In the name of personal health….Posted: March 6, 2012 | |
It happened all of a sudden. A scratch in my throat. A sudden need to take an early evening nap. A feeling of pressure and congestion in my head. It’s not often that I get sick, but when I do, I Google it. I don’t have health insurance right now and I quiver at the thought of having to seek medical help if I really need it. And like many people, I rely on the internet to guide me in the right direction. It’s often the case that we take our own health for granted until we get sick.
As a health and medical journalism student, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own personal health these days. I’m 27. And while that may seem young, if you’ve been living life a bit haphazardly in your 20s, the health effects will soon become apparent. For me, this realization came this fall when I returned to UGA for grad school and looked at photos of my skinny, younger self five years earlier in undergrad.
At the age of 19, I fought my own battle with the bulge, so to speak, and dropped my freshmen 15 and then some. I did it through Weight Watchers. And it was a great way to learn about nutrition and portion size. But at that age, it was easy to just adhere to the diet and skip the exercise. I lost 30 pounds without ever really incorporating much of a daily fitness habit. The importance of that program, though, is its ability to connect those who are striving for better health with one another. I worked for Weight Watchers for most of my college years, assisting in the arduous process of weighing customers, informing them of that weeks talking points, and encouraging them with some helpful suggestions when the going got tough. That being said, once I stopped working for them, I lost my focus on the importance of managing my own health and lost touch with a whole group of people that had helped me.
I managed to keep it off for two years after college, until the sedentary lifestyle of a desk job in a rural community slowly and eventually had its toll. Not having physical activity as a part of my daily life proved to be detrimental as my metabolism slowed down in my mid-20s too. Since December, I’ve been seeing a personal trainer, eating a more balanced and calorie controlled diet and working out for three or four days a week. The trouble is, even with all the social media interaction on health and ample access to science-based studies regarding healthy weight loss, I still lack motivation.
And this, my friends, is why social media is awesome. I ran across this little tidbit in doing some research the other day and I have great hope in the ability of friends being able to help friends in their battle for better health. Weight loss, addiction, nutrition, mental illness, stress–we all have stories and we all have the ability to provide support to each other as we seek better health.
This was recently featured on the Facebook Developers blog. And it’s great motivation to create an app that could connect those with similar health goals or interest in a way that makes sharing seemless and frictionless, without much effort at all. Since college, most of my good friends have moved away and are now located all over the United States. We talk by phone, send emails, communicate via Facebook, but a tool like this would really give us the incentive to encourage each other, share our experiences and share relevant web content about whatever it is we’re striving for. Not too far in the future, a lack in motivation will soon be remedied by our trusty social network friends and mentors.