So, What is Healthy?

If you read or write a “healthy living” blog, you’ve probably heard about the Marie Claire Article on food blogging. The jist: a journalist (I use this term lightly) contacted several big name bloggers (some of whom I read and love) about healthy living blogs. The guise of her article was entirely different from what she actually wrote. Instead of talking about a wonderful community that has supported healthy life choices for so many women (myself included) or raising issues while addressing both sides, the author instead attacked these six bloggers. Elements of their lives and singular details were taken out of context.

I’m all for a good debate. I think it makes people think and grow. I think this article has inadvertently gotten the blogging community to address some important issues. But, I completely disagree with the way in which this was achieved. Disordered eating and compulsive exercising should not be taken lightly and no journalist should attempt to diagnose six different women (or an entire community of bloggers, for that matter) with these things based on limited interactions and a few interviews.

I’ve read all six of the blogs the author references and read three just about daily. Have I ever wondered or worried about a blogger’s choices? Of course I have. Do I find it hard to believe that someone is satisfied after a “dessert” of a small piece of chocolate? You bet your buttons I do.


(Because I could eat a dozen cupcakes and still want another.)

But, this is their healthy living – these are their choices. Overall, I don’t see anything in these six bloggers that is cause for concern when viewed as a whole. Sure, they post a lot of pictures and talk a lot about eating and working out. Those are two huge components of healthy living. 

What the author of the Marie Claire article missed was the inspiration and education. So most of these bloggers don’t have degrees in nutrition or fitness – and they freely own that. I take everything I read with a grain of salt. I know they are sharing their experiences and what has worked for them. I appreciate their willingness to share so that other folks might gain from their experiences. Also, before I read these blogs, I never really cared much about running and I always gave up after a block or two of being out of breath. Now I pursue it and love the way I feel after a run. Reading race recaps drives me to be better.

Pacers Running Festival 2010
(I’m the one in day-glow yellow!)

I’m a slow runner so I’ll never attain their speeds; I know that. However, it doesn’t make me feel badly about my efforts. I am not Meghann or Tina or Caitlin or Jenna, etc. I am Anna and I have a healthy self-esteem and self worth. These women all promote feeling healthy and beautiful. I have never felt pressured to adhere to their lifestyle. What they can do and what works for them won’t be a perfect fit for my life. But they can inspire me. And they do. Ladies, thank you for your candor, honesty, and willingness to share. I am so sorry you were attacked in a national forum for this.

I sincerely hope that this food blogging community continues to receive attention from the national media. However, I also hope that future publications are smart enough to feature both sides of a story as opposed to showing a singular, biased, and unsubstantiated point of view. One woman’s opinion of the healthy living blog community should not be treated as fact or news.

A healthy living “blogger” who isn’t afraid of a good meal (or cleaning her plate). No blog imposed disordered eating here!

Spring Variety 110


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5 responses to “So, What is Healthy?

  1. It was a pleasure meeting you the other day! I do think that there are some issues about healthy living blogging that isn’t discussed because the community is pretty tight knit, and hopefully the Marie Claire article ignites good old fashioned RESPECTFUL, healthy debate. The article itself however, was not well written, which is a shame, because there are certainly flaws to healthy living blogging. I’m glad you’ve gained a lot from blogging, I have too! Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Well said, missy. I agree – and would have welcomed an article with both sides, constructive criticism, etc. Unfortunately, this wasn’t it. Love the running picture and i’m like you, love being inspired by other bloggers!!

  3. The issues that the article attempted to address (dangerous food obsessions, were completely diminished by the fact they chose the 6 worst examples in the world. I do know they exist out there – I can think of one young woman that I still read that would shock me how little she would eat, but exercise at least 3 hours intensely a day. It sure makes sense to me that women with those tendencies and obsessions would be out there.

    I think if anything, the “Big 6” (hah, ridiculous label) have very instrumental in showing me that I CAN have a healthy relationship with food. That I can still enjoy the foods I love, but with balance and moderation.

    The “journalist” really missed the mark and the opportunity to educate and illustrate both the positives and the negatives of the community in general. Such a shame that sensationalism and bad journalism had to hurt some ladies that were actually doing a little bit of good.

  4. Allison

    This post is great! I definitely agree with everything that you pointed out on the topic. I was at the blog meetup the other day also, sorry we didn’t get to meet there but hopefully another time!

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