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. reader beware .

May 22, 2011

The blog world is a great place; it really is. Fabulous people. Delicious food. What more could you ask for? But, as with pretty much everything else in life, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Oh no sir-ee. Under that seemingly sunny exterior lurks a beast so vile that it strikes fear into the hearts of…

Err … sorry, I’ll stop being all melodramatic now…

No talk of beasts or vileness. Promise. But I do want to shed some light on an issue that I think needs to get a little bit more attention, and that issue is:

The unhealthy influence of “healthy” living blogs.

 

Chia seeds are no stranger among healthy living blogs, but I find them kind of… strange.

Now, I use the term healthy in quotation marks because many blogs that label themselves as such actually display extremely unhealthy habits. Over-exercising. Under-eating. Labelling food as good and bad. A plethora of disordered thoughts and behaviours that become masked behind the veil of “health”.

Sneaky.

And it’s not even necessarily a conscious thing – a lot of people genuinely believe that what they’re doing is healthy, even if it’s the complete opposite. I know that was the case with me when my eating disorder began to take over – I started eliminating certain foods from my diet and exercising to get “healthier”, became vegan and eliminated even more foods to become “even healthier”, and ultimately ended up almost dead. Go figure. And the real kicker? I honestly thought I was doing the right thing, when in reality I was just giving into disordered thoughts and feeding my growing problem.

But nevermind that for now.

The point is, I’m not perfect, nor am I claiming that I am – I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and I’m not trying to point fingers or accuse anyone. Mmmkau? Just wanted to put that out there.

Steel cut oats with baked apple, raisins, and almond butter.

What I am trying to do is warn people to be careful with how they approach the information they come across on healthy living blogs, because it’s incredibly easy to become negatively influenced by it…

“Oh, this girl only eats X amount, I guess I’m eating too much”

“Oh, this girl doesn’t eat so and so, I guess I should avoid it too”

“Oh, this girl exercises for X amount, now I feel like a lazy bum”

Sound familiar? Yeah. And you’re not alone – I openly admit that I fall victim to the comparison trap too. Even after spending years going through the hell that comes with an eating disorder and finally healing my relationship with food and exercise,  I still occasionally catch myself comparing my  habits to those that I come across on the blog world and thinking “Huh… Maybe I should try and…

No. Stop.

Maybe I shouldn’t. In fact, I know I shouldn’t. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. It no longer fits.

 

 

Everything tastes better in layers.

The truth is that no matter how good something looks on the screen of your computer, you never see the whole picture. Sure, someone may eat very little, exercise excessively, and still appear to have a life that’s all sunshine and rainbows, but you don’t ever hear about the darker side… and believe me, there is one.

You don’t realize that the person has no energy to do anything once they finish their workout, or that they need 8 cups of coffee or cans of Diet Coke to get through the day. You don’t realize that they can’t stop thinking about when and what their next meal will be, or that they choke down their egg white omelettes when they’d really kill for bagel with cream cheese. You never hear about the sleepless nights, the missed opportunities, or the health scares. But they’re there. They’re there and they’re very much the result of what happens when you fail to take care of your body properly – it breaks down, just like anything else. It may not happen instantly, but over time, the abuse and neglect will catch up to you, guaranteed.

Pumpkin Chili Mexican Scramble with salsa, guac, and cottage cheese.

Now, I’m not telling you to run away screaming or to be suspicious of disordered behaviors wherever you go. Not at all. The blog world can be a great source of information and healthy ideas, and there are a lot of bloggers who do set a truly healthy example. But there are also those who don’t, so just…

Be careful and be aware.

Don’t try and follow someone’s example if it doesn’t work for you. When I was trying to heal the unhealthy relationship I had with food and exercise, I had to give up reading certain blogs because of the negative influence their lifestyle had on my mindset – it’s a lot harder to do the right thing for your health and your body when you surround yourself with those who very obviously don’t, especially when they try and pass of their disordered behaviors as “healthy” ones.

. – . – . – .

I’d love to hear your thoughts 😀

Edit: Jenny and I are totally on the same page…

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79 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2011 5:39 pm

    I seriously couldn’t have said any of this better myself – bravo! You hit the nail on the head; and this is also why I’ve decreased the amounts of blogs I read.

