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From following a proper diet to exercising regularly, weight loss requires tremendous commitment. We often keep these goals in our minds, or at the most keep it locked in our personal diaries. But new research claims that if people publicise their weight goals on social media platforms, they'll actually be able to achieve those goals.

The study by the University of California, Irvine titled 'Weight Loss Through Virtual Support Communities: A Role for Identity-based Motivation in Public Commitment,' examined the role of virtual communities and public commitment to setting and reaching weight loss goals.

"Our research finds that individuals are more likely to realise success with personal goals when they make a public commitment to attaining them," said Tonya Williams Bradford, a study co-author.

They found that virtual support communities offer a unique environment to its members such as anonymity, accessibility, availability and flexibility in how they represent themselves on their journeys.

Tonya Williams added: "By sharing success and setbacks in virtual support communities on social media, we found people are achieving better results. This works especially well with goals like weight loss, where before and after images can be shared online with other community members."

According to ScienceDaily, researchers followed two weight loss groups -- surgical and non-surgical, over a period of four years. Members of both weight loss groups utilised virtual support communities, like and, as part of their programs.

"Through our research, we found public commitment, which is a declaration of a position, increases the likelihood of compliance to a course of action and is a key part of a successful weight loss plan," Bradford said.

According to Bradford, it is the process of building community, and the co-creation of related outcomes that helps in keeping participants motivated and accountable.

The study is published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing.