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Posts Tagged ‘eating disorders’

here’s the thing

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

My plan this week was to review all six blogs mentioned in the Marie Claire article.

I’m not going to do that, for two very good reasons. The first is that this is the week of midterms, and I have no idea what the hell I was thinking. Crockett has seen nothing but the back of my head, my brain literally feels like a muscle that I’ve over-exercised, and I haven’t taken a single test yet.

The other, better reason, is that I feel like sort of an asshat.

I let Marie Claire, a magazine that currently has a photoshop yourself ‘virtual weightloss tool’ on their homepage, suggest to me that some women were doing something wrong. Some women that do what I do every day – give some lovin to the internets and hope to get some in return.

Remember that day when I drew a silly picture? Or that day that I was freaking miserable and wrote some barely coherent a blah-didi-blah? Or that plethora of days when I purposely didn’t write about something that was going on, because it was was too painful or because it would make me sound like a whiner or because it was as much Crockett’s secret or Star’s secret or someone else’s secret as mine?

What I’m trying to say is that these women, the two that I already wrote about and the four that I didn’t, are doing their best, and they’re sharing those attempts. I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t find thinly veiled references to pro-ana lifestyles. I found  some chicks who I would totally run with during a marathon. At least, until mile 18. At mile 18 I get mother fucking cranky and none of them would want to run with me.

Anyway, sorry. I’m sorry for not finishing if you were interested, and I’m sorry for starting if you already knew what I discovered.  I am glad I found out for myself, though.

Day 1: Carrots ‘n’ Cake

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

In case you missed it yesterday, this week I’m reviewing the ‘big six’ bloggers that Marie Claire recently suggested may be promoting unhealthy eating. Earlier today I talked about Kath Eats.

Carrots ‘n’ Cake is written by Tina, who lives in Boston. (I would really like to go to Boston some day.) She’s married to a nice seeming fella named Mal, and they have a pug named Murphy. Her blog has led to a book deal, which basically makes her the queen of the universe.

It was hard for me to approach this blog with my serious face on, because Murphy is adorable, but I did my best.

Like Kath, Tina gained weight in her early twenties and has now lost it. Perhaps all ‘healthy living’ bloggers follow this format? This actually happened to me too. I gained weight in the last year of college and the first two after I graduated, and one day I woke up and realized I was a smidge heavier than I’d realized.

Not that I said ‘than I’d realized’ – not ‘than I should be’.  About her weight gain, Tina said something similar, but with a different spin.

I saw photos from our trip. Looking at the physical proof, I was embarrassed by how much weight I had gained. Every photo was a “bad” photo of me. I was so depressed that I threw most of them away.

Both  of the blogs I’ve looked at today have that same theme. That weight is embarrassing and that thinness will lead to approval. This, right here, is the theme that I was hoping not to find in these blogs. I wanted to find that these women were eating and running and writing about it without talking about how much better it made them look. Obviously, that was somewhat unrealistic.

I was a chubby kid and sort of stretched out in high school (prior to my post college shape change). I remember my father giving me a workout and diet book, and one of the tips was ‘eat fewer calories. If you normally eat two pieces of chicken, eat one. If you normally eat one, eat half.’ I was twelve or thirteen and I expressed to my dad that she didn’t seem to have put in a lower bound, and that that sounded like anorexia waiting to happen. He said that no, that’s just how you lose weight – you eat less. Technically true, sure, but not the best way to approach health and nutrition.

I dig that Tina doesn’t seem touting the ‘eat less’ philosophy. There are no pictures of muffins with a single bite taken out (ahem, Kath) – instead, there are cupcakes and lattes and big bowls of oatmeal. Overall, I like this one and have actually added it to my RSS feed. Triggers? 0.

Day 1: Kath Eats

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

In case you missed it yesterday, this week I’m reviewing the ‘big six’ bloggers that Marie Claire recently suggested may be promoting unhealthy eating.

Kath Eats Real Food: My Life Through Food.

Kath is a registered dietitian, as of two months ago. She’s married and lives in Charlottesville, and she started blogging three years ago in a private blogging community on Her first blogs are all recipes and calories counts.

She has lost thirty pounds since she started blogging.

Quote I find mildly concerning:

I got married on June 2, 2007 and know the day wouldn’t have been as wonderful if I were 30 pounds heavier, but instead I had people telling me all evening how tiny my waist looked in my dress!

Meal I find mildly concerning:

This was her recovery meal after a seven mile run. I know that she’s a small woman, but this is a large bowl of salad and a very small bowl of yogurt and cereal. This doesn’t seem to be the usual for her, though – there are plenty of pictures of bowls full of oats and granola and peanut butter too.

Quote I find reassuring:

And by all means if you’re hungry, EAT!! Food is fuel for your brain, cells, muscles, heart, lungs. The body needs calories to function. And remember, if you put food quality, nutrition and health first, the numbers don’t matter as much.

