MeFits unite! August 30, 2011 9:05 AM   Subscribe

It's time for another game of Health Month! Buster has come up with new features for September that give players better control over rules.

You can now have up to five custom rules with more control over how you set them up, plus you can now take rules private (you will see them but your teammates and the public will not). In addition we still have some of mathowie's generous sponsorships left for those who need them. If you've been on the fence about trying Health Month, come join web-goddess and the rest of us on the MeFit team in the quest for healthy habits.

Previously about Health Month.
posted by immlass to MetaFilter-Related at 9:05 AM (51 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Here's the Metafilter Team!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:07 AM on August 30, 2011

I have been pleasantly surprised at how easily I took to Health Month. Being part of the MeFi team has been fun, and I'm hoping I can keep up the momentum. Thanks so very much for starting this team, and many, many thanks to my anonymous donor last month. Because of your help I've lost almost seven pounds this month. Which is a pretty awesome thing. Thank you.
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:32 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a question: I'm signing up this month again, but I'm getting over an injury, so I need to scale back my exercise rules a bit. Is there any way to choose a frequency less than what's suggested?
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:58 AM on August 30, 2011

All right, last time I tried this I had too many rules and crapped out in the first week (could not do ALL THE THINGS). It is September, which is one of the best months, and so I am inspired to try again.

WorkingMyWayHome, sometimes you have to play with the "how many times a week are you doing this now" slider in order to get the "how many times a week do you want to do this" slider to adjust down. If that is what you are asking.
posted by acanthous at 11:05 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

WorkingMyWayHome - I have that problem and I get around it by sliding down my "average" whatever. So if it thinks I walk 4x weekly and won't let me only walk 3x weekly, I slide down my average to 2x weekly and I can set the rule to 3x.

I think that's a bug of some sort; if not, it's a misfeature.
posted by immlass at 11:16 AM on August 30, 2011

Thanks, acanthous and immlass, it worked! All signed up now and sponsored 3 others.

I took August off and didn't do nearly as well on exercising and stretching, so I'm back for September. And just four rules this time, so I don't get overwhelmed. My life can be crazy enough without adding extra bonus stress.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 11:25 AM on August 30, 2011

I'm finding it really useful for nudging me in the right direction - I've started the 100 push-ups programme any number of times in the past, but it seems it's taken Health Month to make it stick (I'm now on week 4 and have just done a personal record of 25 push ups in one go, which is quite an improvement over my initial score of 6). I'm also finding it useful for encouraging incidental exercise - having a "Walk X miles a week" rule means I find myself popping out for short walks here and there to bring the weekly total up, and that's got to be good.
posted by handee at 11:31 AM on August 30, 2011

It's interesting that this is pretty much the exact inverse of Fitocracy (commit ahead of time, penalties if you fail, vs. points if you do stuff, arbitrary and optional goals.) Sadly Health Month puts me in "Fuck you, make me" mode but it's really interesting to see how it works for different people.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:08 PM on August 30, 2011

I have a bunch of sponsorship chips as well and I'll be checking the sponsorship page for mefites, so if anyone needs one, holler, either there or on here.
posted by Kosh at 12:14 PM on August 30, 2011

Sponsorship chips...sponsorchips! Anyway I have four if anyone needs one.
posted by acanthous at 12:19 PM on August 30, 2011

September will be my seventh month on Health Month, it's been a great thing for me. I've just joined Fitocracy too, and it's true that the approach is completely different, but I think they can be complementary to each other- Health Month is about developing healthy habits generally, sort of a mix of carrots and sticks, and Fitocracy is more focused on fitness specifically and pretty much all carrot, no stick. I can see that one approach may work a lot better for some people than the other.
posted by ambrosia at 12:33 PM on August 30, 2011

It's time for me to try to do this again. I got grumpy and cheated my way through the last month or so that I participated. But now, I need to do this in earnest! I'd love a sponsorship, if someone doesn't mind - I'm Allenopithecus over there.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:44 PM on August 30, 2011

