Planning =/= shredding for the wedding
Fifteen years ago, I was excitedly, a little smugly and absolutely bloody FINALLY making my betrothal to my favourite human official: I changed my relationship status on Facebook to ‘Engaged’.
The effect was immediate. In addition to the flattering influx of likes, comments and messages of congratulations, the adverts in my newsfeed changed. Wedding dress boutiques, honeymoon destinations, venues, and, most noticeably, ways to lose weight. This diet, that meal replacement, hashtag ‘Shredding for the wedding’.
The algorithms that determine the ads you see on social media might be more sophisticated these days. When we changed our relationship statuses again to ‘Married’, I started getting ads for fertility treatments and nursery furniture; my husband to ‘Meet hot singles online in your area.’
However, these algorithms remain slave to market correlations, including that planning a wedding also often means wanting to lose weight. A highly unscientific poll I’m running on Instagram currently says two thirds of people saw more weight loss ads after they got engaged.
Reasons for deliberately changing your body are complex and personal so this isn’t a post about whether ads for weight loss treatments are right or wrong, nor whether anyone should or should not lose weight.
But the issue is close to my heart. Brides sometimes come to me because they dread – or have had – horrible experiences in bridal boutiques. In my own case, I have come through eating disorders so it would have been good to have not had to see these ads.
TIL how to stop weight loss ads on Instagram
So, I thought it would be useful to share a tip I learned today to avoid seeing weight-loss ads, on Instagram at least:
From the menu on your profile page, go to Settings > Ads > Ad Topics. If you’ve not done this before, it’s quite interesting to see what The Algorithm thinks you’re interested in based on your Meta (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Messenger) activity. If your list was anything like mine, it should also reassure you that the social media companies actually know bugger all about you.
Tap on one you’re not interested in (my first one was Stargate 🤷♀️) and you’ll be given to options about it: ‘No preference’ and ‘Show less (sic) ads about this topic’. Even if its slovenly grammar makes you twitch as much as it did me, tap the second option and that should do the trick.
You can then also search all of the ad topics; the one you need is ‘Body Weight Control’. Choose the second option again and you should hopefully start seeing the adverts diminish, rather than your mental health.
The video below shows you all this in 30 seconds.