Fitness and Weight Loss – a once toxic and hostile forum, slowly evolved into a supportive community with nearly 10,000 followers. A group that I proudly own and have managed for two years.
For the past couple of years, I’ve run a fitness group on an adult website. When I took the group over as owner, it had 6500 members from around the globe. With a lot of hard work, I managed to weed out the toxic people who offered nothing of value to the conversations. As a bystander, it was extremely frustrating to see every discussion go sideways. A simple question about food would result in constant bickering back and forth. Which I guess is pretty typical in most online communities.
I was thrilled when the group voted me in as the new moderator. The first thing I did was cleaned out the trolls and trouble makers. It was a lot of work.
The group had been running for several years without an active mod – and it turned into one of the most toxic groups I had ever been part of. But like many of the members who actively participated in discussions, I had a reason for being there.
I wanted to learn and absorb as much information as I possibly could.
Fast-forward to about six months later. People were thrilled with the way I had taken the group over. A group that was once a vile place full of ridicule and hostility, had painstakingly evolved into a support group of nearly 10,000 followers from around the globe. But not without receiving trials and tribulations.
There were of course, many disgruntled trouble-makers who put up a big stink when I inherited the group. Even now, all these years later, these guys occasionally pop back in under a new nickname. It isn’t that difficult to recognize a hater when you see one.
Inspiration and Motivation
As time goes on, I find it challenging to keep the group motivated. As life takes it’s twists and turns, I too, can lose motivation to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep on my weight loss journey.
But through this group of people from around the globe, I’ve learned so much about fitness and general health, that I feel I owe it to them, and to this blog to devote more time to it.
Every few months, I stop and ask myself:
What does fitness mean to me? What are my goals? What happens when I meet my goals? Do I just make new ones? Or do I fall into old routines and gain all that weight back? How can I maintain what I’ve achieved so far? How can I continue to hold myself accountable?
For input, I turned to the group. I asked for a healthy discussion on what fitness means to them. And these are the answers that blew me away. Here are the top six responses so far.
What does the word fitness mean to you?
Drh: Fitness is more of a lifestyle than anything. Weight loss can be part of it, but at some point, it just stops being a part by necessity.
Nick: For me, it’s balance and good health. I’m not looking to have big muscles and such. I do want to be solid and have a good build. But more importantly, I want internal health as well. Since my weight loss, I’m off the meds that I was on before. No more diabetic pills. No more blood pressure pills. No more meds to fix stuff.
Poyp: I hadn’t thought about metabolic condition, but that’s certainly worth inclusion since I”m another diabetic managing the disease without medication. I would hope that working on fitness would turn out to be a matter of improvement and progress. Instead, we see obsessive self-hatred and a crazy focus on weight loss.
rf: Fitness to me is rolled into health. I don’t think one can really have health, if one is not also fit. Fitness gives the means to age well. Fitness means having a full range of motion. Fitness means having the strength and ability to do the activities I want to do and do them easily.
tb: I’m not getting any younger. For me, fitness is primarily about maintaining a healthy weight, strength, mobility, and cardiovascular system as I age. I want to do things right up until the moment I drop dead. And looking at the world around me, it’s very obvious that deliberate effort is required to make that a probability. My great-grandmother was 94 and still bowling twice a week and still enjoying life right up until she died. She is a part of my inspiration!
SN: It is about slowly improving myself. It is a challenge of sorts for me. A never ending game and a challenge I absolutely love. It is about constantly looking at myself and wondering what I would to improve.
Drh: My goals are all lifestyle based. Am I working out, long enough? Hard enough? Am I addressing my weaknesses? What are those weaknesses and how can I fix them? Right now, one of my biggest weaknesses is mobility and it is also historically one of the new areas I have the hardest time motivating myself to address with the new habits. Maybe my mindset is also based on having basically into fitness my whole life. My goals changed based upon changes in myself. And I’m still learning.
Nick: That was my main goal (health). And the rest is icing on the cake.
Polyp: I would hope that working on fitness would turn out to be a matter of improvement and progress. Instead, we see obsessive self-hatred and a crazy focus on weight loss. Goals are strength, ‘conditioning’ (he hates that word), body composition, etc. With the vital addition of ‘quality of use.
rf: My goal is to improve my health and to age well. Another goal is to also be able to enjoy my life by having the strength, flexibility and mobility to easily do the things I need to do, and want to do. To meet that goal, I need to have the health and fitness to do the things I want to do.
SN: To have good enough fitness to have mountaineering, backpacking, hiking and trail running adventures. Weight was my first goal. I have lost 130 pounds. But now we are solidly into a maintaining state. The rules are different for maintaining. I am finding it harder in some ways and easier in other ways. I have thoroughly embraced wanting to constantly improve my life, health, and fitness. It is a fun sort of mental, physical and emotional challenge that I have really grown to love.
What does fitness mean to me?
Having read all these replies, I find myself reassessing what fitness means to me. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to this question. What is important here, is that we take opportunities to listen to each other and to support each other in setting and achieving those goals.
How can we support each other in achieving those goals?
By offering advice in a supportive manner. To inspire each other by sharing personal achievements and even downfalls. And by holding each other accountable through monthly fitness challenges and by tracking progress.
I have learned so much from this group in the last three years. And I feel I owe it to them, as a leader, to continuously show my gratitude and by way of this blog, offer something in return.
Thank you to everyone who responded to this poll. I’ll create a second post as more replies come in.