I was wavering about signing up again, but I think I will.
I have to tweak my rules a bit though.
posted by luckynerd at 12:49 PM on August 30, 2011

Oh man - never mind! I got a free game this month - sweet!
And I have three sponsorship chips, so memail more or otherwise let me know if you want one.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:53 PM on August 30, 2011

Sponsorship would be nice since money is tight. I never would have asked, but since people are offering I might as well throw my name in there. Same user name, real name is Chris Osborne.
posted by theichibun at 1:18 PM on August 30, 2011

Ok, I could use a sponsorship.
My username is the same, real name is listed as Monica Luckynerd.

Thanks! :)
posted by luckynerd at 1:35 PM on August 30, 2011

I am the same as restless_nomad - I found fitocracy a much better way of motivating myself. Mentally - health month just gave me more reasons to beat myself up if I was not achieving my rules. Different strokes for different folks though I guess.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:11 PM on August 30, 2011

Sadly Health Month puts me in "Fuck you, make me" mode but it's really interesting to see how it works for different people.

I think that's part of why I'm finding it so useful and interesting. When that "I don't wanna" or "make me!" feeling shows up, it's a sign that there's something there I need to spend some time looking at. After all, every last one of these things it's "making" me do is something I chose to do because I think it'll help me be healthier and happier in the long run. So who exactly is it that doesn't want to? Which subpersonality (feels like a rebellious teenager) is taking the "not gonna! make me!" attitude?

In one of her books, Zen teacher Cheri Huber* tells a story (paraphrased and misquoted from memory) about a woman who was at a week-long Vipassana retreat. "And those Vipassana sorts are hard core!" Cheri said, "I mean, up at 4 am, sit for three hours, ten minutes of silent breakfast, sit for four hours, ten minutes of silent lunch, sit for three more hours, maybe 10 minutes of walking meditation, sit for four more hours, then go to bed. It is intense, focused, spiritual practice. So this friend of mine was sitting on her cushion one afternoon, a couple of hours into the sit, paying attention to the thoughts that kept popping up and dropping them to return to the breath. And suddenly, one of the voices in her head says, clear as day, 'But when am I going to get some time for me?' And the absurdity of it — here she is on a week-long intense retreat that she sought out, registered for, and paid good money to attend so she could work on ending suffering and achieving enlightenment — and conditioning tries to make it an example of 'poor me, I'm so put upon and deprived' — well, she laughed out loud right there on the cushion. And after that, she found that that particular piece of conditioning was almost powerless."

* Oh look, Lexica's quoting Cheri Huber again. What a surprise.
posted by Lexica at 2:17 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Shouldn't you be encouraging people to work out all the time and not have one month for it?
posted by xmutex at 2:30 PM on August 30, 2011

Wait. So Buster gave everybody who was previously signed up a free game AND three sponsorship chips? On top of the free games that were being given out earlier in the month?

We're *never* gonna get through these sponsorship chips of Mathowie's. I'll be giving them out well into 2012 at this rate...
posted by web-goddess at 2:45 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hey, I just want to say thank you to everybody who's involved in running the Metafilter team. Health Month has helped me make huge changes in the amount of exercise I'm getting and, more importantly, helped me keep it up for some months now, a big problem for me.

You're doing a great and powerful thing, and we all really appreciate it!
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 2:56 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry I failed to keep up participation this month. Good intentions and all that, but life with a sick kid (including getting completely screwed over by an idiot doctor making false promises) just made life way too chaotic to deal with anything else. Hopefully I can try again when I regain some sanity, because I think the concept is good.
posted by valleys at 2:57 PM on August 30, 2011

I'm also crediting this crazy game with instilling all kinds of good habits in me. There are still so many things I'm resistant to doing (that rebellious teenager voice!), but maybe it's all about the long game - seemingly every month is getting me to improve my life in some small but important way. And changing my rules from month to month is keeping things interesting. I highly recommend checking it out if you're on the fence. Fitocracy sounds cool too.
posted by naju at 3:08 PM on August 30, 2011

There's always next month, valleys. I fell off the wagon at the end of the month too for a vacation. I'm looking forward to starting fresh in September myself.

