Friday, October 8, 2010


Once again, I take a pause to re-evaluate my "healthy" lifestyle choices as I have done before here.  This time it was triggered by an apparently controversial article appearing in Marie Claire outlining the effect various healthy living bloggers could have on their readers.

Now, I will say that I know for a fact that the bloggers outlined in the article were interviewed for this article under false pretenses.  The author indicated to them that they would be featured in an article on successful blogging tips but as you can see, there are no tips included in the article.

I will not go on to take sides with either party here, although I do read several of the "Big 6" blogs indicated and enjoy the recipes and personal stories contained therein, and have purchased Marie Claire magazine in the past.  But I will say that the reason I read those blogs is to get ideas on making tasty healthy meals.  I love the fact that these bloggers photograph their dishes in such beautiful settings as to make me WANT to go out and roast some squash, or put pumpkin and dried fruit in my oatmeal.  I don't typically try to mimic their exercise habits.  Are we, as readers, responsible for our actions or the feelings we get when we read someone's blog or look at magazines featuring teeny tiny skinny models (which Marie Claire does do)?

The article though did get me to step back and re-examine how I go about being "healthier" and how I keep my body "fit" (both of these terms mean VERY different things to different people).  I think it's a valid concern, but are bloggers to blame for telling the stories of their lives, workouts and eating habits included?  I mean, women are blasted all day long with images of the ideal woman (in all her airbrushed, surgerized and highly styled glory) on TV, on magazine covers, etc.  We openly blame the media for their images of women, are "health" bloggers part of the problem too?

When I look back at my eating and exercise habits when I first started my fitness journey and when I first started blogging, it was a bit fanatic.  Too much working out, denying myself the snacks I enjoy even in moderation.  But I wanted it all and I wanted it yesterday and there is so much conflicting information out there, and so many gorgeous and thin ladies blogging about their progress!  So I'm asking anybody reading today to take a step back and really look at what you do to stay healthy, to maintain a certain weight, or on your quest for a certain physique.  Make sure that what you do is making you happy and satisfied and not becoming a burden that makes your feel riddled with guilt if you "screw up".

For me, I recently added back into my diet some of the buttery, tasty treats I so enjoy and am being less strict with myself when it comes to eating.  I'm feeling much more satisfied after meals when I allow myself just a bit of something I truly enjoy eating and on those days when I can't seem to squeeze in enough veggies I'm allowing myself to just get over it.

So I guess there's not much point to this post other than that it's been on my mind for a few days and it seems to have sparked quite a debate over on MC's message boards.  What do you guys think?  Do you think bloggers should be responsible for the actions of their readers after reading their posts as they relate to food and exercise?

And if any one ever takes offense to something I write, or feels it could have a harmful effect on a reader, feel free to comment or email me.  Not saying I'd change it, but I'd love to hear your opinion.

Enjoy your weekend - especially if you have Monday off too!!


  1. People need to be responsible for themselves and their actions. It's common sense. You are the one who puts the food in your mouth... I'm tired of the blame game. It's Mc'Donald's fault because they serve big portions, it's a restaurant's fault, it's genes, it's this, it's that... in the end though, it is up to the person to eat right and stay fit.

    I am guilty of being fanatical about diet, about exercise... but I don't lie about it. I go on binges, I feel guilty, but I admit it. Trying to do the phase 1 diet of P90X was a big fat failure full of carb binges and cheats... and yes, I felt guilty. But I've realized that I just have to do what works for me and that includes all my fave foods but in moderation.

    Blogging is not the issue.

  2. I haven't read MC article yet, but as far as resposablility for what the reader gets out of your blog. I think it depends on what the blogger is claiming or the reason for the blog. If it is just a personal blog that is just journaling their own diets, exercise and actions, IMO I think the reader is responsible for what she or he take away from it, or gets out of it, or does anything with it. Does that make sense?

