Health Month's origin

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Health Month began as a yearly ritual amongst some friends in Boston, New York, and Seattle.

Health Month, at least this geneological line of it, started on April 3rd, 2002 when Rick Webb got dumped by his girlfriend and he decided he wanted to lose some weight. In January of 2003 his friend Keith Butters joined in and another friend helped create the official set of rules. Over the next couple years the monthly ritual gained popularity at the Barbarian Group and amongst some friends in New York and Seattle. The draw of the event was more about doing something drastic and dramatic, with friends, as a form of penance for the previous year. Improving long-term health habits wasn’t so much the goal… proving that you could go 30 days without a drink (and justifying a spirit of over-indulgence the rest of the year) sort of was.

In 2008 livejournal community was born. In 2009, a Facebook Group was born. Then the bickering started. Were the rigid all-or-nothing rules of Health Month too black and white? Was it not healthy to eat some meat? Wasn’t yogurt a good kind of dairy? Isn’t dark chocolate supposed to be good for you? Was fat even a bad thing? Without a consensus about what was healthy and what was not, the group that originally started mostly as a self-dare became fragmented with worries about what true health actually was. Even though over 600 people signed up for the Facebook Health Month group in 2009, 2010 was pretty much a dud, and everyone did their own things.

In the meantime, I built an iPhone app related to learning more about how to eat locally called Locavore and a social game called 750 Words that was a private journaling social game of sorts. My brain was a mess of nutritional information and social gaming ideas. After my son, Niko, was born in May of 2010, I gave myself 90 days to either build something new or get a real job.

Health Month was (re-)born.