Sticking to your daily dieting goals can be one of the toughest parts about trying to lose weight. Sure, you can buzz along all week, eating salads, counting calories, and drinking water, but then a little change in schedule happens, or a stressful event comes into your life, and bam—you’re back to noshing on Fritos and onion dip in front of the TV all night.
But scientists at Georgia Tech have discovered a simple, and social, way to find out how successful a dieter will be a staying on track and sticking to their goals—checking the words and phrases they post on Twitter. In their recent study, they looked at over 2 million tweets from almost 700 people who have their Twitter accounts attached to their MyFitnessPal calorie-counting apps. The researchers then analyzed the study participants’ for language characteristics that showed a connection between how the tweeters expressed behavior and their well-being.
The finding? “We [saw] that those who are more successful at sticking to their daily dieting goals express more positive sentiments and have a greater sense of achievement in their social interactions,” said Munmun De Choudhury, Ph.D., the study’s lead author. “They are focused on the future, generally more social, and have larger social networks.”
The positive and self-reflective phrases that the successful dieters tended to tweet included affirmations like “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough” and “Just set behavior goals instead of outcome goals.” Choudhury also said that they tended to “share healthy recipes, offer tips on nutrition and exercise, and report on their own progress.” This method ended up predicting the success of dieters by 77%.
But hey: You don’t have to be on Twitter to be successful in your own weight loss journey—just take a look around mensfitness.com for great recipes and informative stories on how you can get healthier and eat better.