I am not officially on the Social Diet Board of Advisors, but my husband, Patrick, is. I refuse to join up because I’d like to think that I’m too much a private person to share my sleep patterns and eating and exercise habits with this handful of coworkers (which includes my boss) via the MyFitnessPal and Up iPhone apps. I’m too self-conscious and a little scared to open up in that way. So instead, I creep around the edges of the group like a voyeur. And you know what? I end up sharing a lot of that exercise and eating info with everyone anyway—because it turns out that I need to share this stuff socially, to feel that I’m connected to people with similar goals. It’s not quite enough for me to have the tools to work out what I need to do each day. See, I, too, wear an Up band, and I log everything that enters my mouth into MyFitnessPal—even NyQuil, which has, interestingly, almost as many calories as the fudge bars I nibble some nights.

Although I could if I wanted to, I don’t look over Patrick’s shoulder as he scrolls through the day’s numbers on the iPad; if I did, I could indeed see how many steps everyone on the BOA took that day, how much they slept, or even how many calories they consumed. Those stats don’t really interest me. It’s the social part that does: I need people to talk to. I need to bounce ideas off them, to rant about how frustrated I am that my gut-busting Insanity workouts sometimes only earn me 4,000 steps, while a pitiful jog nets double that. So as much as I’d like to be an island, I simply am not. I’m maybe more of a peninsula… No, actually an isthmus: I need people on either side of me for support but want to feel like I’m controlling everything on my own in the middle.

The social part has become surprisingly important to me, so I’m grateful to the BOA for allowing me to creep; I’m accommodated like someone’s little sister. And so far, my not-really-on-the-BOA approach is working: I’m down 8 pounds in about 8 weeks, with another 10 to go. I’m learning that it takes way more than myself and my own determination to reach my goals; the support of others is crucial. The island approach is for the birds; I am the Isthmus of Ann.

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