Is the sponsorship page dead for anybody else? I wanted to see if there are any MeFites on there that need a chip but I can't get it to load properly...
posted by web-goddess at 3:08 PM on August 30, 2011

Couple salient points for new folks, since I've been asked:

- In order to get on the MetaFilter team, you must go to the team page (linked in the first comment above) and request to be on the team for September. Then I have to approve you. (We do get some randoms.)

- You don't have to pay anything to play as long as you have 3 or fewer rules. If you want more than 3 (or to use the new Private Rule feature), you have to pay $5 or get sponsored. Our team has LOADS of sponsorships chips though (from Mathowie and from individual members), so don't be shy about asking. To get one, you just need to set up MORE than 3 rules and then request sponsorship as the final step. (Just bear in mind that some folks found it daunting when they set up a ton of rules for their first month. You may be better off easing into it. Up to you.)
posted by web-goddess at 3:18 PM on August 30, 2011

I have asked for a sponsorship chip!
posted by adiabat at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2011

Oh, what the heck. September seems a good month for new undertakings, with its associations of fun new writing implements and unblemished notebooks. Better than the gray skies of January, at least. I'll start off slowly with three rules. I'd better throw my Metafilter tee shirt in the wash so I'm ready to represent the team properly on the first.
posted by Morrigan at 3:47 PM on August 30, 2011

It's been pretty great at concretizing my idea of how much I can do in a month. And that is all kinds of useful, both inside and outside of physical skill and health.
posted by ignignokt at 3:53 PM on August 30, 2011

I really really want to play again, but I keep travelling (yeah, boo hoo poor me), and I know from previous experience that a month where half of it is in aeroplanes and hotels is not a good month to try to instill new habits. October!
posted by lollusc at 5:04 PM on August 30, 2011

I fell out of my Health Month habit about two weeks ago, so I'm just going to skip all my turns until probably yesterday. (Doing this now...oh jeez, now I'm going to have negative one zillion life points.)

And for September I'm backing waaay off, I think from 11 rules to just 5. Last month I did pretty well, but this month not so much. No particular reason, even, just got out of the habit of recording, and then got out of the habit of my actual rules.
posted by epersonae at 5:10 PM on August 30, 2011

I'm in. And I have 8 sponsorship chips to give! Will look for you on Health Month, adiabat.
posted by bearwife at 5:28 PM on August 30, 2011

Alas my one chip was automatically used to sign me up for another month without me asking. I was hoping to purchase a membership and pass my chip on to a needy 'fite. Next time I'll figure out how to do that.
posted by zomg at 5:36 PM on August 30, 2011

I keep saying I'm going to rejoin the metafilter team, then someone from one of the various teams I've created in my evangelical zeal will want to re-up. I think I may just quietly not keep the team up, and come join metafilter again. Y'all are much more active!

And dang, but I need to redo some of those lapsed rules (howdy, flossing!). *is excited for the changes*
posted by ldthomps at 5:41 PM on August 30, 2011

Is anyone else seeing the sponsorship page as empty? I have six 'sponsor-chips' to use and it tells me there are still people looking for sponsors, and it isn't showing anyone. Looking at it in both Safari and Chrome. I've been able to see the page before, so I'm not sure what the deal is...
posted by Kosh at 5:56 PM on August 30, 2011

I just looked and saw someone on there that mentioned MetaFilter. I also just added myself and I'm still there. I'm thinking there should be more people, but maybe if you say you want to be on a team it only shows it to team members?
posted by theichibun at 6:28 PM on August 30, 2011

I think there's a problem at the Health Month end — when I checked the sponsorship page just now, it said
There are 91 September Sponsorship Applications so far
77 out of 91 Sponsorship Applications have been filled for September's game so far
which would imply that there are 14 open applications, but it didn't display any.
posted by Lexica at 6:37 PM on August 30, 2011

No idea how this works, but I want to get fit and eat healthy this month so I'll sign up.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:36 PM on August 30, 2011

That's the error I was seeing this morning. I wonder if maybe some of those sponsorships got removed by Buster and basically everybody's covered right now?

