Lara – week 39 – where do we go from here?

Week 39! 

We’ve been on this journey and part of this community for 39 weeks.  And it’s incredible.  The support, the friends, the camaraderie - so amazing.

Karen’s post this week was actually a bit of foreshadowing for my post.  A lot of us have been part of this blog since it launched last August.  We’ve made huge changes to our lives, but life is busy, especially with young families and careers (which so many of us have) and making weight loss a priority is sometimes very hard.

Karen and I are both stalled – and we know why. It’s not because we’ve hit a plateau we just can’t beat despite our hard work. It’s because we aren’t putting in the right amount of effort.

We know that.  You know that. The question is, what comes next?

At one point I would have suggested bowing out of Losing it.  Thing is – I don’t want to.  I like it here! I like being a part of this!!  I have lost almost 30 lbs and gained an amazing amount of self-esteem. I can’t remember ever being this happy with how I look and how I’m treating my body. That’s a true testament to this site.

But do you want post after post of “so I didn’t try and I didn’t lose and blah blah whine whine blah?”

No – me neither.

So Karen and I are putting out a suggestion for some changes around here.  But this isn’t just our community; we want your feedback.  We want to make Losing it a place that people want to come and be a part of.

Here is the idea:

Losing it changes from being a chronicling for specific daily weight loss journeys and becomes more generally about healthy and active living.

Posts would focus on healthy recipes, new forms of exercise to try, group activities, how to feel good about yourself, improving self esteem, fashion for the not necessarily skinny girls, etc

We would ask our contributors to post on a variety of topics like that, keeping the feeling of commaraderie and support going.

I know some of you rely on this site for your daily motivation to keep exercising, get to the gym, eat right, etc and for you guys, this might be the hardest shift.  I don’t think that we would do away entirely with the weight updates – but there would certainly be less of them.

So the ball is in your court.  What do you think of that idea.  We can stick with the current concept but I believe if we do we will be seeing a shift in content providers with a number of us taking a break from the blog.

I will say this – I haven’t lost any weight in the last two weeks but I did swim 36 mini (19m) laps in the pool yesterday and I am going to be walking 32 km in 2.5 weeks for the weekend to end cancer and would appreciate your support in making it to my fundraising goal :) And I’m happy about that.

What do you want Losing it to be?

Ps – are you coming to the clothing swap this weekend?

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32 Responses to Lara – week 39 – where do we go from here?

  1. Jumping up and down, YES YES YES! I think this is an awesome idea. As much as loosing WEIGHT is part of getting healthy when your overweight (and unhealthy habits have lead to that weight gain), I personally don’t like the focus on weight alone. Look at the freaking amazing things you have all accomplished! The strength physically you have gained, the feats you have done, the people you have inspired, etc etc these are powerful. Also the reality is that many of the people reading this blog who are trying to loose weight are struggling to and it’s good to hear the truth. To know that you are not alone in making it fit in your life. Coming together to share motivation like recipes, and new ways to get your sweat on is going to help keep it fun and fresh. I have been reading your stories since day one and I would be sad if you weren’t here. So YES! Awesome Idea!

  2. jenn says:

    I love the idea of losing it in ottawa making the slight change from a weight loss blog to a healthy living blog. In the past month or so, I’ve dealt with hitting a plateau in my posts, and I’ve started to think that maybe living a healthy lifestyle is more improtant than the number on the scale. After all you could be wr0lbs and still not live a healthy lifestyle. With my new found love of running,I’m also learning that I’m not running or exercising to be skinny, I’m running and excerising to be healthy and to be an athlete. I know that myself as a fellow losing it blogger, I’m looking forward to posting more about healthy living (and running), instead of just the progress of the number on the scale. Great decision!!

  3. Shona says:

    I like the current personal nature of the blogs, where I feel like I have gotten to know the writers. I don’t need all the blogs to be about how the writers lost or were perfect every week. It’s not real life for most of us, and the honesty and real nature of this blog is what makes it powerful and special. I personally like the current format. People’s stories and feelings are what makes this blog meaningful to me. The other ‘type’ of post is ok, but I would find it less motivating and inspiring.

