I sat down with my computer this morning with all good intentions of writing about my thoughts on Battle of the Blades from last night. However, I ended up reading about something that has got me too preoccupied to even think about BOTB. And it doesn’t happen often that something will take precedence over my obsession with all things figure skating.
In the latest issue of Marie Claire magazine, this article was published that has got much of the healthy living blog world up in arms. It is a criticism of these healthy living blogs and warns of their inherent dangers. The author implies that many of the bloggers engage in disordered eating and exercising, and that by blogging about their habits, readers can be mislead, misinformed, and triggered into developing eating and exercising disorders themselves.
Upon reading the article, my first reaction was to take offense, both on behalf of my beloved bloggers that I follow on a daily basis, and for myself, being a reader of said blogs and the implication that I would be so easily lured into dangerous habits. I first discovered these blogs when I was training for my half marathon in the spring. As this whole running thing was very new to me, I found myself often looking things up on the internet for information on all things running, from what kind of clothes/gear I need, to how to refuel myself properly after a long run, to advice on running form. I found all sorts of useful information and advice out there that helped a great deal. (Seriously, I do not know how I ever lived my life before discovering Google…) Along the way, I found out about BLOGS. It’s not that I didn’t know what they were before (Len had his own blog a long time ago), but I never really paid them much attention and didn’t realize the wealth of ideas that they can contain. I first discovered blogs about running, where I found all sorts of interesting ideas about how to deal with the daily struggles like blisters, motivation, preparing your body to run, etc. But more than anything, I got inspired. Inspired by all these “normal” people (read, not professional athletes, but people just like myself in many ways) who take on such fantastic challenges like half and full marathons, triathlons, and the like. (I even found out there are such things as ultra marathons, which are, really, just crazy!) Things that I used to think only a small elite group of humans out there could do. Certainly not anything I could ever even dream of attempting.
From these running blogs I eventually found and fell in love with the broader category of “Healthy Living Blogs”, where people blog about healthy eating and exercising on the path to living a happier, more fulfilling life. They’ve since opened up my eyes to new perspectives on food, the environment, and life in general. I have personally found that the ideas that I’ve adopted from these bloggers to be most helpful and enriching in my life.
Hence the taking of offense at this particular article in Marie Claire. If anything, these blogs have put me on the path AWAY from unhealthy living and thoughts.
Upon calmer reflection, however, I do recognize that the article brought up some valid points that should be opened up for discussion. While I personally think that the blogs I follow feature healthy people with healthy lifestyles, I know that there are blogs and bloggers out there who do not eat and exercise in a healthy way. I have come across some that definitely obsess over restrictive diets and excessive exercise. And even the blogs that I love and follow sometimes feature things that I don’t agree with or would not choose to implement in my own life. For example, many of these bloggers are vegetarian or vegan. And I’m obviously neither, nor do I aspire to ever be either. But I think that’s fine. Isn’t it the reader’s responsibility to take what they want and leave what doesn’t work for them? Especially since none of these bloggers pretend to be experts or state that their way is the only way. And for me at least, at the heart of it, it’s just for fun and enjoyment. Fun to add some new ideas and recipes to my life, and enjoyable to follow what these interesting people are doing in their lives. The article could have been written in a way that opened up the discussion about the pros and cons of blogging. There are always positive and negative aspects to everything, and it’s good to look into both. But this particular article is clearly one-sided and all its supporting “facts” blatantly chosen only to fit its slant. My hope is that it will cause the opposite of its intended effect; readers who had never heard of these blogs before may be intrigued to see for themselves what they are all about and perhaps discover that they in fact advocate a healthy, open-minded, and moderate approach to life.
I especially find it ironic that this article, warning of dangerous “triggers” for people who might be prone to eating disorders, is featured in a magazine that regularly includes impossibly photoshopped photos of emaciated models. How is that not a “trigger”?
In reference to photoshopping of models, I want to share this article. It’s nothing new that we are not all already aware of, but it certainly is a good reminder to take what we read and see with a grain of salt.
In the end, I can only speak for myself and what works in my life. Which is what I think all this blogging business is about anyway.
Now that I’ve written out my thoughts on this matter, my mind turns back to figure skating…but as I have to leave for work soon, I guess I’ll have to blog about BOTB tomorrow… 🙂