By Shaun Chavis
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A few weeks ago I had lunch with Stephen Vinson, who writes Who Ate My Blog? Stephen used to weigh 632 pounds. He's reached a 100-pound weight-loss mark, and his goal is to lose 200 more by April 2010. Though one of Stephen's friends has offered him a reward that he can't resist, it was clear to me during our conversation that his blogâ€”and the people he's met because of itâ€”has been a motivating force.
Extra weight can be socially isolating. Stephen explained that people who are severely obese often never leave their own homes, and he's determined not to cut himself off like that. Blogging has been one avenue for him to connect with others. But even for people who aren't carrying hundreds of extra pounds, extra weight limits social life. If you blog, new social interactions emerge.
Writing weight off isn't a new idea. Julia Cameron, who is best known for her book The Artist's Way, realized that journaling helped her students lose weight, so she put together The Writing Diet. One of my older favorites, Outwit Your Weight by registered dietitian Cathy Nonas, calls a pen the "ultimate weight loss weapon." And plenty of studies show that keeping a food diary helps dieters succeed.
But blogging is different: It's not just a list of calories in and calories out. And, unlike a pen and paper diary, people respond to what you write. Shannon Ray Lavery and Angie Barney Cox, who write the blog The Fabulous Fatties, told me they went through a string of "do-over Mondays" and decided to blog to make themselves accountable to others. Now, they say blogging and tweeting have opened all kinds of opportunities for themâ€”they're even hosting a health-focused cruise in January.
I wanted to learn a little more about how other bloggers benefit, so I wrote Stephen, along with Jennette Fulda, whose blog Pasta Queen started as a way to write through her goal of losing half her body weight. It morphed into a book called Half-Assed: A Weight Loss Memoir. I also wrote Tina Haupert, who is Health's Feel Great Weight blogger. She also has a personal blog, Carrots 'N' Cake, which she started when she had a goal of getting in shape for her wedding.
If you've ever thought about blogging your weight off, but have been a bit intimidated at the thought of telling the world how much you weigh or what size you wear (believe me, I understand!), read about these weight-loss blogging experiences.
If you start a blog, or already have a blog about your weight loss, leave a link in a comment (please, no spam about new miracle diet supplements). Do you use Twitter to lose weight? I'd love to hear how it works for you.
Why did you start blogging?
weight-loss-support-200.jpg is the best blogging software to use if you're starting a blog. [Note from Shaun: We use WordPress here at Health.com.] It's free too. Become an active member of the weight-loss blogging community by reading other blogs and leaving thoughtful comments. There are a lot of fabulous men and women in the fit blogging community who can help you reach your goal.