Back When I Ate the “HLB” Way: Blogger Responsibility and Disordered Eating
|November 25, 2013||Posted by Presley under Blogging, Fitness, Life, Motivation, Uncategorized|
[Edited to add: WHY on earth did none of you tell me the title of this said "Blogger Responsibly". I hate my life right now. I guess I muddled Blogging Responsibly and Blogger Responsibility. I am so good at making new phrases, right? Okay, off to crawl in a hole. I'm surprised I didn't write whole there...]
I’ve been wanting to post this for a while. I’ve alluded to how I feel about my eating history, but I’ve never really delved right in. I pretended to be something I wasn’t, I ate things I didn’t really want to eat, I skipped things I did want to eat, and I agonized over every second of it. Looking back, someone should have slapped me square in the face. Luckily, Ryne isn’t much of a fighter. He used his words (<- can you tell I teach small children?) to tell me that I was being an asshat. That’s one of my favorite words, by the way. I’ve never used it on the blog, because it’s immature. But, hey, when the shoe fits.
This photo is still in my “Who’s Who” page, and I need to take it down or crop my disordered self out. Technically, by many standards, I was still healthy at this weight. My body was still functioning and I wasn’t feeling any ill effects of my choices. However, I was at a terrible place mentally. My decisions were not made from a viewpoint that I consider stable or even freaking sane. I forced myself to run that morning at the lake, because I was going to put a bathing suit on. Ridiculous.
Whether or not my body agreed, my mind was sick. I wasn’t myself. The one catalyst for this turn in my life was discovering the HLB world. Healthy Living Bloggers are a special breed, my friends. There is a lot of emphasis placed on food: what you should eat, what you shouldn’t eat, and what you did eat. That being said, some HLBs do a great job of displaying a balanced attitude about food and fitness. I love and respect many of them. I think I just happened to find a few disordered blogger friends in beginning. I won’t go naming names, but I definitely still worry about some of those girls.
I guess my blog could be considered a healthy living blog, too. I like some healthy things. I’m decent at living (I mean, I am alive). I blog about that. So, no, I’m not going to freak out if I am placed in that category at all. And I really do want to stress that I think blogging, reading blogs, and connecting with others can be very beneficial. I’ve mentioned this time and time again, but there is also a very dark side to blogging. At the time that I found “healthy living blogs”, I wasn’t in a frame of mind where they were beneficial to me. They did more harm than good, but I wasn’t in a place where I could see that. I saw the number on the scale drop, and that was good enough for me.
It started innocently enough. I picked up a few things at the grocery store that I saw them mention. Hey, whatever. New food. No big deal. Then I started only eating meals that other HLBs had deemed “healthy”. I’m going to come right out and say that I got effing sick of Greek yogurt, egg whites, smoothie bowls, juices, protein powder, and oats. I started viewing meals as numbers and rules instead of food. Y’all. You should see the dessert abominations I recreated. It’s so gross to think back to that. I like frosting. Real frosting. Without protein. I’m seriously sad about the desserts I skipped during my journey to “health”. Anyway, I digress. For some people, I suppose that’s a totally sustainable lifestyle. For me, it was restrictive and harmful to my actual health. My body thrives off of a decent chunk of calories and a large amount of fat.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I don’t want this to keep happening to other people. It sucks that it is even a topic of discussion, but it seems to be an all too common issue. Girl meets blogs. Girl gets confused. Girl eats bird food. Girl gets sick. Sick girl starts her own damn blog. It’s a vicious cycle.
I really didn’t come on here in order to point fingers or to place blame. At the end of the day, I was the one who was making myself sick. At the same time, though, I do feel that bloggers have a tiny bit of responsibility, ya know? I think the most glaring examples are people who promote unhealthy behaviors to young girls. If you are facing your own challenges, more power to you. You deserve to get to a healthy place, and I sincerely hope you put forth the effort to get there. Until you do, get the hell off the internet. Call me a jerk, but I would be afraid to let my daughter surf the web these days. It’s just too easy to confuse fact with fiction when someone is preaching from the “healthy living” pulpit.
