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Losing weight with Twitter

February 22, 2012

I found out about this technique, fittingly enough, on Twitter.  Felice Freyer from the Providence Journal retweeted this message-

@felicejfreyer I love this. MT @romenesko: New York Times’s Brian Stelter tweeted everything he ate, lost 90 lbs. bit.ly/xyxQZ8

The story is, NY Times media reporter Brian Stelter looked at himself in 2010 and decided he needed to lose a lot of weight. But how? He set a goal of 25 pounds and committed to reporting everything he ate on Twitter. This accomplished two things- public accountability to meet his weight lose goals and a way to document and later count his calories.  That goal of 25 pounds morphed into 50 and eventually about 90 pounds. It worked.

Stelter recently spoke on WGBH about the experiment and Jim Romenesko transcribed this portion, where Stelter explains why using Twitter was successful when other diet techniques failed.

This time, by having it on Twitter, both my friends and family — as well as strangers — would hold me accountable. So if I did screw up and if I did have too many cookies, I’d hear about it from people on Twitter, and I needed that constant reinforcement because you really are fighting against both yourself and also society when you’re trying to lose weight, and I needed that reinforcement all the time.

I’m tempted to try this technique. I’ve gained 10 pounds since I got married a year and a half ago and some of my clothes don’t fit anymore. But wouldn’t it get annoying for people who follow me on Twitter? Brian Stelter says he created a separate account- @brianstelter25 and lightly promoted it to friends and family who could encourage him to eat right.

Since the experiment, Stelter has gained back about 20 pounds so he’s heading back to Twitter. His latest tweet?

Hello @romenesko readers. I’m trying to tweet here more often!

That’s from yesterday. Follow Stelter if you want to offer some encouragement. In the meantime, would you consider doing this? Would it be too tempting to leave out those rare late night binges or the extra cookie? I’ll let you know if I dare to follow Stelter’s lead. I’ll need some followers.

Also, if you want to read Stelter’s own account of his Twitter weight lose journey, you can read it here.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2012 5:25 pm

    Accountability is good, but I wouldn’t rely on it exclusively unless I had a good understanding of nutrition & exercise. I have lost weight using Weight Watchers, and think that is an excellent program.

    • February 23, 2012 11:03 am

      Hi Robert- Did you include any type of transparency in your weight watchers regime? I know I have a calorie counter that shares your eating habits with other members.

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