Saturday, June 10, 2006

Weight Loss Blogging Is About Accountability

Can I let you in on a little secret? It's a big one, so you might want to move in a little closer so I can whisper it to you in your ear. You ready? I know you'll never believe me when I tell you what the REAL reason why I started my blog.

Was it to help educate people about how to lose weight? Sure.
Was it to help give encouragement to people who desire weight loss? Right.
Was it to entertain people with interesting information on dieting? I suppose.

But more than ANYTHING else, my primary objective when I started the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog was, well, ME! It might seems selfish to some people to hear a blogger talk about themselves like they are the master of their own universe or something. Well, actually we are because this is the one place on the entire World Wide Web that is mine, mine, all mine! HA HA HA HA HA (in my best evil, maniacal voice!)!!!

Seriously, though, what I wanted more than anything else when I started writing at this blog was accountability for myself while doing all of those other things, too. I knew writing at this blog and even writing a book about my weight loss success would help me keep my own weight off forever. So far, mission accomplished.

That's one of the advantages of having a blog, according to a January 2006 Fitness Magazine article I found by freelance writer Debbie Koenig.

After losing 100 pounds, keeping it off for five years, and then starting to regain some weight, she started her own blog called Words To Eat By to "help me focus" through the writing and posting of regular essays, recipes, and her personal thoughts and obervations about losing weight while enjoying great-tasting healthy food.

Koenig says weight loss blogs are the perfect way for other dieters to "connect with other people who are experiencing similar emotional ups and downs."

"Reading about another person's struggle can give you the confidence you need to make -- and maintain -- the tough lifestyle choices that long-term weight loss demands," Koenig wrote. "It can also give you comfort to know that other people find dieting just as difficult as you do."

I have been told by some of my well-meaning low-carb blog friends that I shouldn't talk about my struggles while livin' la vida low-carb. Say what?! Not only am I going to talk about my struggles, but I'm also going to talk about all the wonderful positive changes that have happened to me thanks to the low-carb way of life. I wouldn't have it any other way.

People are very intelligent and can pick up on someone who is being less than forthright about themselves. If I never shared with you the tough times that I encounter as someone who lost 180 pounds and now trying to keep it off, then nobody would take me seriously. Who do you know in your life who has NEVER had to go through anything difficult? I don't know anyone in my circle of friends and my guess is neither do you.

So why do we put on a face and try to be fake, especially in a blog forum? We're in this together and part of that includes sharing what we are going through to give people the hope they so desperately long for with their own weight loss journey. For example, I've recently blogged about a slight weight gain this year that has crept up on me.

GASP! You can't talk about stuff like that because you'll discourage people from losing weight. Oh yes I can talk about it and no I won't scare people away who are serious about getting their weight under control. It's about about being real and THAT'S ME!

That's why I write the way I do -- good, bad, ugly and everything in between. I think people love and respect this blog that much more because I refuse to sugar-coat (too many carbs anyway!) my experience. Plus, if you haven't noticed, I'm not very politically correct. :D Telling it to you straight with no pretenses whatsoever is precisely how I get my point across and I make no apologies for it.

While I have put my name, face and image out there front and center at my blog because I'm not afraid for people to see who I am and catch a glimpse of what my life after an enormous weight loss is about, Koenig said other bloggers who are in the midst of their weight loss experience can enjoy the "anonymity of keeping an online journal."

"[It] encourages a frankness and sense of accountability that may be difficult to develop in real life," she noted in her column.

I've never had an issue with being afraid to be speak about how I really feel on just about any subject. If I feel it, then you're gonna read about it at my blog sooner or later. Again, that gives people who read my blog a sense of comradarie, like you know who I am although we have never met face to face. I have several blog "friends" who I have never had the privilege to meet in person, but I know we would get along great if we did. That's the power of a blog, connecting people with others who can literally live thousands of miles away (my blog friends hail from Australia, the Phillipines, Canada, the UK, Germany, and all across the United States).

Koenig commented on this point about hooking up with other people when she said a blog "gives you access to an instant support network, which experts believe is key to losing weight and keeping it off."

"Most bloggers chronicle their lives for an audience of dozens, but some high-visibility sites can have thousands of daily readers; that's a lot of people tracking your progress."

Yeah, tell me about it. Although Washington Post health columnist Sally Squires describes weight loss bloggers as "mere amateurs," the fact is that I am privileged and honored to average about 1,500 pageviews per day (and still growing!) at my blog and have many "regular readers" who will post comments about what I have written about as well as soliciting help with their situation (not bad for a writer who apparently doesn't know what he's doing, eh Ms. Squires?!). My e-mail box overflows with similar comments from people which I always welcome with open arms.

If you have ever e-mailed me, then you know I at the very least acknowledge you with a response and attempt to the best of my ability to answer your question even if all I write is some words of encouragement. I agree with Koenig that your comments are an "enormous source of strength" for me, too. See, you didn't know how much you uplifted and encouraged ME, did you? :)

While I enjoy writing about weight loss, health, diet and nutrition at my blog, I have to remind people that I am not medically trained and therefore cannot give out advice about what people should do. But what I can and will do is share from my own experience so that others can see the circumstance they are going through right now may not be as impossible to overcome as they think it is. Just knowing somebody else has either gone through or is going through what you are is enough to motivate some to keep going just when they were thinking of giving up.