  2. May 22, 2011 5:40 pm

    Hey there, i just recently started blogging and found myself doing this comparison thing almost immediately. I am so glad I read your post because I’m still not 100% recovered and I need to stay focused on what works for me, not so random blogger!
    Did you see my post today – protein poppers, courtesy of your cookie dough recipe! Mucho gracias, they’re addictive 🙂

  3. May 22, 2011 5:40 pm

    As always, I love your thoughts 🙂
    I think there is a very fine line between healthy and obsessive. And you’re right – it really is so easy to just see what a blogger wants us to see and immediately thinking that’s how we should do it. And hey, maybe it does work for them! But that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone else 😉 I, myself, tend to get a little uneasy when I see food being labeled as good or bad. Am I guilty of having done this? Oh, I’m sure! But I’ve changed my thinking and kind of hate the word healthy lately if it’s thrown before a recipe. For some reason, the term nutritious doesn’t bother me as much. I’m weird.
    (…but I still love chia seeds. what can I say?! I fell in love with them when I was a naive blogger and DID have to try everything I saw 😉

    • May 22, 2011 7:34 pm

      The whole “healthy” thing gets to me a bit too – I think it’s a bit of a rebellion actually. It’s funny because I remember when I was really obsessed with eating clean, everyone around me basically rebelled and began eating even more unhealthy because they were sick of listening to me harp about the benefits of this and that 😆

      • May 22, 2011 8:11 pm

        i was reading my own comment and realized how hypocritical it is that my blog name is healthy exposures. ew. i’m not going to be able to sleep over this now! instead i’ll be up thinking of a new blog name, hah. only partially kidding.

  4. Brooke permalink
    May 22, 2011 5:48 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! It is soo easy to get swept up in the whole lifestyle comparison thing in the world of health-focused blogs. This is especially true when the blogger seems to have an amazing, idealistic life that is all peaches and cream. But the thing is you just never know what goes on behind the scenes (err.. blog posts). Just like we should be conscious consumers we should also be conscious blog readers. Yes it’s great to get ideas, learn about new foods, exercises, ways of life, etc. through blogs, but at the end of the day it is someone ELSE’S life and their perspective, and while it may inform your perspective you can’t see it as the end all be all. I used to be guilty of the whole comparison thing and altering my diet or other elements of my lifestyle to suit whatever blogs I was really into at the time. Now I’m just learning to do what makes me feel good and what fits MY own unique lifestyle.. just as you said in your previous post – do what works for you!

  5. May 22, 2011 5:53 pm

    Very well said. There have been a few blogs that I’ve stumbled upon (and then stumbled away from) where the blogger seems to be eating far too little for my taste. Not my place or business to judge but I do wonder if other people are trying to do the same. I hope not.

  6. May 22, 2011 5:56 pm

    “got that shirt–it doesnt fit” bahahaha that cracked me up!

    I’ve posted about this on Happiness Is Within like 20 times. So believe me when i say i agree 120%.

    Although I agree, its still hard for me to watch other bloggers do there WIAW or daily eats. I see bloggers eating barely nothing and then doing TONS of exercise. It makes me feel like it is healthy and I CAN do it to. Thank god I have my dietitian talking sense into me or else I would have relapsed long ago.

    I HATE daily food journals. I RARELY see women who actually eat what they need and then they say they are “healthy”! Not good to heat when your trying to recover from an ED……

    • May 22, 2011 7:36 pm

      Truth. Some of the WIAW’s I come across make me cringe, so I ignore them and look for women who know how to EAT for real instead. There’s not too many of them, but they ARE out there.

  7. Joie permalink
    May 22, 2011 6:00 pm

    This post came at an exceptional time.
    I’ve been thinking about this all day.

    Like I saw a post where the person had a salad (when I just finished yummy, moist bread along with something similar) and they only had 1/8 of an avocado (when I had 1/2 large avocado + olive oil chopped )….

    or then I see people on these cleanses…with juices…and awesome looking salads of kale and brown rice…and I think that it looks so neat…but should i buy into that?

    people who eat no dairy….when I’m addicted to all these yogurt, cheese, etc…and feeling guilty for it.

    Feeling guilty because I’m not vegan and I eat a lot of animal products…

    feeling guilty because of the fats and breads I consume…YES bread! real bread…

    feeling guilty for chocolate and nighttime snacking and everything.

    The thing is that I’ve dealt with my problems for years now. And I’ve completely killed my body. I almost died once. And I’m just hanging on by a thread now. I go to bed at night and I pray and I hold faith.
    And I quite seriously sleep all day. Or lie down and read and watch old movies. I don’t write or plan for the future. I’m basically entranced in this.
    I am reaffirming my effort recently to FULLY committ to this…I’ve felt guilt all along because I need to work, make money, figure out my future, stop being such a dammed failure and waste of space that just sleeps all day…
    but I can’t be anything or anyone UNTIL i get this settled once and for all.

    The biggest thing that kills me now is that I literally sit or lie down 24-7.
    I walk once a day for a short and very very slow 30 minute walk. I honestly fold my arms across my nonexistent chest as I walk because I feel so …like I’m sinking into my self.

