A little over 26 weeks ago I posted my first blog in a new challenge. It was titled, appropriately enough, “The Challenge” and it detailed the idea and rules behind my new undertaking. I was about to attempt to write 52 new blog posts in 52 weeks. They could be about anything, but must be a real post with a main idea and they must post each Monday for 52 straight weeks. I wanted to have a theme and I chose my journey into weight loss and cycling, but as part of the rules I wasn’t allowed to only focus on those two topics. So far I have been doing fairly well abiding by the rules, both the letter and spirit of them as I post each week.
This is post 29 of 52. I had wanted to write a sort of “State of the Blog” post for week 26 but some other things happened and I cared more about writing about my failed ride and some of the lessons learned while they were still fresh in my mind. I also wanted to post about the Tour de France at least once while it was still ongoing. That pushed this out until week 29 but the other topics seemed more interesting and important in the long run.
I also put off the post a couple of weeks because I hoped to have reached another milestone in my weight loss journey. I had wanted to report a nice round number for the post and I almost got there. I managed to hit 88 pounds lost but I wasn’t able to get the last two off. Not yet. I am actually a little ahead of schedule in that I am still losing weight at a great clip and I haven’t struggled with too many plateaus. I have reached the point where I am starting to have to change my routine because my body had adapted to the last one so it was becoming less effective. It is time to add running, a little bit of strength training, and a whole new focus on nutrition. I had been focusing too much on drinking a Slimfast and not enough on learning how to eat right, that needs to change.
There needs to be a change on the blog as well, but more on that in a minute. First I want to look back a bit and see how far we have come from first signing up and starting the challenge. This is post 29 of the challenge, but according to the WordPress Statistics page this will be blog number 42. It’s fitting that I am looking back now as this number is important to any Douglas Adams fan. 42 posts are more than I had thought about writing, and really I am as surprised as anyone else that we have gotten that far. Both the blog and the weight loss have gone better and further than I had dreamed when I started. Somehow there are over 25 fellow bloggers following this blog, and I would like to thank each of them. Knowing you have 20 readers each week is pretty amazing. Speaking of amazing, each week the blog gets publicized each week to an astounding 669 followers and 383 people on Facebook that have like the blog’s page. I really can’t thank everyone who takes the time to check in each week enough. It is a good part of the reason that I write a post each week.
There have been some popular posts and there have been some that have struggled to get views, and that is okay. It’s hard to see on the stats page which was the most or least viewed because the most recent always shows up as the home page and that page is always listed with the most views. It seems like my best month was back in February and we have been holding pretty steady since then. There has been a dip since March but that is when I went back to work. I think that has had the biggest impact as I used to spend a part of each day writing or trying to publicize the blog. Now I concentrate on getting my weekly post written and hope that you come and read it. It’s not the best set up for success.
Now there are a few challenges left in the year. I would like to get to 100 or, even better my ultimate goal of 135 pounds lost. I am running in the Rugged Maniac New England race, riding my first century, riding two more charity rides, and still writing another 23 blog posts. I also want to try to push the blog to new heights, or at least get it off the ground. I need some feedback but I have a few ideas on how to do this. The first idea is that I want to know how people would feel about posting “reruns” on Thursdays. These could be posts from 6 months ago or posts written for other blogs. I also want to see if I can find someone to work on the visual theme of the site. Ideally this would be done for free, barter, or cheap. This is something that I am not very adept at but I would like something personal to the blog and fairly professional. I also need to find a way to promote the blog better. I have tried in fits and starts since going back to work but it really needs a more focused approach, even if it is for an hour or two a day. Heck, even if it were for 15 minutes a day!
Finally I am thinking about what to do next. We are more than halfway through the challenge and I am learning a few new things. The first is there are a ton of people on the same type of journey that I am on. People are blogging about losing weight and having various degrees of success. There are another group of writers that are bigger athletes trying to get back into shape. All of share the common issue that most of the fitness blogs are focused on people who are fit or are most of the way to finishing their journey. There are very few places to inspire those of us who are still on the heavy side of the journey. I would love to change that. I would like to get other bloggers who are sharing this journey to write for or contribute to one site where we could start a positive community for all of us who are overweight and working to lose it. Would anyone be interested in something like that?
So, that’s where we are and where we are going. Anyone have any thoughts? Any ideas of what you would like me to write about? Feel free to let me know in the comments if you like the idea of the motivational community site or if there is anything else about the blog you want to talk about! It’s the halfway point and a great time to talk about all of this.
Most importantly, thanks for coming by and reading what I have to say each Monday!