A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Finding support online

on March 26, 2014
 I was entertained today looking at the windows open on my iPhone, which are a mix of running and health related articles plus a truly decadent chocolate-peanut butter pie I was thinking of trying out for my husband.
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So many people, myself included, interact with the world as much via our web- and smart phone-based platforms as we do via actual human interaction, especially when it comes to issues like weight loss and lifestyle changes. It can be scary to admit to the people around you in real life that you’re trying to take up running or trying to lose weight. I know I was reluctant for people to know that I was trying to lose weight, because then I felt like everyone would know if I failed. I know other people who experience a lot of undermining and actual sabotage if they tell their loved ones that they are trying to make changes. Given all of this, the virtual world can be in many ways a safer and more helpful place to find support.
I know for me, in addition to a fear of failure, I felt like there really wasn’t anyone in my “real” world who understood the magnitude of what I was dealing with as I looked at losing 100 plus pounds or trying to figure out binge eating or trying to start to run when moving at 4 mph for even 30 seconds was tough.
I started with the Weight Watchers 100 pounds to lose message board, which you do not have to be a WW member to use. There were lots of people there to answer practical questions about the WW program but also lots of people to talk to about the struggles of loose skin, of feeling fat even when the mirror said otherwise, of losing your identity when you no longer had obesity to hide behind, and of dealing with unexpected gains on the scale. That was where I really learned the value of identifying non-scale victories to keep motivated along this journey and where I felt like I could be really honest about my struggles and concerns in ways that I really wasn’t comfortable discussing in the WW meetings themselves. I’ve also used the SparkPeople message boards and blogs to find support. There are similar boards and groups via MyFitnessPal as well.
Several friends have started groups on Facebook as they’ve tried to lose weight, finding it a helpful way to get support and input from others on Facebook without having to discuss your concerns with everyone you knew in high school. Even in maintenance, I try to participate in these if one of my friends has started it because I know how helpful it was for me to have moral support from others when I was losing and how practically useful it can be to have someone “on the other side” of the weight loss journey to answer questions. With Facebook changing its policies on managing blog pages, it’ll be interesting to see that affects that dynamic as I know several of the blogs I follow have active communities via Facebook as well for real-time support beyond what blog posts can offer.
Of course, I’ve also gotten a lot from the blogs I started following when I first began losing weight and now that I’m more active with blogging myself. It’s amazing to me how interactive blogs can be. Before I started writing myself, I was always a “lurker”, reading without commenting or interacting much, but now I realize that most bloggers really do want to answer questions and interact with readers. (If you ever want to ask me a question without posting it as a public comment, feel free to email me!) I’m fascinated by blog link ups and groups in which multiple bloggers are banded together for support and encouragement. It really is a rich community!
As much as I value the ritual of my Weight Watchers meetings each weekend, I have to say I definitely get more day to day support of my weight loss and maintenance via online support. What groups have you found helpful online? Do you find it easier to talk about sensitive weight and lifestyle issues behind our relative anonymity of the web? I know I’ve certainly asked questions online (and here) that I’d be much more reluctant discuss in real life!
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7 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Finding support online

  1. Kristin says:

    I just think you’re such a great person!! I can definitely tell you’re so supportive and loving towards everyone!! Just a little note from me!

  2. It breaks my heart hearing that people out there experience such negativity in their lives from those close to them when they have a health/fitness goal in mind. I believe in creating a positive and encouraging atmosphere. Everyone can accomplish what they set out to do!

    Anonymity isn’t important to me, but I can see where it would be important to others. I’ve always felt that voicing my goals made them real and therefore I had accountability all around me, whether negative or positive. It was all about how bad I really wanted to reach my goal that led to whether I did or not!

    I love how interactive blogs are too and I’m so glad you aren’t a lurker anymore and that I’ve had the chance to get to know you virtually. You are a great and encouraging person! I can’t wait to meet you in real life someday soon!

  3. It’s so positive to find online support on a particular topic, to interact with people that are going through similar experiences.
    It shouldn’t replace real life interactions, but it’s a great addition.

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