Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stretching it Forward - the Positive Power of Facebook

In general, Facebook has been a very positive force in my life.  I can't place a number or a value on the many relationships I have rekindled, developed or strengthened by electronically eavesdropping on some 540 people.  I know many complain about it being a time-sucker or all the negativity some people throw on their wall or the hurtful comments or snarky political rants or raunchy pictures but honestly I guess I just don't have that kind of friends.  It's a rare occasion when something offensive crops up and I love hearing about the small joys and wonder of my friends' lives.

About 6 months ago I stepped on a scale at a doctor's office and was appalled and embarrassed.  I knew in my heart it's nearly impossible to have 8 full-term pregnancies and not gain some weight but it came time to admit that our magic number is most likely 13 and so from here on out, I have nobody but me to blame.  I started a diet and lost about 30 pounds within about 3 months.  Eventually I was able to add in an exercise program called T-Tapp (nothing special about the name - it's named for its founder Teresa Tapp).  I've been listening to my cyber friends regale me with success stories for years and it was time for me to give it the good post post-partem try.  It promises to drop clothing sizes and over-all inches with just 15 minutes of low impact stretching and core exercises a day.  It frankly sounded too good to be true but I figured I could do 15 minutes a day of anything - heck, I spend more than that on Facebook...

Facebook!  It occurred to me as I was getting my start, that the most motivating thing I could do to kick-start this exercise journey is humiliate myself to 500-some of my closest friends.   Every day I started posting just one line - "T-Tapp done" or "bored to tears with exercising but did it anyway" or "I'm amazing I actually T-Tapped and showered this morning" sprinkled with the occasional "flog me now, haven't tapped in 3 days" and before long I had a long list of people following my progress.  I got 5- 20 "likes" a day on my stupid little posts with tons of encouraging comments from my e-cheerleaders.  Then a funny thing happened.  Other people became motivated to do something for themselves.  I don't even know how many people my posts inspired to get on treadmills, running shoes or give T-Tapp a whirl but I suspect the ones I know of are not the sum total of the power of FB to motivate and encourage.

I am still T-Tapping but I no longer need the self-deprecating comments to motivate.  It is in my body now and the conditioning of my muscles has become its own motivation.  I do need to get back onto the less food is better wagon but I've never been able to handle more than one large self-help project at a time so I'm giving myself a break.  In the meantime, I've been paying it forward by cheering on a few of my friends who are getting started on their own journeys.  But, sorry friends, I haven't been spending quite so much time on Facebook lately now that my body is raring to go do more than tap at a keyboard.  I will encourage those I can when I can because your support has been invaluable to the improvement of my health and because I love you and what you are doing to help yourselves!  To all those who have motivated and been motivated, I thank you all from the very bottom of my tuck, tucked bum!