    The blog world…I don’t know Amanda. Like I find a lot of positivity and hope in so many blogs and I enjoy them.
    BUT , then I don’t know.
    I kind of want to start a blog to chronicle my thoughts in order to fully release as I embark on this fulltime committment to health…but I worry too that it might not be a good idea…but so many thoughts in my head..and a journal is almost not enough you know?

    The most challnenging thing now….not exercising and eating a lot (contrary to others who are gaining) and eating carbs and grains…
    AND not really knowing what I like…like…what food i really do like, or really do want…i have no idea…
    Its confusing..but I can’t let more time slip by.

  8. May 22, 2011 6:21 pm

    UMMMMMMMMMM WE ARE THE SAME PERSON! I literally just published a post that touched on the SAME issue (with a focus on chia seeds!!!)

    unfortunately, now my post looks like a complete dud because your words are so much more profound than mine but whatever. I’m linking back to this on my blog now!

    • May 22, 2011 7:43 pm

      No way, girl! I loved your post! And omigosh I read it and the chia thing cracked me up big time. Crazy how we both chose to target those poor little buggers 😉

  9. May 22, 2011 6:35 pm

    this was an amazing post and I agree with you one hundred percent! The bottom line is that we are all individuals and that we should never compare ourselves to others! Your amazing insight and honesty is what I truly love about your blog. You always remind me of hoes truly unique and special we all are!
    :)aim

  10. The Teenage Taste permalink
    May 22, 2011 6:48 pm

    This was such an informative and true post. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  11. May 22, 2011 6:49 pm

    I think you’ve said it all – I agree completely. I’ve been wanting to mention these things in my blog too, but I’m kind of scared at the same time. For instance, why don’t you just name your “healthiest” cookie the “lowest-calorie” or “lowest-fat” because guess what: it’s obvious? You (not meaning “you”) say you eat so much and how come your meals are always “non-fat” and EXACTLY 300kcal every time? Oh well, I should stop getting all upset. I decided that what matters is what “I” choose. Because after all, it will be me who will thrive and possibly, others (not only bloggers but also my peers) will not. (although I can’t say this for sure)

  12. May 22, 2011 6:56 pm

    Oh I do love this post.

    I hope I don’t seem like one of those bloggers eliminating foods to be “healthier.”
    I eat the way I do purely because I have many food allergies and because I’m an animal loving tree hugger. But if there ever came a day when I craved a piece of cheese, believe me, I would eat some!
    I also am not into labeling food as good or bad. I like to blog because I really do love food, not for comparing what I eat to others, but because it just really interests me and it’s nice to be able to come chat with people about common interests.
    When I notice myself falling victim to the comparison trap I usually stop reading that certain blog.

  13. May 22, 2011 6:56 pm

    You. Are. Amazing.

    Very simply put.

    You writing is so clear, your thoughts speak to my deepest fears and doubts. I don’t know what I would be doing right if I had not found your blog a few days ago. Your thoughts on issues hardly anyone else broaches is exactly what I, and doubtlessly many others, needed.

    Keep it up. YOU ARE INSPIRING.

  14. squigglefloey permalink
    May 22, 2011 7:09 pm

    I love this post. Sometimes I think I’m weird because I’ve been exposed to blogs for well over a year, and I’ve never tried a green smoothie thing, chia seeds, or peanut flour. I do really try doing what works best for me. It’s hard sometimes, and I know I do compare. But everyone’s body is different. We all need different things, are diff. people, and have different wants. That’s what makes us special.
    Thanks for putting this out there!
    🙂 xo

  15. May 22, 2011 7:19 pm

    Posts like this remind me why it really doesn’t bother me that I can’t “categorize” my blog. It’s more of an amalgamation of a bunch of different things (um, kind of like me), and I like having the freedom of not feeling pressured to fit into a certain niche.

    That said… I do have to say that it kind of irks me when everything a blog portrays is sunshine and rainbows. Not that I want to be surrounded by gloom and doom all the time, but nobody is 100% cheerful 24/7. It just doesn’t work that way. Incessant cheeriness gets on my nerves, because it just strikes me as … fake.

    ❤ ❤

  16. May 22, 2011 7:51 pm

    Oh Lord this is so true! I get SO mad when I read some of the blogs on my reader….like I literally sit and shake my head as I’m reading! It is a little triggering sometimes, but I’ve come a long way and now I feel more pity than anything. Honestly even the esteemed healthy living bloggers used to impact me in a negative way when my ED was just starting to take hold – if you’re in the wrong mindset, ED can twist anything into a bad influence. Sometimes I still feel uncomfortable reading about all of the exercise people do (I’m still not totally at a point where I can exercise intuitively), but I’m much better about looking at it objectively. Great post!

  17. May 22, 2011 8:05 pm

    You are so so right. There is so much going on behind the scenes that people aren’t aware of. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover because the story inside could be COMPLETELY different! I definitely still catch myself thinking the innocent thought of, “Oh maybe if they’re doing it then I should too.” Then I realise, I don’t even like what they’re eating. I’m rather fond of the food I eat now. Why change? I’m happy and healthy and that’s all that matters.

