Saturday, March 01, 2003
posted by Julie |
Oooh, long post today, but I can't resist.
Of course, I wasn't the first person to think of writing about weight loss online. There are lots of good stories out there, lots of sites full of inspiration and solace for people who are working hard to lower and maintain their weight. Why do people air their weight challenges so publicly?
Well, for one thing, it certainly cements commitment. Going very public with your efforts is a good way to stick to your plan. And then, you know, success breeds success. That is, many of us lose the weight after trying and failing several times and being told that we won't likely succeed, or if we do, we're likely to regain the weight. When you've overcome all of this doom, you want other people to know that they can too.
My first temptation after losing my extra weight was to rip up all the old photos and pretend obesity never happened. I refused to tell people how much weight I lost, because it was an embarrassing number. To say how much I lost was to admit how much I'd gained. That is, I was still shaming myself when there was nothing to be ashamed of in the first place.
Today, I think it's important to let people know it's possible to succeed at kicking and controlling obesity. I think, in fact, it's a duty to out yourself if you've been successful at losing a massive amount of weight.
I met a fellow weight loss writer named Amy recently, and pored over her painfully honest and thought-provoking weight loss website. Amy has lost 106 lbs so far, and has recorded her efforts and feelings all along the way. A beautiful and accomplished young woman, her ego took a big hit with weight gain, and is recovering slowly as she loses the weight.
I love this site for the freshness of it. That is, Amy's doing it now, and writing while she's losing. I'm a year away from those feelings. A year creates a lot of emotional distance. Skinnydaily.com is a support site of daily articles meant to assist you. Amy's journal is an actual diet and fitness journal. It's powerful stuff.
So, I encourage you to read through Amy's blog. But I also asked Amy to tell us something about her choice to keep her weight loss journal online, in case you get in the mood to inspire others through online writing, too. Here's Amy:
"I first learned about this little world of weight-loss journalers by stumbling onto a journal while researching weight loss. I quickly became addicted to reading archives and learning all that I could about these people who were going through the weight loss process as well. (At that point I had probably lost about 50 of the 106 pounds I've lost so far.) After months of looking at these sites and keeping up with the same girls (in 'lurker' fashion), I decided to try my hand at my own.
"Now, keep in my mind, I am no computer whiz - I am utilizing all the 'freebie' easy sites out there - Tripod and Diaryland, etc. I know the absolute bare minimum HTML, etc.) I kind of felt like I 'owed' it to the people who had inspired me to try to inspire others, and to share my own experience. I felt like my experience had something to offer, as at that point I had lost about 90 pounds by changing my lifestyle and attitude towards food - eating healthfully and exercising regularly. (No surgery, no pills, no fads.) Also, at that point, the weight loss was winding down, I was closer to goal, and felt that taking my experience public would give me more motivation and momentum. And it surely has! Putting my weight loss experience on the Internet has truly enriched my weight loss.
"Primarily, I have met some truly great people from whom I have derived invaluable support. I have been able to correspond with others who have weight loss journals online. I correspond with those who have just stumbled onto my website looking for weight loss tips and information. I feel like I am part of a community, a network of sorts. And since the people I know in 'real life' have got to be sick to death of hearing about calories, exercise, fat grams, etc., it helps to have others who are just as 'obsessed' as me! :) These are also people who truly understand the ups and downs, the unpredictability, and the triumphs of losing weight and improving health. I look forward to 'keeping up' with these people every day by reading their entries, and I want to be that type of motivation for them, too. A few added bonuses: one girl I've met has helped me change my journal template, and taught me how to insert links to sites in my entries, etc. I am also participating in a CD swap which will net me three new workout CDs! (Little thing like that are nice!)
"Putting my weight loss experience online has helped me keep my perspective. The people who read my journal constantly provide me 'reality checks' and wake-up calls. If I write a particularly whiny entry, or criticize my body too much, I'll get a slew of e-mails designed to cheer me up, yet force me to see all the positives in my situation and stop feeling sorry for myself. This has greatly helped with my body image issues, which have always dominated my self-esteem and self-concept.
"My online journal requires accountability on my part, which is also a necessary component to successful weight loss. If I am tempted to go 'off program', just the thought of having to admit it out there in cyberspace for all the world to see sometimes stops me from making a bad decision. (Notice I said *sometimes* - it doesn't always work!) Also, if I am doing badly, the last thing I want to do is write an entry, but I force myself to. Then I can usually sort out my feelings while I'm writing, and come to some realizations and insights into why I'm, say, emotionally eating, or feeling guilty about a well-deserved day off from exercise. I have been able to pinpoint new goals for myself, fitness and otherwise, by writing about my feelings, experiences and dreams. It is like a public soul-searching!
"Above all, my online journal and website keep me excited and motivated to continue to try and have more success. I want people to see me and my experience and realize that they can do it too! I am also so glad that in years to come, I will have the written evidence of how hard I have worked to achieve my goals. I only wish I had started sooner!"
Take it online, folks. Share your site with the people you inspire. Or go read other folks' online stories when you're feeling low and need inspiration and coaching from someone who gets it completely.
Amy's online journal
A Good Book on Blogging