Connecting on Social Media For Weight Loss Support, Outreach, and Accountability

Earlier this month, I presented at ObesityHelp’s 10th Annual National Convention in Anaheim. I was luck y enough to kick off the event by being the first speaker. My presentation was on how I’ve used my blog and social media for weight loss support, outreach and accountability. I’ve been asked by several people to give an overview of my session for those who were not able to attend, and for those who want additional information and resources.


Blogging and social media have been an important component to my weight loss success since gastric bypass surgery. In this presentation, I reviewed my history in blogging and social media, and why I chose to start a new blog to document my weight loss surgery experience at Beauty and the Bypass.

A Tale of Two Personas • Cute Culture Chick and Beauty and the Bypass

When I decided to have bariatric surgery, I was already a well-established blogger, with a blog focused on pop culture, travel, family, and personal memoir. Although I did talk about my health, I didn’t feel like my whole gastric bypass experience was a good fit for Cute Culture Chick. So I decided to make a new blog to document my surgery, and that is how Beauty and the Bypass was born. It was a lot easier to come up with content back when I was in the rapid weight loss phase, but I still find topics that are relevant to the WLS community, as well as my personal journey. I am more active on my Cute Culture Chick blog and social media accounts, but I find ways to balance both personas.

Facebook Fan Pages
While a Facebook fan page isn’t a good fit for every weight loss surgery patient, it can be a great way to connect with other WLS patients (and people who have an interest in bariatric surgery in general). If you don’t want a fan page, be careful about starting a personal page with a WLS nickname – Facebook has been cracking down on anonymous/duplicate accounts. Here are some ideas of content to share on Facebook fan pages.

  • Weight loss updates
  • Non-scale victories
  • Comparison pictures
  • Sharing articles/blog posts


  • Follow hashtags to find relevant users and news (#WLS, #RNY, #GastricBypass, #VSG)
  • Be conversational
  • Share confidential information over direct message (DM)


  • Make boards for recipes and food ideas
  • Share your transformation photos
  • Connect with other WLS patients by commenting, liking, and repinning

nicole instagramInstagram

  • Show a visual glimpse into your life (what you wear, where you go, what you eat, etc)
  • Be involved in memes (eg. Throwback Thursday #tbt)
  • Don’t use too many hashtags
  • Like, follow, and comment


  • Record in landscape
  • Upload in HD
  • Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions
  • The most successful videos are under 2 minutes

Fitness Apps

  • MyFitnessPal
  • Nike
  • Fitocracy
  • RunKeeper
  • Strava
  • FitBit

Dark Social (non-public communication online)

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Twitter Direct Messages
  • IM
  • Email

selfie tutorialSelfie Tutorial

  • Mind your lighting (not too much direct light or backlight)
  • Angle (position camera higher than head, with head slightly tilted)
  • Steady Hand (brace arm against body/wall/tree for a clear picture)
  • Crop (mind the rule of thirds)
  • Take more than one pic (just in case)

Social Media Advice from the Trenches

  • Take it offline – become friends in real life with your online connections
  • Pre-approve pictures before tagging
  • Don’t abuse #hashtags
  • Focus on quality over quantity (you don’t need to be friends with everyone)
  • Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
  • It’s okay to take a break – return when you’re ready

KSL’s Blog of the Week

KSL Blogger of the Week

Yesterday I had the amazing honor of being interviewed on TV as KSL 5‘s Blog of the Week. Every Wednesday, they highlight the website of a local Utah blogger on their Browser 5.0 show. I was interviewed by Scott Haws about my weight loss journey and how my blog has affected the success I’ve had.

For someone who has struggled with morbid obesity for several years, the thought of being on TV was daunting. Back in high school, I lost a significant amount of weight taking Phen-Fen. At my skinniest, I was an anchor on my high school’s morning television broadcast SpartanVision. Since then, I have been so self-conscious about being recorded on TV or having pictures taken of me. So had I been given this opportunity a few months ago, I don’t know if I woud have taken it.

beauty and the bypass blog of the week

While I was waiting to go into the newsroom, the 12:00 noon news was being filmed. Mrs. Backer from Mrs. Backer’s Pastry Shop was on the show, displaying all sorts of gorgeous holiday treats, pastries, and cakes. After filming the segment, they brought out all of the goodies on a giant rolling cart for people to eat. The “former Nicole” would have pounced on that tray for something gooey and covered in frosting. But I wasn’t tempted at all.

As I was getting my mic on, and the show was going to a commercial break, Scott Haws said “And next up, we’ll be meeting the beauty of Beauty and the Bypass. Stay tuned.” The way he said it made me chuckle inside and ease some of my fears about being on TV. I felt a little more nervous than I expected on screen. Because my weight loss struggles have been such a personal part of my life, I had a hard time holding back emotions at time. For how I felt as I was being interviewed, I think I came across as being fairly confident.

I am glad that I was able to give a mention to the Obesity Action Coalition in my segment, as well as my goals to be an advocate for others who struggle with obesity. But because I didn’t know the questions I would be asked ahead of time, I didn’t get to talk about some of the other important factors in my weight loss success. Beyond the support of my readers, I wanted to talk about the support I’ve gotten through my friends in Bariatric Bad Girls Club and my support group at Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians at St. Marks Hospital. I also wanted to give a shout out to Dr. Sherman Smith, the surgeon who changed my life.

It was fun and nerve-wracking to be on TV, but overall, I feel honored to be recognized as KSL’s Blogger of the Week!