The Facebook diet

Man posts weight-loss journey

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  • | 1:26 p.m. March 16, 2011
Photo by: Brittni Larson - Sobora Duy uses a photo of his former physique as motivation to keep on track.
Photo by: Brittni Larson - Sobora Duy uses a photo of his former physique as motivation to keep on track.
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When browsing your Facebook newsfeed, you see little bits of your friends’ lives, from the mundane to the extraordinary — it’s all there.

Most don’t use the site for more than a way to connect and share thoughts, but one Waterford Lakes man has found another means for social networking site — losing weight.

And he’s lost more than 45 pounds, telling his friends about it every step of the way. Just more than 500 days ago, Sobora Duy woke up and thought ‘this is the day’. He was through with the way his body looked. He bought a gym membership and decided to chronicle his journey using the Internet.

His plan — to post his progress, thoughts, questions and eventually tips, on his blog, Operation GQ, and his Facebook account. He’s posted photos from Day One, and then every 100 days after to show his progress. Since he started, he’s never missed a day.

“Everybody goes on Facebook — it’s your everyday thing,” Duy said. “You can’t escape Facebook once you put your life out there.”

Social support network

Starting a new exercise regimine is difficult for anyone, and this rung true for Duy as well. He was looking for motivation and thought that putting himself out there on the Web could serve as a great support system for his fitness goals. And he’s not the only one, people from everywhere are reaching out online and finding success there, whether it’s from the support system or the sense of accountability they gain. is a good example of the trend. It is a Twitter-based site you can use as a food diary. Users post what they eat, when and how many calories the item contains. Duy hasn’t used this site, but said that his Facebook friends did end up being one key to his weight loss.

“They pushed me,” Duy said.

Dr. Jonathan Decker, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Central Florida, said research shows that people who have a support system available are far more successful in losing weight than those trying to do it on their own. Sometimes an online network of support is larger than the one people have face-to-face.

“It’s definitely a growing trend,” Decker said, who focuses his research on childhood obesity.

Duy is a good example of this. He gets dozens of comments on his status updates and photos. Friends cheer him on, express how proud they are of his achievements and even ask for his advice. Duy’s enthusiasm for fitness has become contagious — his friends, family and co-workers are all calling, messaging and commenting for his diet and exercise advice. And once they’ve started, his Facebook is something that pushes them to keep working, too.

“It definitely reminds you; you can’t help but to see it,” friend Meeya Nguyen said. “Just seeing how he’s staying on track with it motivates me.”

Success on the Web

Exercise physiologist and personal trainer Lisa Hall said that she’s witnessed many people encourage their loved ones after getting healthy themselves.

“If you lead by example, and your friends and family see your results, that’s the most powerful way to motivate,” said Hall, who is the manager of wellness services at Orlando Health and is part of the Get Active Orlando initiative.

Duy has also inspired his girlfriend, Diana Ly, who has lost about 30 pounds. She said Duy’s fun, easygoing approach to working out and motivation is what has made her so successful. And she feels great.

“I feel completely different, so much healthier,” Ly said.

Duy, who abandoned a fit, soccer playing lifestyle, for partying, late nights and fast food when he became a disc jockey, said he knows what it’s like to feel and be fat and can relate to others. He said that’s what makes him a successful fitness mentor.

“I know exactly how it feels to be overweight, to be lazy, to be addicted to fast food and to make excuses,” he said.

He wants to take his fitness goals to the next level by getting his personal training certification. Duy doesn’t plan to quit Operation GQ anytime soon. Day 1,000 is still on the horizon. And whenever he needs motivation, he looks at his Day One body stuck right on the refrigerator.