“I … dont want a wholesome smoothie for breakfast ... dont want to measure the cream in my coffee … Im sick of it… I want to go face-first into a bathtub full of Captain Crunch with whole milk, just soak and wolf and slurp.” Julie “JuJu” G. Ridl, from her blog, Skinny Daily Post.
Welcome to the world of diet bloggers, where the daily triumphs and downfalls of dieting are shared via Internet journals. Some, like Ridls, get thousands of visitors a monthreaders who post their own comments and essentially create a weight-loss support group online.
Ridl, a 45-year-old design consultant in Holland, Michigan, lost 100 pounds in 2001, and says writing about her daily struggle to maintain the weight loss has kept her sharply focused, while at the same time inspiring regular readers. She gets about 40,000 hits to her site per month.
“The act of writing helped me commit,” Ridl says. “It cuts a little path in my brain, and keeps me on that path. And the voluminous support from readers has kept me on track, too.”
Readers also apparently win, posting responses to Ridls blog that say theyre motivated by her online sharing to meet their own weight-loss goals. “I have lost about 45 pounds, but have been hovering around the same weight for more than 6 months,” a reader named “Jess” wrote. “It is slow going for me, but it is worth it to hang in there. The Skinny Daily Post has been an incredible source of inspiration and support. Hugs to you!”
These dieting Web logs can help people organize their own support system, “which could be very valuable and cost a lot less than medical advice or diet organizations,” says Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, professor at New York Universitys Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health.
Theres no official count of dieting blogs specifically, but 70,000 new blogs are created every day, with about 29,100 blog updates an hour, according to Technorati.com, a site that tracks more than 20 million blogs.
Naturally, a big topic on most diet blogs is food. On Skinny Daily, Ridl and two other bloggers who share her site analyze new recipes for carb and fat content, pore over nutritional guidelines when they come out, discuss new food movements (lately, organic), and share healthy snack ideas. “Would you believe frozen peas are actually tasty?” Ridl says.
Other entertaining and inspiring diet blogs are Drop the Fork, Skinny Kat and The Better Body Blog. Some focus on advice, while others are of the personal rant variety. To find and browse other diet blogs, log on to Technorati.com. In the Search window, enter keywords like “weight loss,” “diet,” or “nutrition,” and links to all related, recent (in the last few hours) blog posts will show up.
Nestle cautions, though, that readers should apply critical thinking: If advice you read in a blog sounds unhealthy, ignore it, she says. For nutrition advice, check out Eatright.orgthe American Dietetic Associations Web siteand find a registered dietitian in your area.
Want to start your own blog?
More software companies are making it as simple as possible with downloadable software or via a Web page. One of the easiest is Blogger.com, which hosts blogs for free.