Is Social Media Affecting Your WLS Journey?

Over the last decade, technological advancements have made internet use inevitable. It has drastically changed the way we consume and share information and the way we connect with others. Entrepreneurs have taken to social media to build their business, while others have built communities based on hobbies and political issues alike. While social media has allowed certain freedoms, along with a sense of belonging for all it has also given life to many negative perceptions of the self. Those of which if we are not mindful could send us into spirals of self-sabotage and yes this can effect your WLS journey.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the importance of social resources as a valuable aid for behavioral change in health promotion. But what exactly is a social resource? A social resource at the community level is defined as support provided by significant others like friends and family by way of information, encouragement or material aid. Social media has given health promoters a new vehicle to drive the increase of social support for weight management. Although all of this sounds great the reality is that social media wreaks havoc on your self-esteem.

Social Media Group

The excessive use of social media causes us to engage in unnecessary comparisons and negative thoughts like low self-esteem, low self-worth, and imposter syndrome -- thought patterns where individuals doubt their accomplishments and fear being exposed as a fraud. This is because social media is a constant highlight reel of other’s lives. The user controls the way people view them by deciding what to post, what filters are used, and let’s not get started on the usage of photoshop. All of which can negate any progress you’ve made in your own real life.

There are a few things you should keep in mind to avoid getting discouraged on your weight loss journey. Real life happens offline. Maybe you’ve been following your favorite influencer and seemingly overnight they have the “perfect body image” while Instagramming mouth-watering foods, you know can’t possibly yield those results. Understand just because someone looks good it doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy. Also, know you aren’t getting the full picture and comparison will only make you feel like a failure.

There’s no such thing as perfection! Through social media, we have become obsessed with the standard of perfection. I’ve got a news flash for you, it isn’t real!! Even Beyonce’ has a team --- keyword team --- that makes her Beyonce’. Think about that. Also, perfection is overrated, strive for progress never perfection. Likes do not validate you. It may seem that likes equate happiness, but it doesn’t. Turn off your notifications so you aren’t tormented by these meaningless likes. Social media should be an extension of you not all of you.

These last two are my favorite! Keep your head down and do the work. The best way to get the life you want is to mind your own business and get to work. Comparing will do nothing but stop you. You’ll spend countless hours, days, weeks wondering why them and not you. All that negative self-talk will distract you from doing what you need to do to succeed. Lean on your real life support system, talk to real people, and open up to your medical team about your needs and frustrations. The last gem is the most important: use the unfollow button.  You don’t owe anyone but yourself. Be conscious about your scrolling, if you run into triggering images unfollow them. Time is too precious to waste it being hypercritical of yourself. Unfollow those who put you in a negative headspace, and if you think unfollowing is too drastic, there’s always the mute button.

Jane, M., Hagger, M., Foster, J., Ho, S., & Pal, S. (2018). Social media for health promotion and weight management: a critical debate. BMC public health, 18(1), 932. doi:10.1186/s12889-018-5837-3

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