To be honest, when I was losing my weight in 2004, I didn't even know what a blog was. I was writing columns on a pseudo-blog called, but I didn't have a blog all to my own where I posted all my food journals and weigh-ins. I admire anyone who can do that, be honest about it, and see it work for them. That can be quite intimidating, although the accountability has to be a little overwhelming sometimes I'm sure! But that's a good thing for people who need to shed the pounds.

How about the downsides of blogging? Koenig addresses those in her column, too, including the most important one of them all -- the struggle to write on a regular basis.

"The commitment to write regularly -- at least once a week, if not every day -- takes more effort than some novices realize. I try to post daily, but sometimes, life (an ailing relative, a sick cat) gets in the way. If I skip too many days, I feel guilty."

As someone who probably loves to write more than anyone else you will ever meet in your entire life, I thankfully haven't had this problem...yet. I have committed to writing at this blog EVERY SINGLE DAY with the lone exception of Friday nights which I promised to reserve as my weekly "date night" with my wife Christine. She deserves that one night a week together with me for letting me blog, go to work, workout at the YMCA, etc. the rest of the week. She's such a sweetie for doing that!

I even consider it my duty to blog early and blog often. While I don't get paid to write at my blog (HA, don't I wish!), I certainly feel an obligation to the people who take time out of their busy day to read what I have written at my blog. THANK YOU for giving me that privilege to be a part of YOUR life, even if it is for just a few minutes a day.

I want you to know that I am always thinking about YOU when I am not blogging so I can provide you with best news and information that you can use in your life to better yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. That's my goal when I write at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog and my desire is that you are able to take away something every time you visit.

Ironically, blogging can pull you away from other important things, such as getting in your exercise at the gym. There have been some days when I have had to choose between blogging or working out. Dang, that's a tough decision to make! If I go workout, then maybe my readers will think I abandoned them today. But if I blog, then I'm being a hypocrite about my healthy lifestyle change. Aaaaack!

My thinking on this is that it is all about staying balanced and remaining true to myself. If blogging ever got to be too overbearing for me and made me compromise my health in any way, then I'd quit doing it in a heartbeat and wouldn't think twice about it. Right now, I don't see that ever happening, but I suppose it is possible that circumstances could change for me someday.

One of the other benefits I get from writing at my blog is that it helps me destress myself and relax after going through the rigors of my job. I am a customer relations specialist at the company I work for answering e-mails and calls from angry customers on a daily basis. While I never take the comments they say to me personally because I realize they are mad at the company I work for, not me, it can still take its toll physically as much as it mentally drains you. That's why I look forward to my lunch hour workouts at the YMCA as well as coming home to write at my blog which helps me unwind. Blogging is my emotional release therapy! LOL!

The best part about a blog, though, is that it's FREE! As in it doesn't cost you any money. WOO HOO! Blogger has been a wonderful service for me and is super easy to use. While you need to know some basic HTML code (I already did before I started), it's really a lot more elementary than people even realize. In 25 years from now, I believe that blogs will be a dominant force in marketing and media because they will continue to connect real people who have things to say with real people who will want to hear what is being said.

I consider it the highest compliment when someone tells me they started their own blog because they were inspired by my blog. The following blogs are the ones I am aware of that have been created by readers of my blog who started their own because of "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb": Low-Carb Dave, I Will Lose It, Low-Carb Runner, and I Love Low-Carb. If you started a blog because of my blog, then please let me know about it so I can add you to my list of Blog Friends. E-mail me at

You can leave a comment for Debbie Koenig about her comments on weight loss blogs at her Words To Eat By blog. Be sure to tell her "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" Man Jimmy Moore sent you! :D

6-12-06 UDPATE: Debbie Koenig read my blog post about her column and sent me this delightful e-mail response.

Hi Jimmy, thanks for writing! I'm glad you liked my piece--I had a lot of
fun researching it and interviewing other diet bloggers.

I'm grateful you posted my picture in such a nice context! You could've drawn horns and a mustache, after all, and written all kinds of nasty things...

I think you've said some very wise things there in your post.



THANK YOU, Debbie! It's great to blog about other bloggers who make a lot of sense and you certainly do. Keep up the great work at Words To Eat By and come back to visit again at my blog soon. Take care!


Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...


I think I can speak for a lot of us readers when I say:
We really appreciate the daily effort you put into this blog, and the candid manner you do it.
Honesty about your struggles is the best way to convey your message!

6/10/2006 9:33 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

Blogging has helped me focus on my low-carb diet, too. I'm 'accountable" to anyone who wanders through and sees I gained weight because I was eating poorly. It helps me stay on track.

6/11/2006 6:52 PM  
Blogger LCforevah said...

You know, whether a blog is personal, political or fanatically hobbyist, there are always readers ready to call the blogger on his mistakes, or misinformation. Thus, blogging tends to be very self correcting if the blogger intends to keep his readers and his integrity.
This is something that people in traditional media just don't seem to get, that correction happens constantly, sometimes within a matter of hours.

6/12/2006 1:49 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Or even in SECONDS! :D

6/12/2006 1:59 PM  

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