    I also find it personally motivating to encourage others when it’s not going so well, because while I am giving you a pep talk, I’m also giving me a pep talk. So really, you can ‘whine’ to me anytime. (Obviously, my vote is for little/no change, sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear.)

    • Shona says:

      After reading others comments, I am realizing I may have misunderstood…? I just don’t want strictly information posts. I would like the posts to stay personal, but that can include (and I thought it always had included) celebrating non-scale victories and related topics.

      • Lara says:

        Well what would happen is that we wouldn’t talk so much about specific weight loss goals in each post. I may choose to not talk about weight all together but instead just talk about whatever topic I’ve chosen.

        The alternative – ie no change, means that we would probably do another call for new bloggers to replace the ones who are making no effort to lose weight.

        There is making so so effort and trudging along and there is making NO effort and really not fitting in with this format. I, for example, cannot justify my presence in this current format. It is having the opposite effect now – having to tell you all week after week that I’m not trying.

  4. sherrilynne7 says:

    A mix of content would be good but I think you’ll need to keep a clear focus on weightloss bloggers. That’s what sets this blog apart. You don’t have to carry on as a blogger you know, adding value in comments and tweets might be enough to keep you involved. But the whole issue begs the question…what’s happened to your motivation and what can we do to help?

    • Lara says:

      3 young kids and too many other projects have made it so that I just don’t have it in me to focus on this. Something had to give and weight loss was it.

      I am completely open to leaving the format the same and simply bowing out as a blogger. We just wanted to put this idea out there because so many of the original bloggers are ready to bow out given the current format.

  5. Katherine says:

    I am a frequent reader but a rare commenter. (For me, this pretty much applies to the internet in general.) I think a shift in focus to healthy living would be great.

    I think the tendency to treat overweight and unhealthy as synonyms, and to equate getting healthier with getting thinner, are very unfair and potentially harmful. Good food and exercise have so many other benefits to health and happiness: it’s sad to think that someone who was seeing a change in her energy level, improved fitness, better sleep, etc, might feel like she had failed because she didn’t lose much weight.

    More important, things like finding clothes you like to wear and fitting exercise into your schedule are things you do to make sure your own needs are met and remain a priority. That’s a great thing for people to help each other with, no matter what they weigh or want to weigh.

  6. I’m with Sherrilynne, I would like Losing It to continue to be about losing weight – with an emphasis on the healthy lifestyle that gets you (and keeps you) there. I would also like to see you guys stay, and to (again) echo Sherrilynne, I think the important question is, how can we help?

    You (and Karen) are both really busy. I’m sure there a lots of people who have the same problem, and would also like help with that. So when you’re finding more questions than answers, maybe phrase your post in the form of a question? “Here’s what’s not working, how would *you* fix it?”

    Personally, I like posts that strike a balance between personal and informational. The informational keeps me interested (I love the ideas you threw out there), the personal keeps me motivated. The personal is what sets this blog apart, and makes it a community instead of just a newsletter.

    And, like Shona, giving a pep-talk motivates me, too. So I think that there is not just room for, but a *need* for all different aspects of the weight loss journey.

    I tried to be balanced in my comment on Karen’s post, but here I’m going to be blunt. I love the ideas you have presented here in terms of focus, but I want you to stay. Both of you.

    • Shona says:

      Well said! :)

      • Sasha says:

        Thanks Shona! And I should clarify: when talking about balance, I don’t mean that every post has to have both. I usually structure my posts that way because I find it a useful way to organize my thoughts. Having a variety of approaches in writers helps to appeal to the variety of tastes in readers.

  7. Jay says:

    I’ll tell you – this past 2 weeks I’ve been debating my continuing as a blogger as well…simply because my progress has almost dropped off

  8. Can’t we have a combination of both? The fact is, it is good to read and learn there are other peeps out there that struggling to lose weigh and realizing it that this time may not be the time to take part in an active process but you’ve learned to enjoy a new lifestyle. I’m not giving up on you and Karen! I enjoy reading about how you are changing your lives. Partly cause I enjoy your writing and partly for selfish reasons, you are inspiring me. I also enjoy reading the other posts about other bloggers’ journey in losing weight. This blog is also called Losing It, so… perhaps a sister blog spin-off? Just throwing that out there ;)

    • Karen says:

      Oh my gawd, another blog idea! ;)

      I think what Lara is suggesting is actually a full mix of both. Basically a community that is committed to healthier lifestyle overall (because we’ve been about that from day one anyway), but also give bloggers the opportunity – when necessary – to take the focus off of weight loss.

