Social media -Whilst we may not realise, social media has a bigger impact on us than just telling us when Rhianna has a new hair do!
Whilst it’s all well and good being up to date and many of us are using social media for work and to keep in touch with people. Which gives us great access to people that we may not otherwise be able to stay up to date with…
It is having an impact on our waistlines. This article is NOT a little nudge away from social media it’s an explanation of why social media should be treated as a drug and you need to be wary of using it. (Yeah – I like extreme terms).
We talk about obesity and weight gain often as a personal choice (like we’re choosing to be lazy or ‘fat’) but it’s not personal. Not really…
Obesity is often like a germ, it spreads from one person to another as we perceive it to be more socially acceptable. This often isn’t a conscious change but something we see over time. Like fashion trends that come in and out of style, our body shapes and sizes do too. In the 90’s stick-thin models were in fashion and in the 60’s Curvy body types were in.
Our body-positive message is getting slightly askewed from stick-thin models on instagram and the body positive ‘curvy’ girls. So where do us ‘in between’ girls stand? What is normal these days and how did we get to this?
Guide for this blog post: Social media is affecting;
- social relationships,
- understanding of trends,
- our food cravings,
- body image ideals and,
- addiction to learning.
all of these are affecting our weight.
Social media is affecting our sleep
Whilst it may seem an obvious symptom of using social media. We’ve had several studies explaining that we shouldn’t use phones, tablets or technology an hour before bed as it keeps our brains switched on. (I’ve been struggling to sleep as I often work into the early hours in the morning)
“People spend an average of 8 hours 21 minutes sleeping a day – but spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes on media devices.”–RM
But, how does it effect our sleep?
you’d think that once you’ve switched off your Ipad or phone that you’re brain is switched off – that’s not the case!
Technology has updated throughout the years and the screens we sit in front of have ‘blue light’. This tinted-lighting is ‘softer’ on the eyes and enables longer viewing times, along with being a similar light to daylight. It’s used on phone filters and in household light bulbs to create a natural looking light.
Technology, eh? Clever stuff..but it’s bad, this ‘daylight’ keeps the brain switched on and awake. The signals that this ‘daylight’ sends to the brain stops the production of the sleepy hormone, melanin.
Not to mention other reasons your tech keeps you awake. Like scrolling down your feed to see that Tim, has just gotten engaged..you have to see who to, when and what their relationship history is..right? (It’s not just me that mid-night stalks, come on girls!)
But how does our sleep affect our weight?
Simply put, our bodies repair at night.
This means all our cravings and chemicals that are sent to the brain during the day can relax. So, when we lack sleep we lack the vital signals that tell our brains what we want to eat and what we need to eat. When your body feel tired it will do whatever it needs to stay alert and focused. Typically we find this in the only perks of sugar and fats, leading us to eat fattier and sugar filled foods.
Quick – hide the choccie biccies!
It’s affecting our social relationships
You’ll roll your eyes and say “I’m more social than ever” but we’re talking about how you talk to people and how that affects us and our hormones. It’s all very complicated but I’ll try and summarise…
In the 90’s (and before this type of technology) we’d sit around a table or pop to the shops talking to our friends, enhancing the physical bond between friends and family. We were physically seeing them, seeing their emotions and reactions to us.
Being face down in a phone limits our perspective on the world around us, limiting the time we spend with our loved ones.
but, how is that affecting our waistlines?
Well avid reader. By understanding the time we spend solidifying these strained online relationships we can start to enhance our real life and start talking and really socialising in an active and positive way. Being positive and happy in a relationship has a huge impact on our weight. I’ve written countless articles on why being positive can help manage your weight.
‘We now spend more time on our smartphones than with our partner, leading to conflict and negative outcomes in personal life and relationships.’-RM
It’s affecting our understanding of trends & body image
At the start I mentioned “spreading obesity”. Although scientists don’t fully understand how obesity spreads, they suspect and have investigated how social network influences what we perceive as normal and acceptable. If we see their friends becoming heavier and heavier over time, we may accept weight gain as natural or the done thing.
It may not be intentional but we begin to make more lax choices in our eating habits and workout routines, I’ll admit it when I see my friends going out for huge meals and drinks after I don’t think of the consequences I just‘want what she’s got’.
Not to mention the models and personal trainers we see all over the internet saying that we can look like them. Whilst this is great motivation, It feels unrealistic when we see posters of food and de-motivational slogans.
Read my ‘How Instagram can help you lose weight’ for the reverse effects of social media.
It’s affecting our food cravings
Ever seen BuzzFeed?
Ever seen BuzzFeed without a food post? Nah, didn’t think so.
I have a tonne of self-control. Anyone that’s not in the health and fitness ‘know-how’ or they’re just starting off in a new lifestyle change will see things like “breakfast stuffed bread”. A full loaf of bread stuffed with bacon, sausage beans and egg and may struggle to switch off the unhealthy mentality.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t share these crazy recipes but we should know they’re not realistic. They’re not ‘real’ foods that people eat regularly or even make outside of the BuzzFeed studio. Who needs that much fat and carbohydrate in their diet anyway?
It’s affecting our addiction to learning
Now, this one isn’t a study. This is one of those things that we just ‘do’ it’s in our nature to need to know more. Yearning for learning so-to-speak. So with more and more information at our hands at the click of a button it’s understandable that we’d spend more time online, to our own detriment.
For a full whack of information on how we’ve been putting on weight over the past 100 years pop here. There are guides and charts explaining how sugary drinks, disposable income and tonnes of other factors have effected us and our weight.
Social media’s not all bad, it can help you lose weight if you use it right. Just make sure you realise how much time you’re spending online and what you’re looking at, like I said with the food section..it”s good to look at food and be interested in the new ideas food can bring, but make sure it’s healthy replacements.