Saturday, 6 August 2011

Answering a weight loss question: Has blogging about it made a difference?

Yesterday morning I asked if anyone had a weight loss question.  

Helga Henry asked a great one:

I guess I want to ask what you think blogging about it did that may have helped and if you've tried to lose weight in the past without blogging about it - was blogging the thing that made the difference?
I had to give it some thought. The short answer was yes, blogging about losing weight has made a difference, but to expand...

I began this blog in January this year as I wanted an online space for things that didn't fit into my other online areas, hence the title a bit more of Karen.

The benefits of blogging about my weight loss

Perhaps initially on a more subconscious I made myself accountable. I'm a great believer in the notion that if you write things down you get things done. This was a place to publicly write my goals down, and then 'tick' them off as I achieved them.

I think that by blogging on a fairly frequent basis has made me more mindful in what I am doing. When I write about losing weight, or tweet about it, I'm making myself aware of it and it provides me with a reminder and keeps it at the forefront of my mind.

It also gives me a record of my success in losing weight. With such a lot keeping me busy in life it would be easy to forget what I've done, how far I have come and what I've said I'm going to do. And although I started losing weight in August 2010* I didn't start giving my weight loss a public voice, so to speak,  until January.

I credit this blog for helping me stay on track. That, and also all the support I've received from my friends and followers online. A virtual high-five and a 'well done' really goes a long way to add encouragement.

About 4 years ago I lost weight and stayed at my (then) goal of 10st 4lbs for a month or two, then let it all slip and my achievement was soon a distant memory as old habits took over. I didn't blog about it then. I didn't really speak to friends or family about it. I just did it on my own. This time I'm sharing my weight loss story of the ups and downs and what I am learning along the way. Right now this is my fourth month of maintaining my weight loss and that's a huge improvement time-wise compared my last attempt.

By blogging about my journey, I know that as well as me keeping an eye on my progress, other people are too. How would I feel if I went back to square one after all the "I did it! This feels great!" that I've said, and go "Sod it, I'm going back to the way things were". I'd feel pretty disappointed in myself!! I don't want to go back now I've experienced how much better I feel (and I think I look) since liberating myself of 50lbs. I feel I would be letting myself down.

This blog has allowed me to see the bigger picture and record all the new habits that have been forming. I've kept repeating healthy eating behaviour and through that daily repetition that habit seems to have now stuck.

I get to help a few people along the way too, which is a bonus! Whilst I've been documenting my weight loss I've received emails and tweets asking questions, mainly about motivation. It's great a great compliment to be asked for help, or a kick up the butt (from one reader!), and be able pass on things that I have learnt. I'm by no means an expert and can only share things from my experience and perspective but I'm happy it's been a help to some.

Another side benefit to blogging and putting my weight loss 'out there' so to speak is that some unexpected (but fab!) opportunities have come along. For example I was approached with the view of getting involved with a rather big clothing line. It isn't going ahead now, but it was great to be considered. I doubt that would have happened if I hadn't been blogging about losing weight and talking about my new image.

Thanks for the question Helga! :)**

*Wow, that's a whole year ago!! Although I've said a lot of times that I started to lose weight last August, it's only this minute dawned on me that I've stuck at this for a WHOLE YEAR! When I started losing weight, I really wasn't thinking this far ahead. I was just taking it one small goal at at time. I'm going to continue writing about weight loss. Just because I've reached my goal it doesn't mean I put my feet up. Entering the maintenance phase is very much an going process and needs just as much dedication as losing weight.


**Actually Helga answered one of my questions that I had received via an email recently about being publicly active and blogging and getting over online inhibitions. I put the question out there in a tweet, and Helga and Nicky Getgood both gave some good advice, so that'll be an upcoming blog post in the next couple of weeks.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Say hello on twitter: @karenstrunks

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