I am very intrigued by the habits of people who have lost a great deal of weight through healthy lifestyle (and kept it off!). One healthy habit that I’m seeing lately in a lot of successful “losers” (read their stories here) is blogging about the weight loss journey. Blogging is one of the most powerful yet underused weight loss tools. Why might it help? First of all, narrative is one of the most effective ways to learn. We learn about ourselves from our own narratives and we learn from others by reading theirs. Think of your blog as your story, in segments. Writing your story down is also a way to keep yourself focused on progress and goals, and to solidify your commitment. You can think about or talk about a goal, but putting it to paper increases the likelihood that it will happen. Finally, by opening up and connecting with others you will build a community of support. Support from other people is the scaffolding of any weight loss journey. We need it. We can’t do this alone. Recent research has even shown that the more people you connect with during your weight loss journey the more weight you will lose (Ma et al 2011). So blog off those pounds… here are 7 suggestions for getting started.
1. I’m Not the Techie/Blogger Type. This is a barrier for a lot of people because the assumption is that blogging must involve a high level of technical skill. Not true! These days just about anyone can set up a blog. I suggest Blogger, a free user-friendly blog tool made by Google. Just follow the step-by-step instructions and you will be blogging in an hour.
2. Be You. When you put yourself out there, it is hard not to worry about how other people will perceive you. I urge you to be your authentic self; meaning, don’t try to create a public persona or project a different personality than your own. It is much easier to write when you write from your own voice. You are the easiest person you can ever be.
3. Blog like nobody’s reading. Keep in mind that a blog is for your benefit, not somebody else, although others certainly may benefit and that is a huge bonus. At first you won’t have many or any readers so it is important that you don’t focus on building a certain size audience or trying to please an audience. Think of your blog as public letters to yourself, a public journal. If someone happens to stop by for a read or a comment, then that is one more person who might benefit from your story.
4. Toughest days are the most important ones to put to pen. The most compelling weight loss blog posts that I have ever read are the ones that tell the stories of hard times. I remember reading a post where a blogger wrote a raw account of a day of binge eating. It was heart wrenching to read because she detailed the true struggle, emotions and all, of someone trying to get in control of her eating. In her follow-up posts it was clear she felt a tremendous catharsis by writing about that day. The support that flowed in through comments was incredible. Normally a binge day could cause your whole week (or longer) to be engulfed in shame, regret and depression. By putting it all out there, the blogger disarmed her demons, letting them fly right out the window. She set herself free.
5. Write regularly. To really develop the blogging habit, write a few (at least 3-4) posts a week. This may seem like a lot of work, but keep the posts short. Spend no more than 30 minutes to an hour on a post. Every post doesn’t need to contain a life-changing revelation, just write what you’ve been thinking about that day, how you dealt with a challenge, a new strategy you used, a recipe, a frustration, how you felt while exercising, a personal victory, a fear, etc. Blogging will force you to be more mindful of your experiences. You will find yourself thinking about what to blog about each day and this will make for some powerful reflection time, something we could all use!
6. Connect to other blogs. A great way to get started is by first checking out other weight loss blogs. You can start by being a reader, commenting, and interacting. Most bloggers have a Facebook page or Twitter feed, which can allow for even more interaction. If you aren’t ready to blog, take this first step to see what it is all about. Once you start blogging, you can link to your favorite blogs and let them know you are blogging too. The blogging community is a friendly one, don’t be afraid to connect and interact. Everyone is on the same road and everybody will be happy you joined. A few blogs to check out are: A Lifetime Loser , Cubicle Dad Runs , The Weightress, The Fit Bee , Weight Off My Shoulders , The Business of Losing Weight. There are many, many others too.
7. Perfection is the Key… to getting nothing accomplished. I’m a fan of the beautiful mess. That’s life, isn’t it? Blogging is not like writing a literary masterpiece, it is a journal. Do not worry about heavily editing and rewriting each post to get it just right as this may slow down your progress. If you frequently experience writer’s block it may be because you are thinking too much about what exactly to write. Just move your fingers to get something on the canvas. You’ll be surprised what corners of your mind you can explore if you don’t think, don’t edit, just write.
Calling all bloggers! Please give us a one-liner of advice about weight loss blogging (and link to your blog!) in the comment section! We would love to hear from you!
Ma, X and colleagues (2011). Understanding weight change behaviors through online social networks. International Journal of Computational Models and Algorithms, 2(3), 46-69.Share on Facebook