A new study from the University of Washington reveals that people who put photographs of their meals onto social media sites such as Instagram have a better diet and tend to be healthier.
Qualified Nutritionist, Lily Soutter discusses the evidence…
RECORDING FOOD INTAKE MAY DOUBLE WEIGHT LOSS
A study of 1,700 people showed those who kept a daily food diary lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.
The simple act of writing down what we eat can change the way we eat. Instagram is a visual food diary and can help us to be more mindful of our food intake. Rather than reaching for that second helping of dessert, mindful eating can help to install a greater degree of awareness around fullness cues.
A visual food diary can also encourage us to reflect on our food habits, which can initiate positive behaviour changes.
RECORDING FOOD INTAKE ON INSTAGRAM IS EASIER, MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE AND FUN
Keeping a paper food diary, especially if it will not be seen by anyone can be a challenge in itself and perceived as dull and laborious by many. The benefit of Instagram is that is more fun than recording food intake in a booklet or spread sheet. And what’s more, it’s more socially acceptable. How many people do you actually see bringing their food diaries to a restaurant to log their meals? It’s perceived as more normal to snap a photo of what’s on your plate when out with friends – everyone is doing it.
Photo: Core Collective
Another drawback of food diaries is that that it’s easy to underestimate or overestimate our food intake. A picture is worth a thousand words and can be much more accurate.
INSTAGRAM GIVES US A SENSE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
For some, accountability can be key to attaining their health goals, and Instagram provides an easy portal to accomplish that. We could know everything there is know about health and nutrition but accountability can be the missing factor that drives people to make positive changes.
When we are accountable to our social network, it can add that motivation to achieve our aspirations and health goals.
INSTAGRAM HAS A STRONG SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Instagram is much more than just a visual food diary; it is all about a sense of community and engaging with others. Many within the community can be supportive and encouraging as well provide motivating messages.
INSTAGRAM MAKES HEALTHY RECIPE HUNTING A WHOLE LOT EASIER
Instagram is an instant way to get inspired to be healthier on a daily basis. Seeing so many delicious, healthy recipe ideas can be motivating. The more we talk about nutritionally balanced food, the more likely it is to become the norm.
A NUTRITIONIST'S EXPERIENCE ON INSTAGRAMMING HER MEALS...
I often cook for one, and it can be easy to get into the habit of mindlessly throwing together quick meals with little taste or visual appeal.
Instagram has given me the accountability that I need to prepare my meals mindfully and to really think about the quality of ingredients, experimenting with new recipes and taking more pride and enjoyment during the preparation process. This mindful element has definitely left me feeling more satisfied after each meal.
1. DON'T STRIVE FOR PERFECTION. A HEALTHY DIET IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE
2. DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE IS LIVING OFF GREEN JUICE EVERYDAY CERTAINLY DOESN'T MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD BE TOO.
3. THERE ARE SEVERAL PROCLAIMED 'EXPERTS' AND 'DIET GURUS' THAT ADVOCATE CUTTING OUT WHOLE FOOD GROUPS. THESE 'QUICK FIXES' ARE DANGEROUS AND COULD DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD, UNLESS YOU'VE RECEIVED SPECIFIC DIETARY ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED NUTRITIONIST
4. TAKE MOST THINGS YOU READ ON SOCIAL MEDIA WITH A PINCH OF SALT
Lily Soutter, Nutritionist and Nutritional Therapist. Click here to make an enquiry about consultations.
Photo Credit: Tending the table
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