/ Technology

Do Facebook photographs inspire a desire for weight loss?

Weighing scales on pink background

One in five of us will apparently be inspired to lose weight after seeing ourselves tagged in an unflattering Facebook photo or holiday snap.  Do such snaps, shared with all your friends, prompt you to get in shape?

Unflattering snaps of me are already a source of conflict between me and my husband. I grumble there aren’t any pictures of me while he rightly counters that the reason is that I delete them all from the camera’s memory card.

Policing our own snaps is relatively easy, but I have a number of friends – you know who you are – who snap me with their smartphones and upload the images to Facebook. The first time I see these pictures is when they pop-up on my Facebook wall.

Getting summer ready or Facebook ready?

The research from fitness firm Fitbit shows that being shamed on Facebook is more likely to inspire weight loss (20%) than squeezing into a yellow polka dot bikini (17% say getting into summer swimwear inspires weight loss), while 16% lose weight to fit into a summer frock.

Have these snaps inspired me to a nip and tuck, crash diet or even a facelift? No. Certainly no more so than the pictures my husband’s taken. However, the research shows that 14% of us lose weight to please our partners. Sadly, only 11% do so on the advice of healthcare professionals.

Right to be forgotten

My way of dealing with these snaps is often to hit the de-tag button, as do a third of those surveyed by Fitbit.

This stops photographs showing up on my wall or appearing in searches but, sadly, it isn’t the same as deleting them. The pictures are still there despite the EU Commissioner calling on internet companies to establish a right to be forgotten.

We’ve covered a similar issue on Which? Convo before when we’ve asked if vanity photos – taken for the purpose of sharing on social networking sites – are ruining photography. Commenter Enteeen told us:

‘I don’t post any photos on line. The value of comments from members of the public is questionable if constructive criticism is desired.’

Of course, like the 40% of those surveyed, I’m more than happy to share pictures that do show me looking my best. In my eyes it should be my choice what pops up on my wall. That said, I feel a trip to the gym coming on…


Now if we can demonstrate that photos on Facebook are associated with development of eating disorders then that will be one more reason to have certain social networking ‘services’ closed down. 🙂

Sorry if that is rather off-topic Sarah.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I’m not proud to admit it, but Facebook pictures that I hadn’t vetted first were one of my main motivators for weight loss. After I’d seen one too many photos off me on Facebook, I finally started a diet and lost over three stone.

Ok, so there are always better reasons to lose weight, but maybe it’s a good thing that bad pictures spur people on to lose weight? On the other hand, it’s not always nice to know that you have very little control over the photos people post of you online.

No-one can look their best all the time, just imagine what Thandie Newton would look like if someone took a picture right at the point of her sneezing! 🙂

Before I deleted my facebook account over a year ago, there were some truly dreadful pictures of me on there, but hey, that’s part of my personality.

If you can’t accept that you aren’t perfect, then you’re going to struggle to accept anyone else. Facebook in my opinion depicts the exact opposite of who you are. The most ovine of my friends are on facebook with profiles that make them look like superstars, but I know the reality….

I couldn’t care less – I am happy with my lifestyle and happy with my appearance – If someone is so insecure that a photograph causes them discomfort – I suggest they consult someone.

FE says:
15 June 2015

excusme, i want ask permission to share that’s photo, please

Hi FE, which picture are you referring to?