My vote? So so.  In reading through her blogs, it seems that her personal food intake has gone down as her readership has gone up. While it’s great that she repeatedly returns to the idea that what works for her doesn’t work for everyone, she’s at best giving lip service to the idea that weight is just one of many facets of health and happiness. Is her blog likely to be a trigger? No more so than something like Weight Watchers. She doesn’t seem to shy away from any particular nutritional category (fat or carbs, for example). One of the concerns that Marie Claire raised was that in person she didn’t seem to actually eat everything that she photographed. I can’t make claims about that one way or the other, obviously, so right now I’m going to take her word for it. Sure, maybe she doesn’t always refuel perfectly after runs, but it looks like she tries.

I do wish that she’d acknowledge the pressures that led her to lose the weight and keep it off. I know that this is my prejudice, but body image is not created in a vacuum. You know how I know?

…the day wouldn’t have been as wonderful if I were 30 pounds heavier…I had people telling me all evening how tiny my waist looked in my dress.

That’s how.

Living healthy, living thin

Monday, October 11th, 2010

We’re putting on our serious faces again today, people.

I know. But we have some important things to discuss.

I’m referring to the Marie Claire article, The Hunger Diaries.

Marie Claire caused some serious OMIGOD ITSTHEENDOFTHEWORLD issues in a certain blogging community lately. Just as there are mommy bloggers, there are ‘healthy living’ bloggers. The bloggers aren’t people who write about food because of food itself – they are instead people who write about what they eat and how much they exercise, how they take care of their nutritional needs and manage their weight, and sometimes, how you can do it too. The article Marie Claire published suggested that maybe, these bloggers weren’t promoting a healthy lifestyle as much as you might hope.

The article focused on the ‘big six’ of this community. (You can find them here, here, here, here, here and here, if you’re interested.) They’re all women, as are the majority of the readers and writers of these types of blogs, and they’re open with things like their height, their weight, and their struggles to exercise and eat healthy.

Marie Claire suggested that these women are, at best, occasionally practicing disordered eating, and that at worst they are encouraging other women to do the same.

I have intentionally never listed my height and weight on this blog, even though I blog about body image regularly. If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m a shorty, and hopefully that’s about it.

I have also recovered from an eating disorder.

I think this makes me the perfect person to review these websites. I am, in fact, fairly easily triggered. When I was in the thick of it, I would check out armloads of cookbooks from the library, reading them, looking at pictures, and even transcribing the recipes. I did this in lieu of actually eating intelligently, and there was absolutely nothing sensible about that. I can read about food, now. I regularly do so, if for no other reason than exposure – if I see pictures of and read about deliciousness every day, I’m less likely to be surprised by something that makes me feel like I used to. I even have a blog of pictures of things that I eat, although I’m quite the slacker about keeping it updated.

The last thing I want is to do or say or write something that would ever in the history of ever contribute to an unbalanced view of food and eating and health that someone else might have. Most of these women, since the publication of the article, have expressed a similar opinion.

Maybe they just don’t know, though. If they never had a full blown disorder, maybe they’re not familiar with the disordered eating that can follow a woman through her whole life without ever being diagnosed. Or, maybe they’re actually teaching healthy food and healthy living and the Marie Claire article picked a few bad examples. Or? Maybe they are in fact touting an unhealthy lifestyle with the main goal being thinness.

Without reading them, I can’t say for sure.

I’m devoting this week to reviewing each of these sites. I’ll go into their archives, since they’re likely being more attentive to this issue since the publication of the article. I’ll take into account any statement they may have made in their own defense.

Will this end up meaning anything to anyone? Perhaps not. Maybe by the end of the week I’ll be a convert, and Mangled Baby Duck will be the newest of the ‘healthy living’ blogs. Either way, I want to know. I want to know if our societal obsession with weight has led to an entire corner of our internets being quite publicly turned into a community for those with borderline eating disorders. Because? It means something to me.

sexy sexy

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

I realize I’m a little behind the curve here, but what the hell is wrong with this commercial of a very sexy woman in her underwear?

If you object to commercials with semi-naked women period, fine. Object away.  I’m sure you’ll hate this, for example:

However, if you (like the advertising decision makers at ABC) object to the Lane Bryant ad but not the Vicky’s Secret ad, I’m a little confused. Are plus size women somehow more naked than skinny women? I’ll admit there’s more of the Lane Bryant model (in places that I sometimes wish I had more), but there are like four women in the VS ad, so on a skin for skin ratio VS is definitely the worse offender. Plus, those women sort of look like they’re orgasming in waterfalls, and the LB woman is getting ready for a date (albeit a risque one). Are there other guidelines they’re using that I’m missing?

One of Lane Bryant’s supporters (not the company themselves, as far as I can tell) created this rebuttal ad:

I don’t necessarily think this is the right response. Body acceptance means all bodies, y’all – yes, sometimes skinny woman go to unhealthy lengths to be thin, but sometimes they don’t. Sometimes curvy women are sedentary and big eaters, and sometimes they aren’t. The whole book-cover-judger thing goes both ways, right?