People are finding weight-loss success with social media, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr

Research shows online supports help

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Social media sites help connect people around the world, but now more than ever people are using them to lose weight.

Research shows checking-in to Facebook or posting progress pictures on Instagram does help motivate and inspire those looking to make a change.

Sid Rival never thought social media would play such a big role in his journey to be fit.

"Social media gives you the ability to track yourself.  You can take pictures and the pictures don't lie," he said.

Rival has already lost several pounds and when he wants more accountability for his efforts, he just turns to a few hundred close friends on-line.

"I want to be 150 pounds by my 30th birthday in February," said Rival.

Social media gives users the ability to interact with other people who may be going through the same kind of struggles.

"The person who checks in, they are being held accountable because everybody else is watching them just to see if its really working.  If it works, then there's a really good chance other people are going to wanna do it too," said Dr. Dean Haddock with Community Counseling and Psychological Services.

Research shows people respond best to peer involvement and peer accountability.  Social media maximizes that, allowing people to live better lives.

"Health is the bottom line and that's what we really want, but if you could be in good shape and your clothes fit, that's what really everybody needs and wants," said Haddock.

Former law enforcement officer, TJ McCall who is medically retired due to a severe injury while on duty uses the Internet to get back on his feet.

"I would use social media to reach out to others, that had questions as far as working out and dieting," he said.

Now motivated to help others, McCall has developed equipment that allows for a full body workout.  It's a dream his social media support system help him achieve.

"The fitness industry has definitely picked up and I would say due to social media.  I think people actually see the results that people are getting," said McCall.

Several users have also taken fitness to the next level by creating online support groups and others meet around the community about three times a week getting fit together for free.

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Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc

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