    You’re a star, Amanda 🙂

    Oh by the way, I bought a ton of chia seeds and I cannot STAND them :\

    xxx

  18. May 22, 2011 8:13 pm

    such an inspirational post.
    this has seriously got me thinking about the way i think about my “own” healthy way of living and i think i have definitely fallen into the trap of comparing myself to these people. like…im jealous of those who can eat crazy amounts of peanut butter. bahaha..but then im like “oh they run 20 miles a day thats why” so maybe i should run that much and i can eat whatever. yeah, not a healthy way of thinking. ill eat my spoonful of peanut butter and feel good about it instead of killing myself trying to run it off.

    anyway, well said. thank you for this. you opened my eyes a little bit. 😀

  19. May 22, 2011 8:22 pm

    Amen!!!
    I once told myself I “should stop eating apples” because I eat more of them than anyone in blog world. SERIOUSLY?!?! Apples are GOOD for you and they are and always have been my favorite fruit.

    Gosh…us humans and our desire and incessant need to compare!

    • Sarah permalink
      May 22, 2011 11:42 pm

      This is beside the point, but check out Hungry Hungry Hippie’s Blog! Elise eats a ton of apples, though she doesn’t always post them because she figures people will get bored seeing so many pictures of apples! I personally wouldn’t, but that’s because apples are my favourite fruit! Instant cure for stomach aches for me too, oddly enough.

      • May 23, 2011 9:16 pm

        Gahhh I agree!! Apples cure my bloated stomach and are the perfect food to munch on! Sweet, crunchy…love!!

  20. May 22, 2011 8:22 pm

    I just read Jenny’s post and then came over here and was like man chia seeds are getting beat up on today! Hahaha but no I totally agree with EVERYTHING you said in this post. I think people are scared to bring it up but you’re right, you never know when bloggers are obsessing over food or lacking energy or not sleeping because most people don’t talk about that side of it. Being “healthy” can get so skewed it is ridiculous. =/

  21. hil permalink
    May 22, 2011 8:25 pm

    thank you thank you thank you. lat night i was feeling so guilty for eating “too late” and for taking way “too many” extra dips into the peanut butter jar. all night and this morning (while reading blogs…) i kept telling myself “that was not healthy! why did you do that?”. btw i really love all of your posts and your food is so beautiful!

  22. Briana permalink
    May 22, 2011 9:23 pm

    Love this.

  23. May 22, 2011 9:41 pm

    This post is brilliant. Like I might even link it in my next post brilliant. I sincerely hope everyone who reads healthy living blogs knows this but unfortunately I don’t think that’s the case. I fall victim to the comparison trap too but try to remind myself that I need to do what works for me and that just doesn’t include being vegan or running a marathon or spending every living second planning out my next meal. For me, that’s just not healthy. Thanks for this post 🙂

  24. May 22, 2011 10:05 pm

    I think it’s awesome to touch on this topic, because this is not very talked about in the blogosphere! I definitely had to take a bunch of blogs off my reader because as “interesting” as they were, they were sort of unhealthy for me to read – mostly blogs that are really militant about their beliefs regarding health/nutrition, and i will admit i am totally susceptible to that kind of brainwashing. I think that just as young women, we will have naturally have these insecurities that cause us to compare ourselves to others – and i often have to step back and ask myself “why are you comparing? that makes no sense” – because you’re right – we never see the entire picture. in fact we probably only see the BEST of the picture. and seriously, every person is different – comparisons never work because no two people are on equal footing. i think comparisons also function on the premise that we are black and white people – when obviously we are totally 3-dimensional and there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. thanks so much for writing about this amanda – it’s definitely encouraging and applicable even to real life, when we (or at least i know i do) compare ourselves to other people!

  25. May 22, 2011 10:06 pm

    Well said! When I started blogging a couple of years back I was still very much in the midst of my anorexia and was often triggered by other blogs (particularly ones which appeared to show very restricted eating patterns and intense exercise regimens). I’ve come a long way since then and make a conscious effort to not compare my habits with other bloggers since I really don’t know the whole picture (and I’ve stopped reading blogs in which I got the vibe that there was some deep s**t being covered up by sunshine and rainbows).

  26. Lilly permalink
    May 22, 2011 10:06 pm

    This post needs to be framed and read by all “healthy” living bloggers/ readers! Seriously, it/ you are amazing! I agree with every single thing you said, and you stated it better then I could imagine. I have no doubt in my mind you are a genuinely wonderfully amazing, brave, beautiful, strong, intelligent person will go on to influence others even more then you already have! I don’t even know you, but from reading your blog I almost feel as tho I do, and you are seriously an idol in my book!

