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Podcasting for Weight Loss

Anna Farmery is the founder of The Engaging Brand, a company that coaches individuals and companies on how improving motivation can boost your personal success and in terms of companies, bottom line results. She is 41 years old and a recognised speaker based in the North of England. Anna and a well known podcaster will be speaking at this year's Podcasting Expo in California.

I asked her how podcasting and blogging helped her make lifestyle changes and lose 35 pounds (16 kilos)

I started on 6 January 2007. I find it difficult to exercise too much as I have some knee and breathing problems so I have had to focus on eating well, and basically eating less calories then you are using. I am very focused, I have not had one treat in the time because I know that I could not stop at one treat. Over time I now don't even think about desserts, sweets... if I had to put it down to one thing then I would say the accountability which comes from blogging and podcasting the story.

How does having the support of other weight loss bloggers help?

I would not have lost this weight without working with Heather Gorringe who is another blogger and podcaster. We had commented on each others blog and then Heather asked if I wanted to join her on a diet. This was really strange dieting with someone that you had only met once! But through this blog and podcast I feel I have found a true friend for life. The best part of Middle Age Shed is that you have full accountability....you are making a very public commitment and we report our weight on the podcast each Saturday. The blogging keeps you focused each and every day.

What are podcasts and how do they help in your weight loss journey?

We weigh in and record the weigh in on a Saturday. On that show we also discuss how we are feeling and also support each other. The show is really a coffee morning - with no cakes! - for people to pop in and enjoy our banter. Although we do cover our emotions we like to laugh a lot and enjoy the journey. Midweek we post a show which often records an interview with our diet coach, or an interview with a listener, or when one of us needs re-motivating. The show is superb to keep you focused as you know that you are going to have to report your weight on the web and you don't want to embarrass yourself with a huge weight gain. I cannot think of a better diet partner as Heather is so open, incredibly funny and her energy motivates me more than anything else.

What do you say to yourself when you are tempted to overeat?

I focus on what I will look like once I have lost the weight. I see myself, enjoying myself, beautifully slim and say "What do you want Anna, that chocolate bar or that picture... which do you want more?" The answer is easy for me. I smile once I have put the chocolate bar down to reinforce the positive feeling inside of me. People often say they are amazed at my discipline, but I don't see it as discipline I see it as wanting to be slim more than having a short term treat.

Have you had issues with stress or emotional eating?

Yes, I do tend to eat more if I feel stressed. The way round this for me has been to increase my walking. When I walk I relax and get things back into perspective, it also burns calories so a win-win.

In what ways have your attitudes, thoughts or beliefs changed during this weight loss journey?

I have definitely enjoyed food more. I look forward to my meals and believe that enjoy the taste more, rather than just "getting it down my neck!" I have also learned to value myself more, I had let myself go and it had definitely knocked my confidence. Losing weight has improved my desire to socialise more, enjoy my clothes more and to think more positively about myself. I don't believe you NEED to be slim to be happy, but for me I have more confidence when I look in the mirror.

Have you eliminated any foods or food groups or do you still eat unhealthy foods in moderation?

I do not have a real sweet tooth, my downfall is cheese and savoury food. I know to grate my cheese rather than take a huge slice! And I eat a lot slower to enjoy the taste. I have also used savoury to give myself a treat rather than it be a stable part of my diet.

What is the reasoning behind establishing Widow's Quest?

Grief is something that affects us all at some time in our lives and I wanted to reach out and support other people who were suffering from depression, loneliness etc. I wanted to not only post about the feelings but write in a way that helps people and gives people hope that there is happiness out there. I have a burning desire to help people, it is in my makeup and Widow's Quest is a way of giving back to a world that has been very good to me.

What changes have you noticed other than weight loss?

It sounds strange but the most important difference has been mobility. Getting in and out of cars, climbing stairs, turning over in bed...I hadn't realised how much my weight was preventing my everyday movement. The other area as I mentioned before has been my self-confidence, I feel better about myself and more confident going out and socialising.

Top 5 tips for making lifestyle changes?

  1. Have a clear picture in your mind of what success will look like...keep it at the forefront especially when faced with temptation
  2. Involve your friends and explain what you are trying to achieve and ask for their support
  3. In terms of eating, reduce your plate size. I have exchanged my very large dinner plate with a small plate, this has been a huge factor
  4. Celebrate your progress along the way. Heather is wonderful she praises me all the time which provides motivation for the following week
  5. Don't see it as giving things up but gaining a new life.

What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when attempting to lose weight?

They don't listen to Middle Age Shed! Seriously, I think they punish themselves too much and forget to enjoy the journey. I break down my total weight loss into manageable 3 lbs chunks and celebrate each "chunk" of 3lbs that I lose...this way I feel the achievement all the time

You can visit any of Anna's blogs and podcasts for more information:
The Engaging Brand with podcast for business leaders and managers
Widow’s Quest for dealing with loss and grief
Podcast Freq - podcasting for the non geek
Middle Age Shed for those who want to diet and change their lives
Women in Podcasting to encourage women to get more involved in social media
Mabel and Harry a motivational business story each day

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