  3. I didn't catch Laura's comment until after mine posted, I agree with her on people being responsible for themselves. And the Mc Donalds thing, just because they show pictures or offer a lot food doesn't mean you have to eat it!

  4. I actually agree with both of you - just didn't want to write an op-ed piece. LOL

    But yea, I haven't read in any of these blogs where the author says do what I do, or this is what you should do to look like x, y or z. And I go to McDonald's every once in a blue moon knowing exactly what I'm getting myself in to.

    I think there is more blame to be placed on the media, etc. if we absolutely MUST place some blame as they typically are writing articles with a kind of "this is what you should do" or "this is what you should look like" tone. But the most blame should be placed on readers/consumers.

    Thanks for weighing in. This kind of "debate" always facsinates me so I appreciate the comments.

    There should be a link to the Marie Claire article when you click on Marie Claire in the first paragraph just in case you wanted to read it. :)

  5. I agree that people must be responsible for their own actions, but I think that the point that Marie Claire was trying make with the article is that these particular "celebrity" bloggers are receiving compensation and corporate endorsements for their blogs while dispensing advice (and some of it possibly harmful to their readers.) Blogging in itself is not the issue, but when there are product endorsements and book deals happening, then these ladies are becoming "national brands" themselves. And that is something else entirely.

    We live in a brand-loving culture where "extreme" and "instant" sells... health and fitness are definitely caught up in this. Seems like workouts are being geared towards "blasting fat and getting quick results" because it is selling, not necessarily because it is better for people's long-term health overall. I do believe that people need to take responsibility for their own actions and health.

    I appreciate your blog because you are real. You are posting your own experiences candidly and responsibly. I read you because you inspire me. And though I can relate to you personally, I know that I am not you and you are not me. But we can all learn from each other.

    Thanks for posting this great discussion.

  6. Thanks Melissa for putting it into perspective. I guess in my quest for recipes I haven't really READ the blogs mentioned. Not 100% sure they give advice, but I guess they are kind of celebrities and people may want to emulate them.

    That being said, I did see a girl I'm FB friends with through Beachbody post about her doubling up exercises today and adding a jog too. I didn't think it was my business to comment, but I don't think that's healthy or good for your body in the long run. However, many others touted her as being "inspirational". Hmmmm.

  7. This is the paragraph of the article that really struck a chord with me:

    "Now the blogs are even turning the women into national brands. Haupert and Weber have book deals with Sterling Publishing; Boyle's body image guide, for Gotham Books, came out in August. Haupert writes for and Weber and Anderson offer "slimspiration" tips in magazines. Between book advances, sponsorships, and royalty checks from online aggregators (netting Anderson around $10,000 a year), the women are cashing in on mainstream success—even though only one has university-level nutrition training."

    So perhaps they aren't directly dishing out advice on their blogs, but people are following them there and to other media outlets where they are. Perhaps that wasn't their intention when they started to blog their stories, and I am certain these women don't wish to harm people. But they are celebrities now, and they are out there for scrutiny— whether or not it is warranted.

    I noticed that the article doesn't even go as far as to say that the bloggers mentioned *are* harming anyone at all, but MC certainly "whacked a hornet's nest"— judging by the readers' comments to the article. I think it raises some interesting points.

  8. I can see what you are saying. Those girls have some DEVOTED followers for sure. If nothing else, it does raise a serious issue. It did cause me to re-evaluate my practices. Although I was probably looking for ANY excuse to loosen up a bit on the eating. Now I've gone completely back to my old habits (as I wipe the cheeseburger grease and pumpkin beer off my chin)! LOL

  9. BUT, I do have to say, Marie Claire promotes some really tiny ladies in their magazine as well. I guess both sides need to take a look at what they are really saying to their readers.

  10. LOL. Pumpkin beer sounds delish!

    Agreed about your assessment of MC... they are not practicing the promotion of "healthy body image" in their magazines entirely either.