  27. Ashley permalink
    May 22, 2011 10:07 pm

    Wow, what an amazing post! Im glad you reminded me that a blog doesnt show you every second of the writers life. While they may seem okay in writing, the reader really doesnt have any idea what their life is really like or if they need “8 cups of coffee to make it through the day” Ive been through an ED too and sometimes many of these blogs are triggering. Mainly because I constantly compare how much I eat, and exercise, or how thin I look compared to them. In reality, its important to remember that just because someone has a blog doesnt mean they themselves are actually healthy. Its becuase of post like this one that your blog is healthy for me to read 🙂

  28. May 22, 2011 10:45 pm

    I’m still kind of new to this blogging thing, but you couldn’t have said it any better than you did. To be completely honest, I too have caught myself doing many of these things. I only read blogs that make my day better and people who I believe are honest. (You are an example haha). I try hard not to judge, but sometimes I have a really hard time believing what some people say on their blogs/what they eat. I wouldn’t be surprised if people take pics of their so called “Giant pepperoni pizza” and don’t even eat it…let alone taste it. I used to under eat, and sometimes still catch myself going back to that, but ever since I’ve been listening to god, and letting him guide me, I find it much easier. A year ago, there is no way I would even eat peanut butter more than a couple times a week, and now I can eat half a jar a day…and NOTHING HAPPENS…besides having more energy and being happier. Ps. That scramble looks amazing

    • May 23, 2011 6:30 am

      I’ve wondered that as well… It’s like, yeah, those are some nice cookies you baked there, but did you actually eat one? Or just take a bunch of pictures and give them all away. Hrm…

  29. Sarah permalink
    May 22, 2011 11:46 pm

    I completely agree. There have been tons of blogs I stopped reading for these reasons. I even sometimes finding myself going back to them every now and again, in hopes that they will have improved. They never do! With that said, I don’t really like when readers ‘call out’ bloggers for what they are eating in response to a particular blog post. I’m not talking about generalised posts like this. I am talking about when readers comment on blog posts with things like “Oh, I see you’re going back to your anorexic ways” or “You need to loosen up an eat some cake!” or “Is that all you eat? Girl, you need to eat WAY more than that!” Maybe it gives some people pause to reconsider their food choices, but I think in general it’s not the right way to approach someone. If you’re really concerned about a blogger, and you think they might be open to listening to what you have to say, I think a carefully worded email can be more effective.

  30. May 23, 2011 1:23 am

    I thought this as soon as I stepped into the blog-world. There are too many WIAW posts that look like they max out on 1250 calories, with sidenotes referencing the heavy workout they started the day on & how they planned on hitting up another class later.
    When I first started the recovery process, I saw this & thought “wow, I could do that too”, but it took a matter of days for me to think “HELL NO, I wanna use “real” ingredients!”
    I try not to read the blogs of obviously disordered bloggies; I find I fall prey to the comparison game & feel guilty for eating “as much” as I do.
    I know I’m far from “perfect”, but I’m learning to embrace full-flavoured, “real” foods & adopt the view that “healthy” 100% of the time isn’t necessarily healthy.

  31. czechvegan permalink
    May 23, 2011 3:57 am

    This is all so true! I also sometimes found myself looking at heatlhy living blogs, thinking “if only I would be that perfect…”, but it leads to nothing but punishing your body and mind for no obvious reasons! If being vegan works for you, do it! If you love meat nad want to eat it, do it! If you like coffee with cream and 3 sugars in it – well, let´s drink it and enjoy your cup. Too much time do we spend thinking about our food choices that we sometimes forget about other important things, like fun, taste, company, comfort… It may become freakish difficult to enjoy a glass of ice coffee with ice-cream and pancakes with you best friends, when you think only about fats and carbs and cholesterol:/ Not that it is not important, it is! But the saying “moderation is the key” ain´t another cliché, it is a great message!!

  32. May 23, 2011 4:02 am

    Love this, thanks for writing it. Hopefully it’ll open eyes to some people.

  33. May 23, 2011 4:37 am

    This was such an important topic! I struggled a long time with comparing before accepting the way my body functions as opposed to the way other bloggers eat. Sorry, but 1/3 cup of oats in the morning doesn’t cut it for me, and it probably never will . And that’s perfectly ok!

    Thanks for writing this – it’s seems obvious but it’s a good thing to remember.

