Need Encouragement to Shed Some Pounds? Blogs May Help.

Shauna Reid, before and after her 175-pound loss.
Shauna Reid, before and after her 175-pound loss. (Photos Provided By Shauna Reid)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Sally Squires
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shauna Reid, Gerry Pugliese and Deborah Kosnett don't seem to have much in common. They've never met and live in cities hundreds of miles apart. But they share one activity that has changed their lives: blogging about weight loss.

In an era when almost everyone seems to be making what was once thought personal public on blogs, it should come as no surprise that there are a growing number of diet bloggers. No official count exists, but type "weight-loss blogs" into Google, Yahoo or other search engines, and page after page of listings emerge.

There are low-fat and low-carb approaches and everything in between. Some of these blogs are written by medical professionals. But most are penned by those who have simply struggled to shed pounds and finally discovered a path to success that they now want to share. There's former Fat Guy Rob Cooper, who lost 300 pounds, and the Skinny Daily Post, which documents the once-obese "JuJu,"whose real name is Julie Ridl. Ridl, who lives in Michigan, trimmed about 100 pounds and writes about her successful quest to maintain that loss.

Here are the stories behind three bloggers whose common-sense approach can inform and entertain you, and perhaps even inspire your own weight-loss efforts. Look for more on such bloggers from time to time in future Lean Plate Club columns.

The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl

Shauna Reid burst into tears when she tipped the scales at 350 pounds at a Weight Watchers meeting in January 2001. "They told me I needed to lose half my body weight. I just cried and cried because I realized that it was going to take this miracle, superhuman effort. No one was going to rescue me, except me."

From that low point, Reid, now 30, created The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl, a then-anonymous blog about her personal odyssey to reach a healthier weight. Now having lost half her weight, Reid not only has gone public, but her book "The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl" is slated to be published by Avon this year.

The daughter of a Weight Watchers group leader in Canberra, Australia, Reid knew from childhood how to eat right, but she had trouble putting that knowledge into practice. At college, she ballooned to more than 300 pounds.

Reid lost about 80 pounds during her first year on Weight Watchers, then drifted from the strict program and began just trying to eat sensibly. She regained 40 pounds but then settled on an 80/20 approach, where most of the time she watches what she eats carefully, but 20 percent of the time lets herself ease up. That approach, plus plenty of exercise, has enabled her to lose 175 pounds.

Despite her success, Reid continues blogging daily. "I do blogging for accountability," says Reid, who has lived in Scotland since 2003. "If you stop blogging, people assume that you are lying in a bag of chips. . . . I want to be living proof that you can do this."


After college, Gerry Pugliese, 27, of Somerville, N.J., landed a stressful job with long hours that proved to be a bad fit. Short on time, Pugliese stopped exercising and found relief in food. He soon added 60 pounds to his 5-foot-5 frame. "I kind of collapsed inward," he says. "All my healthy habits went out the window."

Then he landed a job writing about health, diet and fitness for a blog publisher. The company teamed him with physician Joel Fuhrman to produce a blog on health, including a mostly vegetarian diet. When the company was acquired by another firm, Pugliese and Fuhrman continued their blog, DiseaseProof, on their own.

Pugliese says his diet epiphany came while writing a blog on healthful eating and noshing on fried Chinese takeout. That's when he started following the tips that Furhman espoused: eating a mostly vegetable-based diet and getting plenty of exercise. Since he started the regimen in 2007, he has lost 60 pounds and now does yoga, lifts weights and trains for 5K runs. "I'm your average guy," Pugliese says. "And I can make it work."

Drop the Fork

By day, Deborah Kosnett, 55, is a certified public accountant for a Washington firm. By night, she writes Drop the Fork, a blog that she began in March 2005 after reaching her Weight Watchers goal.

A "comfort bike" that was a gift from her husband helped launch her on her weight-loss quest. The larger seat kept her derriere comfortable while she discovered how much she loved biking. That bike is long ago retired, and Kosnett has put 10,000 miles on her latest model.

She blogs mostly to share her experience with others who may think that weight loss is too difficult -- if not impossible -- to achieve in middle age. "I'm really trying to persuade the person who is sitting on the fence about trying to lose weight again that they can do it this time," she says. "I'm trying say that this is a lifelong journey and that the losing-weight phase is practice for the rest of your life."

© 2008 The Washington Post Company