Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Healthy Living Blogs: Inspirational or Confusing?

In the past two years, I've become a passionate follower of many weight loss/healthy living blogs, such as Roni's Weigh, Lynn's Weigh, Escape from Obesity, MizFit, Diet Girl, A Merry Life, Fat Bridesmaid, Questions for Dessert, Mama's Weeds, Joania's Journey, Pasta Queen, Healthy Tipping Point...really, the list could go on and on!

I find all these women amazing and inspirational, however I often fall into the trap of comparing myself to them. I know, I know--comparing yourself to others is usually a horrible idea. But as someone trying to figure out what sort of healthy lifestyle will work best for, for someone trying to get to it again, it's sort of unavoidable. These blogs offer a wealth of information and better yet, they offer the personal perspective of a real, live person that has likely gone through many things I have.

I typically divide these bloggers in my mind--the ones I can relate to and feel inspired by, and the ones that generally leave me feeling bad about myself. For example, I completely relate to Roni from Roni's Weigh, Lyn from Escape from Obesity, Mary from A Merry Life, Miranda from Fat Bridesmaid, Shauna from DietGirl and Jennette from Pasta Queen. These women seem to approach healthy living in way that feels attainable for me. They live busy, normal lives. They enjoy treats often and in moderation. And they slip up frequently, but always get right back on the horse. These women have shown me that it's completely possible to lose and maintain weight by balancing everything and never stopping. They inspire and motivate me.

Then there are the group of bloggers that keep to lifestyles that sound really rigid. I completely support these women and absolutely respect their decision to choose the lifestyle that works best for them. But personally, it sounds impossible. Bloggers like Lynn from Lynn's Weigh and Joania from Joania's Journey seem to have willpower of STEEL. They very, very rarely deviate from their food plans, almost never miss a workout, and make no excuses about their decision to live their lives this way. I find it AWESOME and completely empowering that these women have taken complete control over "calories in and calories out." All the bloggers I follow have most certainly claimed completely control of their lives and are very strong women, but the second group seem to exhibit a level of self control to their diets and exercise regimes that seems almost fanatical. I say this completely from my own perspective, as it's up to every single person to determine what works best for themselves.

The problem I run into is constant self doubt. One the one hand, it feels more comfortable to take a moderate approach to my healthy living journey. I'm trying to make small challenges that add up over time. I let life intervene--a lot, I'll admit. I skip the workout if I'm exhausted or sick. I grab takeout if I've cooked all week and need a break. I have more than one glass of wine if I feel like and the rest of my day has been good.

But then I read these blogs of other people with enviable progress. I begin to wonder if the super slow approach will even get me anywhere. I contemplate getting up at 5 a.m. to exercise every day. I ponder cutting my calories down to less than 1000 a day and quitting coffee and tea. I feel guilty I don't use more organic products. I watch The Biggest Loser and constantly say to my boyfriend, "How can that woman lose 12 pounds in a week and I haven't lost that in a year??"

On the one hand, maybe I should set a program and just stick to it, never giving it another thought. But doesn't that limit the potential benefits of all this blog exposure? Isn't blogging essentially an attempt to connect with and learn from anyone out there who can relate to what you're going through? However, can't it be detrimental to your overall progress to constantly doubt your efforts and consider switching to another plan altogether?


  1. I've been here and sometimes still am here. I read a lot of blogs and over the last two year, especially where it felt like everything was going wrong in my life and I was gaining weight I felt terrible when I compared myself to those other bloggers, especially the fanatical ones with amazing success. It was depressing and made me constantly doubt and switch from program to program. I couldn't figure out how to replicate their successful results even using their methods, and it depressed me.

    I'm watching the Biggest Loser right now and I just commented to michelle that in the same amount of time these people have lose fifty to a hundred pounds... and I've lost 15. Seriously. 15. I am super proud of my progress and happy about how I'm doing, but if I let myself I could totally sit here and feel bad about it because I haven't done as well as the people on the show. I am going to choose not to do that and instead be happy with my progress.

    I think the point is to make the choice not to compare yourself to anyone else. You just can't. We are all different and what works for some people would never work for others. I could never be rigid with my eating. I hate food journaling and forget to do it. I despise counting calories. I can't wake up to work out in the morning - it's just not my thing. I like to eat sweet things once in a while. I'm trying to figure out my own path to health and weight loss figuring in these things. If I try to act like someone else and force there plan on myself I am destined to fail. I've figured that much out for sure.

    As far as blogging goes, yeah it is connecting and learning, but more importantly it is an effort in being self aware. It's YOUR blog, just like its going to be YOUR plan. Blogs that are unique and wonderful are those that the person is truly real and doing there own thing. i'm sure you will figure out what works for you in all areas. It might take a lot of thought and consideration.

    ps- DO NOT cut your calories that low ever! Anything under 1200 is going to harm your body. Not sure who does that, but don't try to copy them!!

  2. I found your blog through Roni's, and loved this post! There are blogs that make me feel inadequate. I wonder why I can't seem to put together 3 perfectly healthy meals, fit in an hour of exercise, and manage to take gorgeous pictures and blog about it all. I am thankful for those that can do that, but it's not the reality of my life right now, and I try to focus on taking a few ideas and some inspiration from each blog and then working them into my world. I like to think we're all really just a work in progress....

  3. Wow, amazing comments!

    Mary, thanks so much for commenting! As I said in my post, I love your blog and you totally inspire me! I think you're right--there's no point in trying to be someone else. I don't want to live a life where I can't have chocolate at least a few times a week! I loved your recent progress post in which you said "I love that I've been able to do this while still eating Hershey's bar etc", or something to that effect. Totally true! It seems like since so many diets fail, the longer term solutions are really much better!

    KC, thanks for stopping by! You don't know how good your comment made me feel. I think focusing on finding new ideas from blogs instead of overhauling everything is an awesome approach.