  34. May 23, 2011 5:28 am

    Amanda, I. love. you. Seriously.
    Thankyou.
    With someone who has suffered from an ED and is still trying to find a healthy balance, comparing myself to other bloggers has made such an impact on my life. I started to change my diet, started to compulsively exercise and my family couldn’t understand where it was all coming from. Now I’m in a healthier mind-set thank god, I’m finding out what works for ME.
    I’m sick and tired of seeing blogs where they punish themselves for eating carbs and living on protein only diets, eating white pasta/bread/rice saying that they feel bloated and disgusting just from the ONE time that they had it, punishing themselves for having too much FRUIT for god’s sake because it has too much sugar?! I mean what the hell, fruit is the healthiest thing ever! Making everything a ‘healthier’ version of everything when HELLO, cakes and sweets exist because they’re supposed to be a treat and actually taste good rather than a piece of fat-free, sugar-free CRAP. Only allowing themselves to have fats that are healthy, eating egg whites, having smoothies as a meal – um just because it’s in a bowl doesn’t make it a meal? And the whole sandwich thin / bagel thin thing. The list just goes on…what is wrong with some normal food?!
    I’m not saying I’m perfect. I am still finding my balance. But what I won’t ever do, is influence other people by saying how much exercise I do and everything I eat in a day because at the moment I do too much of both. But the difference is, is that I KNOW that. And I won’t let that affect other people because I know how it feels to be affected by these kind of things. I’m still trying to find my balance but in the meantime, I like to post things that are healthy and happy and not triggering.
    Please please keep these kind of posts coming because the way that you put it is truely PERFECT. Thankyou so so much ❤ xx

  35. May 23, 2011 5:28 am

    This is a must-read. Amanda. Your words are wise, and behind them lies years of experience with an unhealthy obsession with being healthy.
    Comparing ourselves to other people is not a constructive way to live. Take inspiration from reciepes, sure – but basing your needs and preferences on other peoples eating? Not a good idea. Recovery is about getting in touch with the one we are, the body we walk around in. And that body doesn’t give a shit about what other people eat or like, all it cares about is itself. Which is also what we should focus on, and not feel guilty for not eating this or that. or for the fact that we need more food than other people. We should take pride in nourishing ourself well, in honouring and loving our own individuality.

    I had to stop reading a lot of blogs because they made it hard for me to distinguish between an unhealthy obsession with being healthy and what I actually love to eat. I like quite a lot of “unhealthy” food, and for me it is fundamental to accept this and to learn to eat it once in a while without guilt or fear.
    Besides, as you write, a blog only present a partial view of reality. A lot can be going on behind the pictures and words.

    Keep being the one you are Amanda – I’m SO glad you are back because your voice is important.

  36. May 23, 2011 5:47 am

    This post was so well written and you completely hit the nail on the head! When I first started reading “healthy” living blogs last year, I had so many that I followed on a daily basis. I definitely fell into the comparison trap back then, cutting out meat because others did, only drinking almond milk as opposed to cow’s, trying new exercises, etc. Since then, I have stopped reading the blogs that negatively influence me or make me feel bad about the choices I am making with my daily eats and fitness schedule.
    The subject of this post is actually one of the reasons I started my own blog. I want to write about my life as it is. I am quite interested in nutrition, running, and fitness, yet I have been struggling with disordered eating for about 7 years at this point. On my blog I talk about my interests, but also my struggles around food and feeling “fat” and the recovery process. Right now, my life is full of ups and downs and I talk about this with honesty. I express my setbacks, fears, and victories on my blog and doing so has helped in recovering and has been an incredibly rewarding process.

  37. May 23, 2011 5:51 am

    fuck yes!

    now excuse my language but you’ve just become one of my favourite bloggers.
    i agree and relate to ever little bit of this post. i cant staaaaaaaaaand reading all these others girls blogs with their 0% this and their flour alternative, high fiber, low carb, high protein superfood, organic fresh natural, no added anything, grain bullshit!
    its like some big self pity party just waiting for an innocent vulnerable girl to stumble upon and fall into the trap themselves!
    fucki hte comparisons.

  38. May 23, 2011 6:18 am

    OMG yes .. seriously u wrote this so beautifully and im so glad u did! when i first started reading blogs last year i still had ED thoughts and i def wud compare myself and gah it was horrible.. at the same time.. i developed healthy habits and really FOUND myself which im SO glad i did! and now i never compare myself anymore!

  39. May 23, 2011 6:24 am

    add on: but in a way i also feel like ppl can be too critical… like okay they had egg whites or okay they had a sandiwch thin.. like theres nothing wrong with it as long sas the person is still getting enough for their body and isnt obsessive and doesnt eat the same thing and all the Ed behaviors.. i mean not everyone who eats ‘diet products’ has an ED so in a way i think ppl can be too critical!

