It’s the holidays. In a stunning display of counterintuitive thinking, my husband and I have started a diet and exercise program.
Well, I say “a program,” but the truth is, our respective approaches to fitness and health are rather different. He’s doing the Power90 fitness video series, and bought “Glycemic Index Dieting for Dummies” (I swear to God I’m not making that up. Click the link. It’s for reals.)
My plan is to DVR episodes of “Shimmy” on Fit TV, and try to eat fewer deep fried tortilla chips at Los Aztecas. And El Nopal. And Tumbleweed…
So you may be asking yourself “What does this have to do with online community?” (Possibly. Or you may be asking yourself “Why is she not several hundred pounds after eating that many deep fried tortilla chips?” The answer to the latter is “Fast metabolism – I haz it.”)
The secret sauce in hubby’s weight loss plan? He’s started up a “Biggest Loser” competition at his workplace, and he’s going to be using the online forums associated with his workout videos. In other words, he’s enlisting the Peer Pressure of two communities; one that exists in “real life” and the other of which exists online.
My boss has gotten a lot of attention (from Quaker Oats, no less) for coming up with a fairly simple idea: letting people on Twitter encourage each other by using a “hash tag” to keep track of little choices they make during the day to live healthier. Twit2Fit has expanded to a Ning community of over 200 members, but it’s still based on the same simple idea. You’re more likely to stick to a fitter lifestyle if other people are encouraging you (or shaming you, if you FAIL.)
Another coworker has been chronicling his journey to fitness on his blog. His readers and commentors provide a community of support to keep him going, and he provides an inspiring success story to them. It’s win-win.
Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong.com took over my favorite online diet and fitness community site, TheDailyPlate.com, and integrated the entire community into the Livestrong.com site.
It was a pretty good example of how a site that is mostly user-generated content (The Daily Plate and it’s associated forums and journals) can complement and be enhanced by professionally-crafted content. Livestrong.com and TheDailyPlate are a more powerful resource for healthy living together than either one was apart.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go master something called a “Cabaret Shimmy.” I’ll be darned if I let those nachos beat me.