Thursday, August 19, 2004

Weight Loss WriterÂ’s New YearÂ’s Resolution Winds Up for 2003, but Skinnydaily. com Will Keep On for 2004

Weight Loss WriterÂ’s New YearÂ’s Resolution Winds Up for 2003, but Skinnydaily. com Will Keep On for 2004

(PRWEB) December 11, 2003 -- Julie Ridl began writing www. skinnydaily. com as her 2003 resolution. Her intent: Write a daily support essay for people working hard to lose weight and get fit. “Morbid obesity is scary and lonely,” says Ridl. “Most obese people have lost control not so much of their eating as their ability to prioritize their own health over other demands.” Thousands of daily subscribers and visitors are great, but to keep the doors open in 2004, Ridl needs a little help.

Grand Rapids, MI (PRWEB) December 11, 2003

What began as a year-long pro bono project for writer Julie Ridl, 43, of Holland, Michigan, has become “another job. A fascinating, important, but exhausting job. Or maybe a mission, to give obese people hope that they can regain their health, all by themselves.”

She began writing The Skinny Daily Post (www. skinnydaily. com) in early 2003, as a New YearÂ’s resolution. Her intent: to write a daily support essay for friends and family who were working hard to lose weight and get fit.

“Morbid obesity is a scary and lonely condition,” says Ridl. “And most people who have it are people who have lost control not so much of their eating, as their ability to prioritize their own health over other demands in life.”

Ridl decided the pro bono project would work as “good karmic payback” to all the people online and off who supported and taught her during her year of losing weight and regaining her health. Ridl lost a little over 100 lbs. herself in early 2002. “I was a little hard to live with during that time, and I felt the strong need to repay my debt to society,” she jokes.

At the end of 2002, she began helping a handful of friends and family members by sending them regular emails, sharing what sheÂ’d learned about maintaining focus, changing behaviors, encouraging and coaching their own losses, keeping her fitness journal in the form of emails.

As her list grew, she began to look for ways to manage the work. A long-time web developer and writer, Ridl decided to use free “blogging” software and email publishing services to post and publish her daily columns, making them available for free to anyone who wanted or needed daily support and dieting counsel.

“I thought maybe 50 friends and relatives would sign up,” says Ridl, who now maintains the website and email edition of The Skinny Daily Post, which has thousands of subscribers and thousands more daily visits to the site’s archives of more than 300 columns. “But I was surprised, and then delighted, and then a little bit afraid.”

When MSNBC’s blospotting column brought traffic to her site and New York Times technology writer Amy Harmon contacted Ridl for a front-page article about the phenomenon of diet blogs back in August, Ridl realized she had struck some kind of nerve. “And then the agents called,” Says Ridl. “It’s a little freaky when someone tells you William Morris is on the line.”

Ridl struck up a relationship with agent Coleen OÂ’Shea, who already represents fitness and nutrition writers Jonny Bowden and Yale Professor Kelly D. Brownell. OÂ’Shea is busy developing a publishing deal for gathering RidlÂ’s columns and ideas into book form.

Tribune Media ServiceÂ’s NewsCom. com now offers RidlÂ’s columns for syndication from their web service.

And that’s all good, but what Ridl likes to point to is mail from Tanya in Washington D. C., who has lost 57 pounds, has 33 to go, and relies on skinnydaily. com to keep her “head in the game.” And mail from Kat in Wales, who has taken up exercising with her dogs every day, and from a reader in Brazil who appreciates Ridl’s treatise on shopping for new underwear after a significant weight loss. And from the teenage Dan, who’s working hard at losing his last bit of extra weight before entering college in the Fall. And from a reader who’s never eaten his vegetables, but now eats green beans, cauliflower, and grows his own lettuce, thanks to skinnydaily. com.

WhatÂ’s next?

“Well, this site was only supposed to last a year,” says Ridl. “My plan was to pick a new pro bono project for 2004, and preferably one that wouldn’t cost me quite so much time.”

But Ridl receives hundreds of unanswerable emails asking her not to “shut the door.”

“So I’m looking for a home,” she says. “The Skinny Daily Post needs a good home, where traffic is no issue, where its content can remain available for free to anyone who needs it, with a host willing to sponsor the email editions.”

Despite the mammoth writing project behind her, Ridl’s willing to keep on writing. “You’d think I would have exhausted the subject by now, but you’d be surprised.”

ItÂ’s the maintenance work and cost of publication that has gotten out of hand.

Until The Skinny Daily Post finds its new home, the doors will remain open at www. skinnydaily. com. Web publishers and editors interested in hosting the Post can write to Ridl at info@skinnydaily. com.

# # #