This post might get me in trouble in the blogging world. But I’ve been thinking about it for a while, so I have to get it out there.
I’m a part of a community called Healthy Living Blogs, which, by definition, should include blogs pertaining to all aspects of healthy living: nutrition, fitness, weight lifting, wellness, etc. While yes, there are many different types of blogs under the HLB umbrella, it seems that there is a certain (negative) perception about what an HLB is. And unfortunately, many HLB blogs tend to live up (or down?) to that perception.
While there are many HLBs out there that promote true fitness, wellness, and nutrition, there seem to be just as many that promote much less healthy practices. It seems to me that the blogging world is full of disordered eating and other unhealthy practices, and that many readers look up to and even emulate these lifestyles.
There are countless blogs where people literally talk about eating “bird food”, or whose daily food consumption consists of raw veggies, PB2, and protein powder “pudding” (what the heck is that anyway?). There are blogs out there with emaciated girls posting multiple pictures of themselves and their limited food daily, leading their readers to believe that that’s what healthy living looks like. There are bloggers who flood their Instagram feed with pictures of their emaciated bodies, and the worst part is the commenters who often say things like “I wish I had legs as skinny as yours!” Some blogs make me cringe to click through their pages, seeming more like “pro-anorexia” blogs than promoters of healthy living.
And it’s not just one or two blogs that I’ve noticed with this same sort of message. There are a lot of them. Of course, there are some amazing Healthy Living Blogs out there, those that promote true fitness, nutrition, and overall health. But chatter around the internet (which is a smaller place than people think) leads me to believe that these people – myself included – are the outliers in the HLB community. Or at least that is the perception. There is a lot of talk about what people think HLB’s are, and most of it is not positive.
So my question is this: Should I not be associated with HLBs? Is calling this a Healthy Living Blog tarnishing my reputation before I even write anything? I sure as heck don’t want to be associated with blogs that are promoting extremely unhealthy images and ideas under the guise of being healthy. I don’t want to be a part of something that can be triggering for young readers who may be struggling with disordered eating themselves. I don’t want to be a part of something that could potentially push a young, impressionable reader over the edge into a world of under-eating, over-exercising, and overall unhealthy practices.
What I do want is to reach people of all shapes and sizes, provide a little motivation, inspiration, and information, and help people to become better versions of themselves. My blog is, as far as I’m concerned, about healthy living. Fitness, strength training, nutrition, and general wellness are all under the broad category of healthy living, are they not? But while I don’t want to be associated with the practices I listed above, I don’t want to completely get away from the HLB world either. For every reader who falls into the unhealthy-healthy-living trap, there has got to be one who is looking for real, true information. Instead of backing away from the HLB community, is it unrealistic to think that the perception of HLBs can be changed? If enough truly healthy bloggers emerge and speak up against those that are promoting unhealthy practices, maybe the HLB community can be seen as a truly inspirational group of bloggers, and not just a bunch of girls who compete to see who can eat less and workout more.
Health is not about having unnaturally stick thin legs and hands that look too big on your arms. Healthy living is not about consuming zero carbs and weird concoctions made from protein powder and cottage cheese. Healthy eating does not mean fooling naive readers who believe everything they read on the internet, and leading them to believe that they too should be at a dangerously low body fat percentage. Health is not subsisting on dangerously low calorie levels each day while using food and camera trickery to make it look like you’re eating all day, every day, yet still maintaining an 80 lb frame.
These are things that are dangerous to readers who feel that whatever they’re doing is not good enough, because they can’t ever get their legs to be “that thin”. These are things that promote extremely unhealthy lifestyles, yet they’re proudly promoted by the HLB community. I guess my message here is to readers, bloggers, and the HLB world as a whole. When did those sort of blogs become the Healthy Living norm? And what can we do to change it? If this gets me in trouble, and HLB wants me to take the badge off my blog, than so be it. But I think it’s an important question to put out there. When did healthy living become less about being healthy and more about being (dangerously) thin?