One such inspiration is the amazing Katie, of Runs for Cookies. I happened across Katie's blog a fair few years ago after encountering her writing on Sparkpeople, a healthy living site. She is a great writer and a true inspiration. In August of 2009 she tipped the scales at 253 pounds and decided that she wanted to make some big lifestyle changes to have her happier and healthier. Over the course of 16 months she managed to lose an incredible 125 pounds through diet and exercise. Now her lovely blog is a record of her life, her workouts, her running, and her quest for yummy, healthy meals. I'm such a fan and was delighted when Katie agreed to take part!
|L-R: Cookie, Katie :) (picture kindly supplied by Katie Foster)|
How long have you been blogging?
I started blogging in 2000, but it was on a small, private site. In 2011, I started Runs for Cookies on Blogger, and I had no idea how big the blogging world was until then!
What do you blog about? Do you have a specific goal with your blog (i.e. reviewing products, promoting a business, transitioning into a writing / media / digital career), or is it more a record of your life?
I blog about my day-to-day life. I've always enjoyed keeping a journal (or "diary" when I was a kid!) and it's fun to look back and see what my day was like several years ago. I don't really have a purpose in mind when I blog, other than to document my life as it happens. I never knew that bloggers could earn money, but that's a nice little bonus!
|Katie with friends she met through her fab blog (picture kindly supplied by Katie Foster)|
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Meeting new people! I've met some amazing people because of my blog, and have become really great friends with them. I've even traveled to visit friends around the country, which is awesome. I've seen parts of the country I never would have seen otherwise.
What is your least favourite thing about blogging?
Dealing with negative comments. I try to keep my blog an honest place where I can just rehash my day, but some people just love to say mean things. I've learned that no matter what I write, there will be people who disagree--and that's okay. It's just hard to read the comments where people say mean things about me when they don't even really know me. I will never understand why they read my blog if they don't enjoy it! Haha. I'm a nice person--honest! ;)
Do you have any favourite posts on your blog – pieces you’re really proud of, which document something special, or which seemed to strike a chord with your readers?
One of my most popular posts is The Difference Between Motivation and Determination. A lot of people want to know how to stay motivated when trying to lose weight. I wasn't always motivated either, but I was very determined--and there is a big difference. Determination is when your mind is already made up--there is no question about whether or not you will do it. Motivation is temporary, and it comes and goes.
Whose blogs do you love? I’m always looking for recommendations.
Honestly, I don't read many blogs at all these days. I used to read a ton of them, but ever since I started working on my own blog, I try to limit my time online.
|Katie at an event (picture kindly supplied by Katie Foster)|
What has been the most surprising moment in your blogging career so far?
Getting invited to travel to a blogging event, with expenses paid. That was SO surprising to me that I thought it was a scam. Why would someone pay for me to travel somewhere and write a post about it? I learned that bloggers are cheap advertisers ;) Companies could spend millions of dollars on advertising, or a few thousand by inviting bloggers on an event in the hopes that they enjoy it enough to write about it. It's very smart on their part! I've done several trips now, and I am still surprised and honored each time I am invited.
I find your weight loss incredibly inspiring - what tips do you have for others seeking to make a lifestyle change in this way (apart from reading your hugely helpful blog, of course!)?
My number one piece of advice is always this: Don't make any changes you're not willing to live with forever! When I first started losing weight, I decided that I was going to do things MY way--not following the rules of someone else's plan. I made changes that I could manage, and continue for the long haul. I didn't live off of salad and grilled fish, while working out six days a week, because that wasn't something I wanted to do forever. I basically lost the weight by following a maintenance plan.
|Katie before and after her amazing transformation (picture kindly supplied by Katie Foster)|
Do you have any online resources you find especially helpful for living healthfully?
I've been counting calories and using My Fitness Pal to keep a food log--it has been awesome! The food database is huge. I also use Garmin Connect to keep track of my running. I'm a numbers person, and I love to see all the data from my runs. SparkPeople has some really great success stories, and I loved to read those while I was losing weight.
What tips do you have for bloggers growing and nurturing their blogs?
My advice would be: don't write what you think people want to read; write what YOU enjoy writing about. When I first started Runs for Cookies, I had no idea that it would grow the way it did. It terrified me--I was used to having this tiny little corner of the web with about 10 readers, and seeing the numbers grow was actually scary. Some days, I really miss having that tiny, intimate blog, because the more my blog readership grows, the less I feel comfortable sharing (which is kind of a shame). There are always going to be people who agree with you and people who disagree with you, so just be yourself and don't let other people influence the way you write.
Thank you so much for taking part, Katie, and thanks for your super blog too. You are a gem!