      I am not giving up and neither is Lara. We both still want to lose weight. Circumstances at this point in time are such that we are both so busy that it’s a constant struggle. The pressure to report progress on weight loss every week gives you a killer guilt trip when it’s not happening.

      I don’t see this as giving up on weight loss so much as permission to make it a lower priority – for a little while.

      • Sasha says:

        Re blog: *tee hee* My thought exactly ;)

        I’m glad you clarified that – I wasn’t sure if it was the blogging (which certainly is time-consuming), the losing, or the losing-right-now that was the issue. As I mentioned I would like to see Losing It continue to be *about* “losing it” (in both senses ;)), but as for qualifications to be writing about it, it’s the long term goals that matter, not the numbers on the scale.

        Ultimately, it’s the long-term goals that matter anyhow, right?

      • Somekindofmom says:

        Karen, I couldn’t agree with you more. That feeling of guilt every time it’s my turn to post and I have nothing to show for it is awful.

        For me, Losing It really means losing so much: weight, poor self-image, bad eating habits, laziness. It’s all part of one package. I think diversifying a bit is a great idea, but when it comes down to it I really need numbers as an indicator for success. So for ME personally, losing the focus on weight loss is going to be tough. What ever you decide, I’m sticking around ;)

      • Karen says:

        That’s the key – it’s about all those things. So the focus for each blogger may be different at different times. And we’ve said over and over that what works for one person isn’t going to work for another. I think that actually makes it more interesting…we’ll see what happens!

  9. One of the things I like is the effort you’ve all made to really make this a community here… so what about building on that? Is there any way to add a forum to Losing It In Ottawa? Or having some link ups? Or “challenges”? ie, drinking water, a sugar fast, etc.

    There’s a photography blog (husband and wife team) that I love and usually once a month the wife post an “healthy train” update. She talks about what’s been working, what’s not, her progress or lack thereof, etc. But it’s also a contest of sorts. The participants send in a “before” picture, post their progress each week in a google doc (a forum thread would work too), and then at the end of whatever time period has been decided on, the total % of weight loss is tallied (so it’s not just about lbs lost, but % of initial body weight… more fair) and the “winner” gets a free “after” photo session. It seems to really motivate people… not just the prize, but the group effort.

    (If this (ie, the photo session) is something that yall might be interested in doing, send me an email and we can figure something out. While I’m not actively trying to lose weight right now -at almost 39 weeks pregnant!- I WILL BE once an appropriate amount of time has passed after baby girl is born! This is definitely something I’d love to be involved in.)

  10. Sasha says:

    PS yes! I am coming to the clothing swap. Guess I’d better clean out my closet. And take pictures for Tidy Up Tuesday ;). But first I am going for a walk!! Which I guess means I have to pry myself away from constantly coming back to read the latest comments :)

  11. Shona says:

    I agree – have a combination of both! And I do want you and Karen to stay (and all others who may be feeling similarly). I have gotten too attached to all of you!

    • Karen says:

      That’s exactly it! We do want both. Right now, Lara and I acknowledge freely that weight loss isn’t our top priority for the next little while. Others may feel that way, but I KNOW not everyone does. Each blogger is committed to healthy living and we always want to keep our personal connection – that is a huge appeal in any community.

      I like the idea of remaining accountable for leading a healthy life and keeping that as my overall priority without the added pressure to lose weight. Is the weight loss focus going away entirely? I don’t think it will, but if we want to focus on every part of the journey, I think – and comments on my post support this – that life bringing about a change in focus or intensity is definitely a part of the journey.

      Am I making any sense here?

