Fighting Fat Online? With Facebook?

When you’re taking online classes for college, you can’t just hop over to the campus gym or hoof it to class in an effort to lose that Freshman 15 that are a rite of passage, but could be extremely bad for your health.  The bad news is that even on traditional campuses that have those amenities, tuition isn’t the only thing that’s getting heftier. According to the CDC, at least 5.2 million college students are obese. That statistic probably doesn’t even take the online student population into account.

The good news is that even online students can commandeer the fat-fighting power of social media. Sure, you may be hesitant to tweet your weight to your friends and family, but you can use a number of apps that post to Facebook or Twitter to hold yourself accountable to the online community. Going public may be just the motivation that you need to lace up those running shoes.


Runkeeper allows you to use your smartphone’s GPS to track your speed, distance, calories burned and route when you’re walking, jogging, cycling or completing a variety of other activities. If you don’t feel like heading outdoors, then you can manually enter your treadmill runs into the user interface.

Your iPhone will then sync your activity with the Runkeeper website so that you can track your history and your progress. You can create a profile page on the Runkeeper website so that your friends can view your activity, and you can post your activity to Facebook or Twitter so that your jogging time becomes public property.


Sometimes, you just need a goal.

C25K stands for “Couch Potato to 5K Runner.” Within eight weeks of training along with this app, you will be able to run approximately five kilometers, or 2.75 miles. The app incorporates your music playlist and talks you through the workout routine. When you reach the halfway point of the workout (in other words, just when you’re ready to pack it up and go home), you receive an encouraging message.

C25K posts to Facebook, and the reward for baring your fat-burning soul isn’t just the loss of poundage. You’ll also be supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation by purchasing the app. So sign up for that local 5K and start training today. You’ll get a high not only from endorphins but also from doing good.


How about posting not only your fitness routine but also your (gulp) calorie intake? With Thin-Cam, you photograph every meal that you eat and send the photo to nutritionists who will analyze the meal for calorie content. You can also post that photo of the dorm cafeteria lasagna to Facebook and Twitter. How’s that for accountability?

The Bottom (Ahem) Line

Going social, according to a study from Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education, will help you to lose more weight than going it alone. With social media, you get that face-to-face element of instant feedback and exposure without having to weigh yourself in front of a room full of strangers. So why lose weight with people you don’t know when you can share your journey online? You’ll knock off that Freshman 15 in no time, and you may inspire others to do the same.