Monday, September 26, 2011

[The Corey Project] One year later

I was thinking in the shower a week ago (where all my good thinking happens) and I realized an important anniversary was coming up. One year ago this past Sunday, I made a snap decision that changed my life

I went to Walmart and bought a scale and got a couple pairs of gym shorts from the Reebok outlet store. I joined the YMCA. I replaced frozen pizzas with the occasional home cooked meal and -- more often -- with frozen Lean Cuisines.

I dove in head first and, surprisingly, stuck with it. I lost weight quickly, made it through Christmas without gaining weight and donated 90 percent of my closet to Goodwill when I moved out this summer. I am regularly running three miles and planning on signing up for my first 5K race sometime this fall or winter. I've gone down two shirt sizes and about seven or eight pant sizes. When I got refitted for a tuxedo for a friends wedding, my jacket size was five sizes smaller than it was in January.

One year ago, I decided to change my lifestyle. I still have the mentality of a fat kid, but I've managed to temper my cravings. I still love burgers, hot dogs, barbecue, tacos and pizza, but I eat them sparingly.

I still don't see a huge difference when I look in the mirror, but I know I am very different. If I forget, friends and family are nice enough to remind me.

I still have a belly and I'm still technically "overweight," but I'm 60 pounds lighter than the obese Corey of September 2010. 
Taken in October, 2010, about a week after I started the Corey Project. I was about 248 pounds.
Sixty pounds. That's a Gracie and a half. Sometimes in the gym I pick up two 30-pound weights just to see how much 60 pounds really is. I don't understand how my body carried that around.

Taken a couple months ago. 
I'm still not done. My optimistic self thought I would be down to 170-ish at this time, but that's a bit unrealistic. I have gotten stuck in a rut with my weight, but that was to be expected. I'm looking for ways to ramp up my workouts and to control my diet more. I would love to get down to 170. Really, I would just love to get rid of the little belly I have left.

What's more important than the numbers, though, is the change I've made in the way I think about food and working out. I like to run (most of the time). I want to eat healthy. If I have a couple bad meals in a week, I feel like crap. I rarely drink sodas and drink a lot more water.

I refuse to let myself go back to what I was a year ago. Let me type that again, just to reinforce it: I refuse to let myself go back to what I was a year ago.

That's what's important.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My editor would kill me if I tweeted

I heard something yesterday that really bothered me.

I was sitting in a session about social media at the Watchdog Journalism Workshop hosted by McClatchy and Queens University of Charlotte and someone asked the inevitable question about scooping themselves on Twitter.

Why, they wondered, would you post breaking news on Twitter when you're not linking back to your site and don't get the pageviews? Isn't the point of Twitter, he said, to drive people to your site?

That part bothered me enough that I actually spoke, something I normally try to avoid in those situations. But what he said next was worse.

"My editor would kill me if I tweeted."

Even the leader of the session was taken aback and said he hoped that wasn't true. Whether it's true or not, the fact that a reporter in 2011 is scared to tweet or use social media is frightening.

First, he is missing the point of social media, which both I and others in the audience tried to drive home: social media is about building a community and interacting. As a reporter, you build your brand and reputation through social media. Even if you're not driving traffic with every tweet, if the community comes to trust you through Twitter they will come to you both for information -- going to your stories online and in the paper -- and with information, leads and story ideas you can use in the future.

If my followers on Twitter trust me as the go-to source for sports news in south Charlotte, when I tweet something about Providence High football, they're probably going to click the link because they trust me and have interacted with me in the past. If all I do is spit out links, they'll likely get bored and move on.

If there is an editor out there who is so against social media, we need to have an intervention. Reporters should be tweeting. All of them, in my opinion.

Good journalists should engage with their audience and start conversations. It's a big part of what we do. That's why I make a point to respond to every tweet, answer every email and return every call. You never know what may come of it.