  12. Donna says:

    As someone who left way back when (when weekly updates were what we did)…I have to put in my two cents….STAY!!! Make it work. Transform your posts to what you need to keep going. Believe me, leaving won’t make you have more time. You guys have lost and more importantly, MAINTAINED significant weight losses since starting. Your lives are forever changed by what you’ve done here, by the community you’ve built. Do what you need to do. I’ll keep reading! I love a mix of personal and informational. LOVE Amy’s idea about photo challenge….LOVE reading about non-scale victories. This is LIFE, gals. It ain’t about the scale. It’s about are we living our best possible lives? Are we doing what we need to do to stay sane, and maybe even happy? I have a hunch that contributing to the healthy living community through your posts and comments leads you along the road to answering “yes”.

    Don’t follow my lead of long ago!

    love you guys

    • Sasha says:

      But Donna, you never left, did you? You stopped blogging, but you’re still here (and giving great pep talks, I might add). You’re part of the conversation here, on Twitter – and part of the community. I hope that if anyone feels they can’t find the time to blog anymore, that they know they’re still an important part of the community.

      • Donna says:

        Oh, Sasha, I LEFT. I checked out. I check in from time to time but I’ve entirely checked out. I love that the community is still there for me when I’m able to participate, but wowzas, I’m pretty far gone!

        ;0)

  13. Alison says:

    I like the idea of keeping it a mix. It’s interesting and motivating to hear about people’s successes, but the other information can be useful too. I don’t think I need a biweekly update on your weight loss, but hearing from you (and Karen) is valuable.
    I was always wondering about what would happen when everyone reached their goal weight? Weight maintenance is a huge challenge, just ask Oprah ;-) Expanding to more healthy lifestyle topics will allow those contributors who are at goal weight to still write. While you’re potentially switching things up, it might be good (if possible) to introduce new people periodically who want to provide the biweekly weight updates.
    I guess in general what I’m saying is I think all the original contributors still have a lot to offer and I don’t want to lose their voices because the pounds aren’t coming off. The fact that they aren’t coming back on is important to share. I want to hear how Vicky’s diet changes are impacting her, how Lara’s trying crazy new classes at the gym, how Karen’s shifting her focus, how Sara’s running is making her a little crazy, how Jay’s cleanse is going, how Sascha’s water intake is helping, how Sherrilynne’s vacation changes translate back to her normal routine – I know I’m forgetting others but you get the idea. Am I that concerned with the numbers on your scale, not really- but then they’re just numbers and they shouldn’t define any of us.

  14. Shona says:

    Ok, I know I’m posting a lot of comments, but I just feel the need to defend the scale. The scale is still valuable. It is certainly not the only measure of success (and not even necessarily the most important one) but it is a valuable tool that keeps us accountable. And being honest with ourselves and being accountable is really important. I think that taking measurements, celebrating increased strength and fitness, feeling your clothes fit better, feeling more energized, sleeping better, etc., are also really important, but it doesn’t mean that the scale doesn’t play into it. I think they are often very much connected.

    I am not saying you should be obsessed with the scale, or weigh yourself constantly (I think once a week is plenty!). I am only saying this because I am reading a lot of ‘the numbers on the scale don’t matter’ type of comments, and honestly, I think they do to an extent. I keep thinking to myself, ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’.

    Whenever I haven’t wanted to weigh myself in the past, it was because I didn’t want to face the truth about where I was at, and I think that is the point when I need to step on it the most. The numbers on the scale shouldn’t define us, but they do give us an important indicator of our progress, and when you are trying to lose weight, I think that does matter.

    • Sara says:

      A lot of what I’m thinking has been said but I’ll rehash what I’m thinking….for fun :)

      I think talking about the healthy steps we’re taking as part of our journey is a hugely important part of the blog (what we’ve tried, what’s working, what’s not working etc) but the idea of information-based posts (about different types of ‘diets’ or videos or things I can google) doesn’t appeal to me. I’m hear to connect with other people who are struggling with their weight: if I want information about healthy living there are plenty of podcasts and blogs and books about it. If the information is shared as part of one person’s journey then I think that’s fantastic.

