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 Âanother 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.Â
She began writing The Skinny Daily Post (http://www.skinnydaily.com) in early 2003, as a New YearÂs resolution. Her intent: to write a daily support essay for friends and family who were working hard to lose weight and get fit.
ÂMorbid obesity is a scary and lonely condition,Â says Ridl. ÂAnd 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.Â
Ridl decided the pro bono project would work as Âgood karmic paybackÂ 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. ÂI was a little hard to live with during that time, and I felt the strong need to repay my debt to society,Â she jokes.
At the end of 2002, she began helping a handful of friends and family members by sending them regular emails, sharing what sheÂd 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 ÂbloggingÂ 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.
ÂI thought maybe 50 friends and relatives would sign up,Â 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 siteÂs archives of more than 300 columns. ÂBut I was surprised, and then delighted, and then a little bit afraid.Â
When MSNBCÂs 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. ÂAnd then the agents called,Â Says Ridl. ÂItÂs a little freaky when someone tells you William Morris is on the line.Â
Ridl struck up a relationship with agent Coleen OÂShea, who already represents fitness and nutrition writers Jonny Bowden and Yale Professor Kelly D. Brownell. OÂShea is busy developing a publishing deal for gathering RidlÂs columns and ideas into book form.
Tribune Media ServiceÂs NewsCom.com now offers RidlÂs columns for syndication from their web service.
And thatÂs 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 Âhead in the game.Â And mail from Kat in Wales, who has taken up exercising with her dogs every day, and from a reader in Brazil who appreciates RidlÂs treatise on shopping for new underwear after a significant weight loss. And from the teenage Dan, whoÂs working hard at losing his last bit of extra weight before entering college in the Fall. And from a reader whoÂs never eaten his vegetables, but now eats green beans, cauliflower, and grows his own lettuce, thanks to skinnydaily.com.
ÂWell, this site was only supposed to last a year,Â says Ridl. ÂMy plan was to pick a new pro bono project for 2004, and preferably one that wouldnÂt cost me quite so much time.Â
But Ridl receives hundreds of unanswerable emails asking her not to Âshut the door.Â
ÂSo IÂm looking for a home,Â she says. ÂThe 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.Â
Despite the mammoth writing project behind her, RidlÂs willing to keep on writing. ÂYouÂd think I would have exhausted the subject by now, but youÂd be surprised.Â
ItÂs 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 http://www.skinnydaily.com. Web publishers and editors interested in hosting the Post can write to Ridl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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