As a blogger myself, I realize “being responsible” is much harder than it looks. Some seemingly normal statements can become twisted in the mind of someone who is battling an eating disorder. For instance, I’ve mentioned that sometimes I still work out to look good. At the end of the day, I still do think that’s a totally reasonable motivator. It can quickly become detrimental, though. It’s all about the mental state you are in at the time. Hell, it still happens to me and I consider myself to have a relatively healthy view on life. Can you, as a blogger, ensure that you will never utter a triggering thought or post a triggering photo? No, you can’t. But I think you can be mindful of the things you are saying and posting. I try, but I’m sure I fall short in many ways. The fact that I tracked my pregnancy weight gain and subsequent weight loss probably sent red flags flying for many people. I ultimately saw it as more of a science experiment than anything. Should I have shared the numbers and photos with everyone? I’m not sure. I don’t really know the answer to that. It’s hard for me to find the line between authenticity and sensitivity. I like telling y’all how I really feel. I don’t like BS. But at the same time, I don’t want to hurt anyone with my words. It’s tough, and I’m constantly working at it. I don’t think there is a perfect way to do it.
I’ve pretty much broken down the ways I decide on what blogs to read. I always ask myself a few questions before I hit that follow button:
Is it inspiring or instigating? Does it make me feel good or bad? Unfortunately, there are so many blogs that don’t inspire me. If I start to feel like I’m questioning myself, my health, or my own motives, I simply split. I don’t return to those blogs, just like I wouldn’t keep hanging around with people who didn’t make me feel good about myself. Don’t let a blog make you feel inferior. Read the blogs that boost you up while helping you achieve your goals, if that’s what you’re looking for. Don’t read garbage, or you’ll feel like garbage.
Is the core focus qualitative or quantitative? I prefer blogs with a pretty well-rounded, balanced approach to life. I don’t mind when people track their weight, how many reps they can complete in a workout, or the miles they’ve logged. I’ve done all of those things myself. When it comes down to it, though, I want to see that the people aren’t totally driven by those things. I like to read about a person, not a running tally of accomplishments. I want to see people enjoy their lives while making whatever choices are best suited to them.
Is being lean over promoted? Is everything lean this and lean that? Every time I turn on the computer I’m faced with “fitspirational” images teaching me how to tone up and get lean. Lean is the new skinny. I’m not saying there is anything at all wrong with actually being (or promoting being) lean. I just think that it has somewhat become a new catchphrase for an old problem, ya know? I see the same restrictive tendencies and disordered thinking. Similarly, “fitspo” tends to be the exact same thing as “thinspo”. “Fitspo” to me would mean healthy, strong bodies. That isn’t always the case, and that’s terribly sad.
Do I leave feeling guilty? This has less to do with my self worth, and more about wanting to intervene for the sake of the other person. While you can never get the whole picture of person’s life from a blog, I do believe you can get glimpses into someone’s mindset. I obviously don’t think that it’s my place to decide who is actually disordered, but I can at least stay away from the people who I think have disordered tendencies. I tend to feel guilty for reading those blogs, because I feel like I should say something.
Well, crap, I didn’t realize this was going to get as wordy as it did. I’ve told y’all a million times that I get on here and just start typing. I have too many thoughts and opinions, I guess. I don’t really know how to end this, except to tell you one thing: I truly hope you read this blog for fun, and if I ever make you feel badly about yourself I give you full permission to publicly curse me out. But seriously, if you ever find yourself questioning your self-worth because of blogs or social media, take a break from the internet. It will do you a world of good. For those bloggers who are struggling themselves, I hope you get the help you need.
Now I’ve got to decide if I want to run my three miles tonight. The pro is that I’ll go to bed with a sense of accomplishment, the con is that I won’t get to go to bed right this minute. Decisions, decisions.