      I agree strongly with Shona that we can’t just ignore the scale. It’s important to focus on non-scale victories like measurements and clothes and fitness goals (endurance or strength levels) but I think there needs to be accountability for all of us, even if you choose for it to be working out three times a week or logging your calories every single day. And still getting on the scale. It may not be moving (which it frequently doesn’t for me) but that’s my indicator that I need to increase my exercise or change my eating habits or do something (anything) to shake things up.

      Weight loss is not easy. Losing almost 50 lbs, taking up running, personal training: it’s been hugely rewarding and at the same time a MASSIVE pain in the butt. I have never worked so hard for something that came with so many challenges and sacrifices. But I want to hear about it: the reasons why its working/not working, the things you’re telling yourself (when its working or not working, why it’s a priority (or not). I want to hear the truthful story about what’s going, warts and all. I like the format we have and I’d like to keep it, with the people we have, but hear more about their journey’s even if its not necessarily the path they’d intended to take.

  15. Lara says:

    Wow oh wow.

    I am so glad that so many people have so many opinions.

    I am so glad that people feel connected to the community.

    I think that maybe I made it seem like everything had to be all or nothing. I certainly never meant that suddenly the blog would be all recipes and book reviews without the personal aspects of things. I imagined that I would tell you how I want to try going to the next roller derby open house and how that went. I imagined telling you that I’ve been using a meal planning calendar that has been helping actually cook more food from scratch and get through my shopping more easily. I imagined telling you about the things that make me feel happier about me and my body (like the post about fitting into my husband’s hoodie). I just want to be able to take out the guilt of not losing weight. Of pretending I may actually expect to lose weight when clearly I’m being healthier, but I’m on more of a maintenance plan than a weight loss plan.

    I’d LIKE to keep sharing the stuff I’m doing with you, in the same way I’ve shared everything else with you – I just want it to be more fun. Right now, every post is an exercise in “oh god – I have to admit it, AGAIN” because unlike some of the others, trying to lose weight is no longer high enough on my priority list. I’m ok with that. I’m willing to admit that.

    I’m also willing, should I continue, to be accountable to the blog on a semi regular basis with my weight. I would LIKE for the weight to drop off, but I really WANT is to make sure I don’t start gaining weight back.

    But just because this is what *I* want doesn’t mean that some of the others wouldn’t continue on just the way they always have been.

    I *think* from what I’ve read today that you guys are generally saying that you’d still want to hear from me if that’s what I decided to do. Same with the other bloggers. But that you hope there are at least some that are on the real weight loss path.

    If that’s the case, I’m happy with that.

    • Shona says:

      Yes! Excellent! :) I would like to say that maintaining weight is something to be proud of, just as much as losing. Neither are easy, and both are things I want to read about since I hope to one day be someone who is working to maintain a certain weight as well. I am so glad we are not losing you (was there a pun in there somewhere?). :)

  16. kerry says:

    I read a number of different blogs (I’m single, I live alone, I have the manic need to be on the net while watching TV). One of my favourites is http://www.tminus-tplus.com/. It’s written by a professional woman of a certain size. She shows you her outfit of the day (and all the trials that sometimes go into it) and what she ate. I find it rather interesting. Imagine if you did that, or some combination of that, for Ottawa women of a certain size. My day, unvarnished, what I ate and how cool I looked. And, or, the fact that I ate 4900 calories and wore pyjamas all day (I’m looking at you, Sara).

    I think I’ve said this a few times on the blog, but weight loss is a really long journey. Some people never lose a lot of weight, but they get a lot more healthy by embracing fitness. That’s a whole other journey. Both of them have their ups and downs, and both of them are interesting.

    I have noticed that most of the bloggers are struggling these days. That’s part of the journey.

    If I were you guys, I’d try to mix up the blog a little by partnering with, yanno, the Athletic Club, the Running Room, a Chi Running instructor, a physio, etc, and having those experts blog for you. Or do a little video. What are you going through that’s helping you? Maintenance is harder than weight loss, apparently, so what are you learning on that part of your journey?

    Just my two cents.

  17. Pingback: Getting over a plateau requires rejigging, rethinking your approach | Losing It In Ottawa

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