On January 1, you resolved to lose 10 pounds in time for spring. But with spring now on the horizon, you can feel your motivation waning fast. Making a kale salad or heading to spin class probably seem like good ways to get back on track. But hanging out online might actually be even better, since smartly curated social feeds can go a long way toward helping you achieve your weight loss goals. Here are four ways to make your feeds work harder for you:
1. Follow tweeters with tips.
The real-time stream of quick-hit motivation and can-do advice shared by nutritionists and weight loss bloggers appears to be more helpful than static sources of weight loss and goal setting advice (like podcasts), suggests a study published recently in Translational Behavioral Medicine. People who are active on Twitter, have large followings and post regularly have an impact on people's behavior. You can also use Twitter's advanced search to find local people tweeting about nutrition, exercise or weight loss.
2. Have a visual feast.
You'd think your pal's Pinterest dessert board or the Instagram shot of chocolate doughnuts would set you up for constant cravings. But the opposite is actually true: Looking at photos of foods with similar flavors to your worst cravings (like sweet or salty) can dull your appetite and make the real thing seem less enjoyable, finds a recent Journal of Consumer Psychology study. Follow indulgent food bloggers and fill up on mouthwatering photos instead of that nighttime bowl of ice cream.
3. Manage your Facebook friends.
It's not just friends boasting about their amazing vacations that can make you feel like you're missing out — and potentially derail your progress. Hearing about someone who got up at 4 a.m. for a 10-mile jog can make you feel deflated. Set up filters so you're not subject to posts by either of these types of friends, and focus instead on encouraging friends who post about healthy habits that feel more doable, such as taking a post-dinner walk or making a green smoothie for breakfast. By selecting "Get Notifications" for them in your settings, Facebook will even tell you every time they post something new.
4. Use your smartphone.
Yes, the screen is smaller and the keyboard more typo-prone than your laptop. But according to new research published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics, people who check their social feeds with a mobile device are more engaged than computer users, and shed more pounds as a result. Smart call? We'd say so.