  40. May 23, 2011 7:23 am

    I will probably repeat all the 50+ comments before mine but yes, that’s the truth – in the blog world healthy is way too often anything but healthy. I remember reading blogs where everything was organic, seasonal, almost raw, vegan, fat-free, gluten free, manically planned while running the daily 10 miles, cooked in between the yoga class and the gym session and topped with a miserable square of 100% organic dark chocolate from Nicaragua because, yes, healthy-living people can enjoy their sweet treats, too. I felt like crap because organic food was either not available or too expensive, I couldn’t live without milk and cheese and one square of chocolate or five almonds were never enough. I believed that all of my junk food cravings would send me straight to hell although trying to live on photosynthesis had already created my personal hell. Now it doesn’t bother me that much because I realize that my needs aren’t the same as those of other people and that other people have the right to choose the healthiest way to ruin their health but I can choose something different for my life and give my body adequate nourishment for all the crazy things I make it do 🙂 .

    Now excuse me, but I have some more almonds to eat before I go to bed and no health blog in the world can make me stop before my tummy says it’s enough 😛 .

  41. May 23, 2011 7:41 am

    Thanks so much for this post. It’s a real reminder to the truths we know and only think we know. Be you, be happy, and look for inspiration – not perfect models of health. Thanks again!

  42. May 23, 2011 8:18 am

    This is brave and brilliant. I feel the #1 thing ladies need to understand is that no matter if you are the most real and raw blogger, or one who just puts up the pretty stuff, its still ONLY a computer screen and there is ONLY so much you can share when in reality minute by minute of individual lives is so much more complex than what you may have an hour to type out each day!

  43. Katherine permalink
    May 23, 2011 9:36 am

    I am so right here, as I am trying to recover from an eating disorder. I am using my blog to get out in this amazing community and learn more and figure out where I fit in with this all. I would always be open to someone telling me that I am not being healthy. I mean hell, I know I am still in recovery, and this might need help every now and then. I do have to be careful on reading other foodie blogs though.

    I know that this might not be proper, but I am very desperate and I just am needing to reach out to the blogging community. Please read this blog-the second issue addressed-to understand. http://divinelyvegan.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/very-important-post-help-needed/

  44. May 23, 2011 9:45 am

    agreed. Healthy living blogs can be such a trigger…
    i TRY not to read them sometimes…. i never though about it how you wrote it… but it makes complete sense…
    I eat an apple for breakfast… where is used to be oatmeal apple, protien powder, and PB… I MAKE my breakfast… but i just end up ditching it…
    and its all exactly what you posted.. * she eats only X amount so that means I should too, or even less!*.. etc..
    i am trying so hard.. its why I stopped blogging for so long… I miss blogging though.
    I have NEVER ate oats.. but since blogging, its my go to… i havent had them in over 2 months.. 😦 i dont know whats stopping me now…
    anyways..
    xoxox LOVE this post. ❤

    • Joie permalink
      May 23, 2011 5:44 pm

      I relate to this Devon.

      And you know what?
      I’m literally at a scary scary low weight. I can’t bear to stand up or move or even type on my computer. I can’t touch my body or look at myself in the mirror. At night, I worry my heart my fail.
      I’m mad.
      So. Very. Mad.

      I’ve destroyed my body. I used to run half-marathons and was revered by my community and friends as awesome.
      And now? Nothing.
      And admittedly, Blogs were a huge factor in that…I compared and compared (like to my sister also)…the ‘no-grain” fad, this and that…I listened to others and NOT to myself..

      So how do I forgive myself Amanda?

      How do I forgive myself?

      Because I am now literally on bed-rest. Bed rest for maybe a full year or more. I’ll never run again.

      How do I forgive myself?

      Right now, I just pray to live. Every day. A selfish prayer. But I hope. To truly avoid hospital and to cm by cm make it better each day. WHile I lie in bed or sit in my chair.
      Quite literally.

  45. May 23, 2011 10:00 am

    Great post! I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately where bloggers keep trying to compare their daily intake of food to others. Just do what works best for you. Everyone is different. I thought about vegetarian once until my bf made me realize that I was doing it because everyone else on the blogging world was doing it and not because it was what I wanted.

  46. May 23, 2011 12:18 pm

    you are so inspiring and it’s so true! I love this post! Everyone is different and we all need to fuel our bodies differently and yeah I read others blogs and go wow maybe I should be vegan to be “healthier” but that’s not healthy to me. I feel like it would do more damage at this point than good. Such a great post! This is why I always come back to your blog to read 🙂

  47. May 23, 2011 1:29 pm

    SO true!! Thank you for posting this. I used to fall into the trap of comparing my meals/workouts to other bloggers until I realized they’re most likely not sharing everything they eat or even do with us. Heck, I only share about 10% of what I actually eat in the day! Plus, if they are suffering from exhaustion during workouts or whatever, most won’t admit it to appear healthier than they may actually be. Reader beware, for sure.

