Monday, October 4, 2010

Lady Mags

It seems like right after I posted a list of my favorite healthy living blogs, Marie Claire wrote a pretty scandalous "take down" that targeted several of the blogs I listed (among others). Basically, Marie Claire accused these bloggers of eating and exercising in a disordered way and being a bad influence on their readers.
As a long time reader of several of the blogs in the article, I was struck by many distortions and inaccuracies that were obvious to me. However, someone who doesn't read those blogs regularly probably would miss a lot of that because the article referenced posts that were written in December and January. Ultimately, my impression of the article is that it was written to be deliberately misleading.
I'm writing this post because I don't want anyone who reads me regularly to think that I would willfully suggest blogs that I believe promote a disordered lifestyle. Here are rebuttals from some of the bloggers who were profiled.
I hope I'm not the only person who immediately sees the irony of a magazine so enmeshed in the beauty industry accusing anyone else of promoting an unhealthy beauty ideal. The link between fashion magazines and poor body image in it's readers isn't exactly a secret. One of the first things I learned years ago in therapy that really changed my life for the better was that reading fashion and beauty magazines was incredibly bad for my self esteem. Now, when I read something I think about how it makes me feel. Reading those magazines does make me feel temporarily entertained but it also makes me feel like I'm not good enough. It makes me want to buy things I don't have and don't need. It makes me feel like I don't make enough money when I can't afford the things they're showcasing. It makes me hate my skin and my hair and my features because I know from experience that I will never look like the women I see in those pages (and neither can they!). But most of all, reading fashion magazines makes me feel fat. That's why I don't read them anymore.
I apply this litmus test to other forms of media I consume. I encourage everyone out there to do the same. I wouldn't read healthy living blogs if they made me feel bad about myself or made me feel like I should eat less. On the contrary, they make me feel like I should eat more- more healthy fats, more vegetables, more whole grains, more great foods that make me feel good and give me energy. Healthy living blogs have inspired me to revamp the way I eat and to become more athletic. This has improved my health and my self esteem.
However, I believe that every person has a responsibility to determine for themselves whether something is good for them.
There was definitely a time in my life when I was eating in a disordered fashion. At that time, I wasn't reading healthy living blogs. I was reading Marie Claire.


  1. This is one of my favorite posts from you, Shelly! GO YOU! I am really proud of your approach to eating and exercising. I love the last line of your post... Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Thanks! I tend to shy away from writing "serious stuff" but I felt like I should write something about this since I just wrote a post praising several of those blogs.

  3. That's a dumb article. It vilifies choosing to eat moderately (what is wrong with only eating a bite of dessert? Is it a sin to throw out food you don't want to eat?!) and honestly several of the women who write the blogs mentioned lean closer to the top of the suggested BMI range! I mean, I've seen plenty of pictures of Caitlyn Boyle and she doesn't look even remotely underweight. She looks healthy and athletic. Geez. No one can dare to be healthy anymore.

  4. Gracie, I agree. None of those bloggers look like "thinspiration" at all. They look like they're in shape, but they're not underweight at all, which is just one of the reasons I think that article is ridiculous.

  5. Great post shelly! I really like to read Oxygen and it makes me feel the same way. I should be eating more healthy foods and less crap. I don't see anything wrong with that!

  6. What timing, right? I'm with's really ironic that that kind of magazine would villainize these kinds of blogs for those kinds of reasons.

  7. Man, the magazine industry taking pot shots at bloggers. Big surprise since bloggers are putting them out of business.

    I don't read any fit blogs, but your, but you inspire me to be a little better in the kitchen.