At a time when it seems that someone is blogging about every facet of life, 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 to see page after page of listings emerge.
Some blogs are written by medical professionals, but most come from people who want to share their success in shedding pounds.
Here are the stories behind three blogs that can inform, entertain and perhaps even inspire your own weight loss efforts. Look for more on weight loss bloggers in future Lean Plate Club columns.
Dietgirl (www.dietgirl.org) 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 blog. Now at the goal set for her -- half her previous body weight -- Reid has not only gone public, but her book "The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl" is slated for U.S. publishing this year.
Reid, daughter of a Weight Watchers group leader in Canberra, Australia, 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 eating 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."
Disease Proof (www.diseaseproof.com) 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 publishing company. The company teamed him with physician Dr. 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 the blog on their own.
Pugliese says his diet epiphany came one day while he was writing about healthy eating and noshing on fried Chinese take-out. That's when he started following the tips that Furhman espoused: a mostly vegetarian diet and plenty of exercise. Since he started the regimen in 2007, he's 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 (www.dropthefork.net) By day, Deborah Kosnett, 55, is an accountant in Washington, D.C. By night, she writes Drop the Fork, a weight-loss blog that she began in March 2005 after reaching her Weight Watchers goal. She's maintained her blog -- and her weight -- ever since.
A bike that was a present from her husband helped launch her on her successful weight-loss quest. The larger seat on the bike kept her derriere comfortable while she discovered how much she loved biking. The bike was long ago retired and Kosnett has 10,000 miles on her latest model. She has also taken up inline skating.
She blogs mostly to share her experiences with others who may think that weight loss is too difficult, if not impossible, 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 to say that this is a lifelong journey and that the losing-weight phase is practice for the rest of your life."
You can subscribe to the free Lean Plate Club e-mail newsletter at www.leanplateclub.com. Sally Squires is a writer for the Washington Post.