Want to lose weight? Snap that selfie

Snapping selfies isn’t vain and narcissistic. It’s good for weight loss. Science says so. So shut up and get out of the shot.

Progress pics, before and after selfies and public declarations in virtual communities might seem like prime examples of our society’s growing narcissism, but it turns out that they can be helpful for people looking to reach weight-loss goals,  

A new study from the American University Kogod School of Business has tracked two communities of weight loss groups, surgical and non-surgical, over a four-year period. They found that participation and sharing of successes and setbacks in “virtual support communities” is a key part of achieving goals through the public commitment to lose weight

Study co-author Dr Sonya Grier says, “The sharing of intimate information and photos about weight-loss goals in virtual space is a key factor in motivating behaviours that fulfil that new thinner identity and thus helps people reach their goals.” 

Ultimately, Dr Grier says, VSCs allow for relative anonymity, accessibility, availability and flexibility in how users represent themselves on their journeys. The process of building community, even in relative anonymity, can help with keeping people motivated and accountable. 

“Not everyone can get the support they need from the people they interact with in person on a daily basis,” Dr Grier says. “It’s helpful that technology can support community building and goal achievement in virtual spaces.” 

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Eat walnuts to whip yourself into shape

Whacking a handful of walnuts into your meals may help fire up fat loss. A new study conducted by Louisiana State University, US, has discovered that this high-fibre nut has the ability to alter the levels of healthy bacteria in your gut. Not only does this ease digestion and aid weight loss, but it drastically reduces inflammation and slashes your chances of contracting diseases such as bowel cancer. Walnuts are known to pack a powerful muscle-protecting punch thanks to their high protein content, making them a perfect addition to salads or porridge.