitter followers than their real-life friends and family. What's more, greater support from social media friends was associated with greater weight loss success.

Meanwhile, research on weight-loss bloggers has found that the longer they maintain a blog, the more pounds they ditch. In a 2016 study, bloggers reported that sharing their progress online helped them stay focused on their goals, kept them accountable, and led to social support.

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There's no question that encouraging words can go a long way when you're trying to make a big change. And it might be easier to get that kind of support online: Posting about your weight loss journey on social media may feel less intimidating than talking about it IRL, points out Sherry Pagoto, PhD, co-founder of the UMass Center for Health and Social Media

“Some people say they like the anonymity [online],” she explains. “On Twitter, you can choose a handle and use an avatar on your profile, which makes some people feel like they can speak more freely and not be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their weight.”

And it's worth noting that you don't need 16.7 million followers like Ciara to leverage social media for your health. A small but mighty group of virtual supporters may be enough, says Pagoto. “It's takes time to create an online community. But if you engage and stick with it, you can experience a lot of weight loss benefits. It just takes a little bit of work.”

Source: http://www.health.com

Shonda Rhimes Wrote the Realest Essay About Her 150-Pound Weight Loss

According to Shonda Rhimes, the only thing worse than shedding a lot of weight is getting the wrong kind of attention for it afterward. In a newsletter sent to Shondaland subscribers last week, Rhimes, 47, reveals that it wasn’t until she lost nearly 150 pounds that people seemed to find her “valuable.”

Though the Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal creator dropped the weight about two years ago, she’s still stunned and disturbed by the way people, even strangers, reacted to her transformation.

“I did not do it because I thought I would become beautiful like in the movies,” Rhimes explains. “I did it because I could not walk up a short flight up stairs without stopping to take a break and wiping sweat from my brow. I did it because my body was physically rebelling against the brain that had been ignoring it for so long.”

RELATED: 4 Annoying Comments to Expect When You're Losing Weight

And don’t get her wrong, Rhimes still isn’t taken with #cleanliving. In fact, she loathed what it took to lose so many pounds.

“Losing weight is not a topic I like discussing,” she writes. “Why? Because there is nothing fun or interesting or great about it. I hated losing weight. I hated every single second of it. And I hate every single second of maintaining my weight, too.”

What Rhimes hated even more was how slimming down changed the way people reacted to her. "But you know what was worse than losing weight? What was SO MUCH MORE HORRIFYING? How people treated me after I lost weight," she explains.

"I mean, things got weird," writes Rhimes. Especially when women she hardly knew gushed over her new look. "Like I was holding-a-new-baby-gushed. Only there was no new baby. It was just me. In a dress. With makeup on and my hair all did, yes. But…still the same me."

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Men began to take notice of Rhimes too, she recalls. “THEY SPOKE TO ME. Like stood still and had long conversations with me about things. It was disconcerting.”

The newfound attention wasn’t the only thing that made this high-powered TV producer uncomfortable. She was also appalled by how breezily people commented on her appearance, calling her “hot” or telling her they were were “proud of her.”

"After I lost weight, I discovered that people found me valuable. Worthy of conversation. A person one could look at. A person one could compliment. A person one could admire," she continues. 

To Rhimes, it felt like others only considered her worthy of conversation once she looked a certain way. After that realization, she began to wonder. “What the hell did they see me as before? How invisible was I to them? How hard did they work to avoid me?” she writes.

WATCH THE VIDEO: What 5 Olympic Athletes Can Teach You About Body Confidence 

Of course Rhimes also infuses her newsletter with humor. While lamenting how hard it was to drop the 150 pounds, she says she misses eating “all the fried chicken,” and not just when it was on her plate. “No. I miss eating ALL THE FRIED CHICKEN,” she writes. “All of it. Every piece, everywhere.”

Jokes aside, Rhimes makes a powerful point in a world where unrealistic body ideals are everywhere and a person's size is often linked to their value. “Being thinner doesn’t make you a different person," she says. "It just makes you thinner.”

Source: http://www.health.com

Mom Who Weighed Over 300 Lbs. Was Determined to Lose Weight Without Surgery: How She Lost 145 Lbs.

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

Tara Kavanagh has several obese family members, so she always believed she was “destined to be fat.”

The 5’7″ self-employed mom-of-three from Rapid City, South Dakota, 35, was already over 200 lbs. when she started having children, but her pregnancy weight brought her up to 304 lbs. After having her second child, she knew she wanted to make a change.

“I was a young mother of two little girls and in my early 20s when I decided I didn’t want to live the rest of my life obese and unhealthy anymore,” she tells PEOPLE. “I wanted to be an active mother and be able to play with my kids. I also wanted to live my life, not just exist. I wanted to experience new things and felt my size was holding me back.”

Some of Kavanagh’s family members had opted to undergo weight loss surgery, but had all ended up gaining their weight back. So she became determined to go a different route.

“For a long time I felt surgery was my only option for how big I was — there was no way I could lose so much weight on my own — but after seeing my relatives gain their weight back, I knew it wasn’t about the surgery,” she says. “It had to be about lifestyle, and I was determined to figure it out to prevent myself from spending all that money and going through all the pain of surgery for something that I never saw work long-term for anyone I knew who had it done.”

Kavanagh admits she had never stuck to workout routines in the past because she would get bored before seeing any results. When she started doing Jillian Michaels’ workouts (available on her app and FitFusion), she finally found a fitness program that she could stick to.

“Jillian’s workouts are always fun and I look forward to doing them,” she says. “Right when I would be getting the hang of one workout, another would come out, so I never got bored. Over the years I have also appreciated that there are a variety of intensity levels to most moves, so no matter what weight I was at I could get a good workout. I still do the same workouts as a fit person that I did as a 300-lb. person, I just up the intensity level now to get my killer workout!”

She also began paying more attention to what she ate.

“I used to eat because I was bored,” says Kavanagh. “I never thought about what I was eating, how many calories were in it, the quality of it, etc. I ate because it made me feel good.”

Initially, Kavanagh ate the same foods she always had, but started decreasing her portions.

“I knew if I changed too much too fast I would get overwhelmed and quit,” she says. “After the weight started to come off, it was addictive for me to learn healthier ways of eating. I turned my focus on calories after that, living by what I learned from Jillian: my calories in needed to be less than my calories out. I used her app along with a fitness tracker, and the weight came off so easily!”

Now Kavanagh focuses on eating unprocessed, non-GMO and organic as much as possible, and follows the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating.

“I still need my treats once in a while!” she says.

Losing 145 lbs. has given Kavanagh a whole new lease on life.

“The best part of losing the weight has been gaining the confidence to really live my life and try new things,” she says. “I don’t let my body hold me back anymore.”

Source: http://www.health.com