  48. May 23, 2011 1:32 pm

    AWESOME post again!! I did a post like this (called The Comparison Trap funnily enough!) and it is SUCH an important issue!! It really REALLY used to affect me, but now I just don’t read blogs that I know will have a negative effect on me. And haha I TOTALLY know what you mean about the WIAWs too!! 😛

    For me, the biggest thing that bugs me is the measuring and control! Like exactly 3/4 cup of cereal, or exactly 1 tbsp of PB. Yeah I just pour out my cereal and spoon/finger straight from the jar! 😉

  49. May 23, 2011 3:20 pm

    you are soooo right!! in some ways it totally motivates me to read other blogs, but on certain days it feels oddly defeating if I am not doing what they are. great post!

  50. May 23, 2011 4:23 pm

    SOOOOOOO so so true. I do this ALOT, and I dont even mean too!! I seriously am motivated by bloggers when they post their food and workouts, because it makes me think well if they can do it then I can do it too!! Of course then if I can’t do it, I feel bad about myself. Why can she run 8 miles and I can barely run 2? It’s hard to remember that we are all DIFFERENT, and we all react to different things. Maybe she can run 8 miles, but I can probably jump higher. I just try to remind myself everyday that I don’t want to be HER, I want to be the best ME

  51. May 23, 2011 6:51 pm

    This has to be one of the besst posts I’ve ever read. Honestly, it is so true. People don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. Blogs are like reality TV – we only see what the writer wants you to see. I’ve falledn into comparing myself with other bloggers sometimes and thought “oh well if she can do it, then so can I”. Um… no! I know I need to fuel and love my body so I am not tired, cranky, and lifeless! So, no thank you!

  52. May 23, 2011 7:03 pm

    ahhh YES! FINALLY!!!!! I have been thinking this for so so long and biting my tongue on this issue for months now! Thank you for saying what desperately needs to be said! Noone is perfect and no eating style is perfect for everyone! and the undereating, good and bad labeling and over exercising has goooot to go! it makes me cringe! all the judgement that people pass on one another for eating different things has go to go too. omg!

    The main reason behind me starting WIAW was to show that even though I went to school for nutrition — I still eat normal things! and I also eat what I want and what makes me happy — and encourage others to do the same! I purposely don’t talk about my “classification” either. Vegetarian/carnivore/vegan/pescatarian…ugh enough labels!!! I do what is best for my body and follow my intuition and I don’t want to subliminally make someone feel guilty about their choices — so I keep my status to myself 😉

    ok i’m obv. rambling — this post is amazing girl! thanks for saying what i’ve wanted to say with all my heart — you did a great job and it came out FABULOUS ❤

  53. May 23, 2011 10:30 pm

    I LOVE THIS POST. but I don’t have enough brain cells to write a coherent response, plus you said it all so well! 🙂


    n

  54. May 24, 2011 12:10 am

    yet another pose i could have seriously written myself! YES amen to everything girl!!!!!!!!!!

  55. May 24, 2011 7:39 am

    I definitely think that everyone has to do what is right for them!! That is one of the hard things about our genre of food/exercise/life blogs!! They can trigger a lot of guilt patterns/ guilt talk, if we arent aware of it and prepared!! I am learning more and more that I have to do what is right FOR ME and me only. And that might not be going to the gym… that could just be hiking and walking, and occasionally doing weights….. not taking spin classes 4 times a week, or running marathons! 🙂

  56. May 24, 2011 1:01 pm

    I just wrote a post very similar to this yesterday! You make valid points that I failed to mention. Thanks for sharing, I am glad I have clawed my way out of this trap.

  57. May 24, 2011 2:41 pm

    What a great post! I could not agree with you more!

    I have fallen into the comparison trap too!

    Obviously no one wants to hear doom and gloom all the time, however your article has inspired to write more authentic posts.

    I had a really rough year last year and I didn’t blog about any of it until recently. It felt artificial but I wanted to make my life/relationship appear perfect just like the ones I read about in other blogs.

  58. June 3, 2011 6:05 am

    Just came upon your blog…love how you addressed this difficult issue! It’s been so hard to push myself NOT to compare – but easier now that I can catch when my mind starts going that way

  59. June 5, 2011 7:32 pm

    oh my GOSH i literally JUST realized that you are “back” and i have to say that your blog was the absolute favorite of mind and NEVER EVER triggered me! I am so glad you are back and i will be feverishly catching up on every singly blog post and i love you and i am glad you are back and HI!

    gosh, HI amanda! and just so you know, you are beyond beautiful and so are your words!

    xooxx alexandra!

    and omg i agree with this post completely. you said it so perfectly, it’s sick.

Trackbacks

  1. Reflections: Week 1
  2. The Comparison Trap: Thoughts |
  3. Ponderings | Lauren Loves Good Food
  4. Fiesta Friday Recap | Love, Sweat, and Beers
  5. . on the bright side… .

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