It definitely is meant to show *all* people who've requested sponsorship, not just your team members.
posted by web-goddess at 8:16 PM on August 30, 2011

Shouldn't you be encouraging people to work out all the time and not have one month for it?

Well, "work out 3 days a week for the rest of your life" is kind of an intimidating commitment for many people. In fact, I think many new years' resolutions fail because even a year seems like a long time to keep up a good habit. But a month seems more manageable—"yes, working out 3 days a week for a month seems doable." It's kind of like making new-month resolutions. Then at the start of the next month you can decide whether you want to continue doing it or not. Often, people find out that working out or whatever wasn't as hard as they'd feared, and decide to keep it up for another month.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:14 AM on August 31, 2011

Shouldn't you be encouraging people to work out all the time and not have one month for it?

It can be far easier to introduce positive habits and healthy behaviors that can be lifelong if you focus on a more immediate and specific time frame than just 'all the time'.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:42 AM on August 31, 2011

Thanks to the person who let me in. I know it was one of you even though you won't admit it.
posted by theichibun at 9:26 AM on August 31, 2011

I've been enjoying this more than I thought I would. I'm requesting sponsorship for September, please?
posted by scottymac at 9:34 AM on August 31, 2011

I like Health Month. I've brushed my teeth at night more in the past two months, as I made that a rule. Now, it feels weird not to do it.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:45 AM on August 31, 2011

Ok, the MeFits are awesome...woke up this morning having been healed from -90 life points to 14 life points. The team's making me excited to try again next month!

posted by epersonae at 9:53 AM on August 31, 2011

Just asked to join the Mefi group? And are there any sponsorships still around? Would be much appreciated :)
posted by adrianhon at 4:19 PM on August 31, 2011

How the heck do I find the MeFis looking for sponsorship? The link on the site,, irritatingly says, "Want to let more people into the game? Sponsor someone!" and then has no one listed and no link to actually sponsor.

Does anyone know? I love Health Month but still find the site very kludgy.
posted by bearwife at 4:28 PM on August 31, 2011

Um, I know I've said this before, but I'm back this time. For realz. My boyfriend said "I think you need to start doing Health Month again."

I've missed y'all.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:38 PM on August 31, 2011

Awesome! Welcome back!
posted by ambrosia at 8:45 PM on August 31, 2011

Bearwife - read up the thread. It appears to be broken this month.

Adrianhon - just approved you for the team. If you want sponsorship, you have to alter your rules to have more than 3. Then you'll be able to request sponsorship, and one of us will be able to help you out.

Ocherdraco - we missed you! I feel like Sandra Bullock driving this bus all by myself. Or maybe I'm Keanu and you're Sandra... :)
posted by web-goddess at 2:56 PM on September 1, 2011

Further details on the "multiple custom rules" change, since I just ran smack into an argh! related to it. The way it now works is that you may have some, all, or none of the following rules:
  • Do a custom thing X days a week
  • Do a custom thing X times a week
  • Do a custom thing X minutes a week
  • Avoid a custom thing X days a week
  • Avoid a custom thing X times a week
but you may only have each rule once. So if you've got "Pick wildflowers 1 day a week" you can't also have "Feed the birds three days a week", you'd have to make it "Feed the birds three times a week".

In other words, this doesn't mark the end of having to shoehorn custom rules into other doesn't-quite-fit-but-close-enough rules, the way many of us were hoping it would. Foo.
posted by Lexica at 3:55 PM on September 1, 2011

web-goddess: Thanks for the tip, will do that now!
posted by adrianhon at 9:27 AM on September 2, 2011

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