Who has read the Marie Claire article about healthy living bloggers? Titled, “The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Can Be Putting You At Risk”, it sounds quite scary. Marie Claire took a look at six bloggers, which have been named the “big six” by their fans, and found that they are more disordered in their eating and exercising habits than they are healthy. The article suggests that these food-obsessed, exercise-addicted women are sending unhealthy messages to their readers though they claim to be healthy-living bloggers.
The article gives several examples of alarming posts and what appears to be disordered eating. Destroying food such as brownies and cookies so they are no longer appetizing, showing regret over eating too much, posting photos of every morsel of food all exemplify obsession, according to this article. These women also post their “hurculeic” workouts which are believed to be extreme by many (i.e. running 22 miles and ending a post with “I’m starving!”). I think we can all relate to that one.
Of course after reading this article I had to visit each of these 6 blogs to see what all the fuss is about. I expected to see rail thin women and photos of lettuce and carrots on a plate. Funny thing, they all appeared harmless and true to their healthy blogging credo. They reminded me a lot of our blogs, actually. They don’t have Masters Degrees or PhDs in exercise science or nutrition and neither do most of us, but we write about our experiences. I don’t claim to be an expert and neither do any of these women. Granted, we sometimes offer up advice (and you all know I push my vegan agenda) but we are just bloggers. Readers need to use their best judgment with anything they find on the web.
The blogs appear “pro-healthy eating” but the compulsiveness and lack of self-care they exhibit are worrying.
The only part of this whole healthy blogging community I find troubling is the constant posting of food photos. For a foodie blog I suppose it makes sense. For a healthy living blog I find it unnecessary. This is the part of the article I agreed with:
Then there’s the effect on readers. “The sheer number of food images and intense exercise descriptions can be particularly triggering to eating-disorder-prone followers,” says Dr. Robyn Silverman, a developmental psychologist in Mount Freedom, New Jersey, whose book, Good Girls Don’t Get Fat (published in October), addresses influences on female body image.
As someone that has been food and calorie obsessed in the past, these blogs remind me of my old self. Documenting every thing I ate and then talking incessantly about it. In fact, it was all I talked about. I had a problem. As a woman I worry about other women and hope that isn’t the case for them. On the other hand, we are the owners of our blogs. If we feel like posting pictures of our food, we shall post pictures of our food. I hope if there is an issue it is confronted.
If women are reading these blogs and going to extremes it is because of larger societal pressures and personal issues, in my opinion. There are messages and images, outside of the blogosphere, that I feel we should be more concerned about. I understand these blogs are reaching thousands of women each month but from what I have seen there is much worse to be seen in magazines and on television. These women all appear to be healthy. While eating disorders can’t be seen in a picture or even through a blog, I find images on TV to be more alarming than any photos that appear on these blogs.
These women are blogging about their lives, their health, their woes and their accomplishments. I say BRAVO to them for sharing and receiving hundreds of thousands of hits a month. They have been well received until now, getting sponsored by huge corporations and even receiving book deals. One of these women is also the creator of Project Beautiful, which encourages women to write positive affirmations on post-its leaving them for other women to find.
It may seem nice that Marie Claire was concerned enough to write this piece but then you take a look at the Marie Claire publication itself and quickly see pages of unrealistic crap. And seriously, “The Hunger Diaries”? What kind of title is that? These women are not starving. As long as bloggers aren’t claiming to be experts and aren’t giving unsound advice I say, leave them alone. Blog ‘til the cows come home.
How do you feel about this article?
Do you think healthy living bloggers are often exercise and diet obsessed?