Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Review: Half Size Me Community
I reviewed the Half Size Me podcast back in September. Heather's podcasts have become some of my favorites to listen to while running -- there is just so much good information, and I find Heather's interviewing style very engaging.
To get a little more content, I decided to sign up for the newsletter for three months. Every week, it sends out a link to a Half Size Me Community meeting, some bonus audio, and other premium content.
When I signed up, I sent a question about something in my welcome email, and found out that it was referring to the community instead, and that I had gotten an email I wasn't supposed to get. I was offered a chance to try the community for a month and see if I would like to upgrade.
I had been thinking for a while that I might enjoy the meetings, so I decided to sign up. Even though I haven't been able to make any of the regular meetings, as someone close to my weight goal I was invited to join the "Maintenance Mastermind" meeting on Monday. I used to do virtual meetings all the time for my previous job, and the Fuze meeting software that Heather and her husband used to set this up was miles ahead of what I remembered from those days (more than five years ago). I was a little distracted by trying to look good for the camera, but I found the group of people very supportive and welcoming, even though I have quite a ways to get to my goal. I have maintained about 30 of my original 60-pound weight loss (I estimate that my highest weight was around 215), and have recently gotten down another 7, but I still have almost 23 more to go. I was afraid the maintainers wouldn't want someone like me there, but they were very friendly.
The community membership also includes private Facebook group, which is very well-traveled, and a slightly clunky, somewhat-less-used Ning site with resources, forums, and blog posts. Extra audio content is stored on Ning for download. The Ning software feels a bit dated, but it works fine. Of course, there is also the Half Size Me website, where Heather posts her weekly menus and where users can subscribe to the premium content.
I have enjoyed the extra support, though I'm still getting to know the community members. There seem to be a lot of them, some of whom have been with Heather since she started the community.
I think there is a nice logical progression here from the free content -- the podcast -- to a low-cost premium newsletter, to a premium community that helps make the whole model sustainable. If it were not for the premium content, I am sure that Heather could not continue to produce her podcast without ads for third-party products that might compromise her vision.
What I have appreciated most in the podcast, the newsletter, and the community is a sustainable vision of maintenance. There are not a lot of maintenance bloggers around, and many of the ones I have found follow a very regimented plan, something I wouldn't find to work for me. Heather does not believe in all-or-nothing thinking. She still eats dessert. She follows a fairly ambitious exercise program, but enjoys it. She has also tackled the emotional side of weight loss, and discusses it quite frequently, especially the need for boundaries.
Avoiding all-or-nothing thinking has helped me to track consistently and has led to my recent weight-loss success. I don't scrap the whole day (or week) just because I'm over my calories. That makes a big difference.
Though much of the audio content I enjoy is available through the newsletter, the community adds a little extra accountability that I like, so I'm planning to stick with it. At $18 a month, it's a bargain compared to other support communities like Weight Watchers, and it has the benefit of letting me use my own plan.
"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07