Photo Credit: The Express Tribune

Research is always a fascinating thing, you get to know things that you couldn’t imagine can happen or exist. Some studies might actually work, some might be false, some might be on a balance, but it all doesn’t stopped there as researchers are/always do their best to find new things.

On Monday this week, we came across a study published in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine, that claims or showed that diabetics may soon be able to manage the disease with their smartphones. According to a study which shows that stimulating the body’s electrical network can help treat the condition.

Today, we also come across a study that might help those who need/want to lose weight (so if you think you’re fat then maybe this research might help you out). The research claims that sharing your weight loss journey on social media can improve the odds of successfully shedding the extra kilos. According to TOI, researchers examined the role of virtual communities and public commitment in setting and reaching weight loss goals.

Tonya Williams Bradford, assistant professor at University of California, Irvine in the U.S said that their research finds that individuals are more likely to realize success with personal goals when they make a public commitment to attaining them.

“By sharing success and setbacks in virtual support communities on social media, we found people are achieving better results. This works especially well with goals like weight loss, where before and after images can be shared online with other community members,” Bradford said.

The research followed two weight loss groups, surgical and non-surgical, over a four-year period.

Members of both weight loss groups utilised virtual support communities, like ObesityHelp.com and WeightWatchers.com, as part of their programmes.

“Through our research we found public commitment, which is a declaration of a position, increases the likelihood of compliance to a course of action and is a key part of a successful weight loss plan,” Bradford said.

“When people seeking to lose weight join a virtual support community and share their plans online to attain their goals, they invite members to join them by offering encouragement in both words and actions,” he said.

“This exchange of online support facilitates adherence to the offline goal of losing weight. Public accountability is key,” he added.

The study, published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing, also found that virtual support communities offer a unique environment that allows members relative anonymity, accessibility, availability and flexibility in how they represent themselves on their journeys.

According to Bradford, it is the process of building community, and the co-creation of related outcomes that helps in keeping participants motivated and accountable.