Decades ago, someone trying to get fit might tear a photo of a fitness model out of a magazine and post in on her fridge.
These days, motivation is just a few keystrokes away.
That's where you'll find a world of weight-loss bloggers, who share the ups and downs of their diet-and-exercise journeys with you, a perfect stranger.
University of Massachusetts weight-loss psychologist Sherry Pagoto told the Free Press last week that blogs -- or online diaries -- are powerful tools in keeping bloggers fit, since they help them stay accountable to an audience.
But they can also keep blog followers in line.
"I think it's helpful, maybe particularly around weight loss or any other big behaviour change, to connect with other people who are doing the same thing -- even if you don't know them," says Pagoto.
Looking for some online motivation? Here are some weight-loss blogs worth looking at:
Run Eat Repeat
Blogger Bio: Monica, a fit, southern Californian runner who couldn't drop the 20 or so pounds she wanted to despite a serious running hobby. She guesses years of yo-yo dieting and binge eating during her life as a "chubby" kid contributed to her inability to lose weight. She started her blog about five years ago to document her weight loss and training for her first marathon.
Contents: Rather than conventional dieting, Monica prefers "intuitive eating," a method of paying attention to your body cues rather than following strict diet dos and don'ts. She tracks her struggles and successes with this method, posts pictures of her meals, which even include chocolate chip cookies. She also shares recipes, photos of her runs and her grocery shopping essentials.
Blogger's tip: Measure weight-loss progress without the scale -- using measurements, clothes and body-fat readings. (Your doctor can do it, she says).
Losing Weight in the City
Blogger's Bio: Theodora is a New York social media coach who, a few years ago, lost 50 pounds.
Contents: Meal highlights, fitness classes she attends, the online meditation resources she uses to calm panic attacks, her race recaps and New York restaurant reviews complete with photos of her visits.
Blogger's Tip: "Fats are good for you and will not make you fat. Our body needs dietary fat to metabolize food properly and make hormones (which control all cell function)."
Blogger's Bio: Roni, who has weighed as much as 200 pounds, started blogging in 2005 when she was pregnant with her son. Her blog started off as a way to keep in touch with friends and family. The web developer, who has battled the scale for much of her life, gained 70 pounds during her pregnancy. Two weeks after giving birth, she went to a Weight Watchers meeting. Today, after the birth of a second child, she has reached her goal weight.
Contents: An "Ask Roni" section in which she answers questions from followers. She also posts photos her experiences at a mud run as well as pics of the tummy tuck and breast lift after losing 70 pounds.
Blogger's Tip: Don't let vacations stop you from exercising. (Roni often blogs about her overseas runs.)
300 Pounds and Running
Blogger Bio: Martinus, a University of Connecticut graduate student studying health promotion, started his blog more than a year ago when he weighed 300 pounds. What provoked him to blog? An orthopedic surgeon called him "fat" and advised him to buy a pair of running shoes and start walking. The dare inspired Martinus to not only walk, but to run and to blog about it. He's since lost about 60 pounds and counting.
Contents: Details about his eating plan. Martinus follows the Paleo Diet. But lately he's noticing that while it's helping him lose weight, he's avoiding invitations from friends to eateries out of fear of binging on non-Paleo foods. Martinus also posts his weigh-ins and descriptions of his runs. He's even owned up to the fact that he didn't stick with his "100 days of burpees" challenge.
Blogger's Tip: Don't cover up failures. Learn from them.
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