The Skinny Daily Post™

Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

Journal Exercises, Toolbox, Eating, Exercising, Gurus, Rewards

Thursday, July 31, 2003  

Brain Bending

Honestly, I couldn't tell you if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but at the moment I'm sort of thrilled to be writing to you from a completely wireless state. Today I am able to surf the Web from my bedroom. I can surf from my porch and surf by my creek. How odd.

So, now, that means I can connect to the Web anywhere while I'm writing, at least when I'm home. I can email my coach, check out the advice on, price out a Pilates reformer (nope, still can't afford one), buy a set of leg irons, er, weights.

I can explore Harvard's excellent nutrition site, pore over the posts at 3fatchicks, diettalk, weightwatchers, fitnesswithin, Dotti's to see what people have to say about their own weight loss and fitness efforts at this moment.

Can order The Penguin's books ("No Need for Speed") with one click, check out a few friends' blogs, try, try, try to catch up on all my SDP mail. I'll find recipes, explore new cooking techniques, learn about foods I haven't tried yet, count carbs and fat and protein at

And while I'm learning all I can, I'll be rebuilding and reinforcing my determination to create healthier habits, devote some part of every day to taking care of myself and the people I love. Learning builds focus. Focus controls behavior. Controlling behavior is key.

I keep a special document to help me learn and explore. It's a sort of Webliography, where I store URLs on subjects that interest me. It's just a Word document full of interesting links where I've found and pursued research for things like hyperinsulinemia and menstrual migraines, high blood pressure, and type II diabetes research. Easier to move than a "favorites" file, I am able to keep it up-to-date, annotate it, and easily forward the urls and notes to friends and family when they need them. A two-column table, with urls on one side, notes on the other. Easy.

I've said before that your journal is the most powerful weight loss tool at your disposal. Really, though, the most powerful weight loss and fitness tool is your brain, your mind. And your mind powered by the remarkable resources on the Web, through peers, in the literature, is even better.

The big caveat, however: Not everything you'll read on the Web or in the literature or hear through friends and peers is true.

No, really.

Not every bit of advice works, not every product (I know, you're going to be shocked by this) works, and the experts often don't agree. That is not to say that Web research is useless. There is much to be gained in finding paths and clues and hints to explore. You are smart enough to use your gut to follow paths, follow your instincts and use your own common sense. These combined with a great search engine (read: Google) can actually save your life.

I've used the Web for years to manage my own health and discover treatment paths for family members that we would not otherwise have known about or discovered had we not had this tool at our disposal. We've managed to ward off surgeries, stave off age-related diseases, find optional treatments for a host of minor ailments, and yes, lose weight and get fit all with the help of what we find here.

Learning to use the Web to do your research is not hard, but it does require some patience and circumspection. Look for the sources behind every claim, follow the research sources to their origins. Don't be afraid to track down authors to ask questions. Take copies of things you've found to your nutritionist, your doctor, your caregiver for discussion. Experiment, adjust, tweak, record, study, think, and share what you've learned with others.

It's this sharing and community learning that makes the Web powerful, after all.

So explore, take, give back, learn. Make it a goal to learn a little something every day and give a little help/advice/support every day. We all need it.

Oooh. I'm on the porch now. I can surf out here too. Okay. I'm going to try - no not in the tub. How about the kitchen counter?

Stay connected, and learn until your brain hurts,


How to do research on the Web
Tufts Newsletter
Harvard Nutrition site
Glycemic Index online
Life Extension Foundation
Dr. Weil

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posted by Julie |
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