Regardless of what everyone’s opinion was on the matter, I think it is clear that I touched on a subject that most of us feel quite passionate about. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and seeing what your take on the matter was.
I think what actually happened was that the comments became more about social comparison in general, not just specific to running. That was actually a second post that I had in mind.
I wanted to highlight some of the comments:
“I have a running blog, and while other running blogs inspire me to make sure I run most days of the week, I actually feel guilty reading food blogs. Oh Lord, if I posted what I ate…no one would read it and they would be so disgusted. I don’t eat Greek yogurt or tofu or smoothies with kale in them, even though I wish I could (just can’t stomach it I guess!) I’m not a vegan or know what the heck eating “raw” means. So sometimes I do feel bad about my eating when I read about someone who eats very well.
BUT, I’ve LEARNED a lot from these food bloggers, like Clif bars are delicious and it’s cool to eat lots of fruit, drink some wine and maybe not always stuff your face with sweets.
It’s finding a balance, I guess. I can’t run 19 miles, but reading about another blogger that can might inspire me to go on a nice 7-miler run. There’s no shame, because everyone is different and training for something different. :)”
I love this comment because it is honest and vulnerable. It shows that all of us take different things from the blogs we read and no one blog is going to perfectly represent what we are looking for.
And that is ok!
Just as we wouldn’t expect our family, partner, or best friend to be like us in every way, it is important to recognize that each blogger is doing the best they can with the resources that they have. Blogs aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ thing.
“I’ve felt a bit of that pressure brought upon by food blogs to workout EVERYDAY. It’s not necessarily the running but moreso the pressure to discover that new, exciting workout and “tell everyone about it.” Remember when yoga got REALLY popular on the blogs? Or Shredding? Or even, completely unrelated to food or exercise, the pressure to do ‘fun stuff’ so that it can be written about on the blog. So what if we have boring days. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up about that. I know my lifestyle best, and I know what my body can take. It’s just convincing myself that it’s okay to be confident even on an ‘off’ day.”
It really is quite funny how the blog world goes through fitness and health trends! I guess we aren’t immune to social media either, right?
More on working out:
“I have a food and fitness blog and it used to be hard for me to see that I workout much less than some other bloggers because it’s my career! I’m more short and sweet when it comes to the gym and seeing people do 10 miles AND a full strength workout was tough.
I learned after reading for awhile that everyone is different and although I don’t necessarily put in as much time, it works for me so I’m sticking with it. Everything you said was spot on!”
“I definitely appreciate this post. I graduated from college last year, where I had developed an eating disorder. In addition to that, I definitely put a ton of pressure on myself to exercise because “everyone” that I knew at school was always at the gym, too.
Since graduating, I think that I have used food/fitness blogs to compare my healthy eating and exercise habits. I will be honest when I say that I still feel guilt when I don’t exercise and that I beat myself up over a “not healthy” eating day. Because I read numerous blogs, the little splurges and rest days that people have don’t really register because, with all of the blogs combined, someone is always busting out a killer workout or eating a huge salad. I find that I compare myself with the best of the best on any given day, which leads to impossible expectations! Whew – thanks for the reality check.”
“Brilliant post – couldn’t have been timed better for me today! I just had to change my upcoming race from a half to a 10k due to a foot problem I’ve always had that’s causing me pain… and I’m pretty upset about it. Though I’m upset for myself and my goals, I’m also worried about how others will view me “quitting” from the half. I know I COULD do it, but the pain that would result would mean that I couldn’t run for possibly weeks afterwards which just isn’t worth it to me. I realised that I’m happier running that distance anyway – so why am I pushing myself to run further? Because others are.”
“Oh my goodness! This post made my day, it is SO true. I found myself feeling worse and worse about my running ability reading other runners blogs. What was meant to be a way to track my running journey ended up making me feel SO bad about myself. I felt/still feel like less of a runner because I can’t keep up with some of those other runners who are so speedy and never get hurt.
Actually I ran my first marathon yesterday and haven’t wanted to blog about it because I feel ashamed of my time, because it wasn’t nearly as speedy as all the other marathoner blogs I read. I realized that is ridiculous. So I’m going to post about my marathon and link to your post, because it is true and amazing. So thanks, you really lifted my spirits today.”
That is so interesting about how the rest days and splurges don’t really register! I never thought about it that way.
More on food:
“I have experienced this too! Not just with exercise, but also with the way I eat. I felt like I had to make myself eat “breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner” or else I was doing it “wrong”. It became a big cause of stress and I finally realized I just needed to do what was right for me, and not pay attention to what everyone else was doing. I feel much better now :) Thanks for this post!”
Healthy eating isn’t an exact science or formula. I think that is important to tell ourselves when we see how others eat.
On the illusion of perfection in the blog world:
“I love reading all the health and fitness blogs out there, but I could never be a blogger myself because of this “can’t live up mentality!” So many bloggers seem so perfect, and I am just so far from perfect.
I run 10 minute miles. I only trained 3 times a week when I did a half marathon earlier this year. I drink diet coke when I’m stressed at work. I love yoga and spinning, but I only go to classes a couple times a week. If I put in a 12 hour workday, I skip the gym. I take walking breaks on any distance over 3 miles. I eat dessert A LOT! This is turning into a crazy confessional. Lol.
My point is, I do feel like the standards are set very high in the food blogging world. I think this is kind of natural because there are so many food bloggers that are fantastic athletes and many that work in health related fields. If you compare yourself to a marathoner/dietician/combo of both! the average person is not going to live up. I think we need to remember, these bloggers are good for inspiration but you don’t need to be perfect to be healthy.”
I couldn’t agree more with the above post. It does seem like many bloggers have the perfect life. I too used to get caught up in this trap when I used to read blogs before I started my own. However, once I started blogging I started to understand how this illusion can happen.
For example, I don’t post about when Eric and I have a fight, but we do have arguments just like any other couple!
We have been together for 8.5 years now so we really don’t hold any of our true feelings back from one another. :)
I laugh when people say that we have the perfect relationship. There really is no such thing. There are moments when we want to ring each other’s neck or when we need some space. At the same time, it is important to recognize that we all go through our ups and downs. Just as celebrities don’t have perfect lives, neither do your favourite blog writers.
When I write I like to keep it positive and improve our self-image about health topics. So naturally some things get filtered out and don’t make the cut for the final post. What I would most likely do to take a fun spin on things, is post about something we fought over and then show you how we worked through it to come to a solution. That in my mind, is more beneficial to you all, than simply posting about a fight. If you really want to read about it, I will post the next argument we have. Oh, they are so lame.
Moving onto more comments:
“This is such a great post, so obvious, but never mentioned.
I have definitely felt this comparison, not only in my physical activity, but also in what I eat. I find many food bloggers are vegan/vegetarian, and felt alot of pressure to change my eating habits as to not only not offend anyone, but to become more healthy. I just had to drain it in my head, I am healthy, I enjoy the way I eat and what I eat, and began to use these blogs to make new friends, and have them influence me with new meal and work out ideas, rather than feel I had to meet all of these different standards.”
I think that is a great point. I try my best not to seem like I am pushing a vegan lifestyle because I know that it is a personal choice. I don’t think vegetarianism or veganism is something that someone else can ‘get’ you to do long term. You have to have certain motives to do it. There is no shame in eating the foods that you enjoy! It would be silly to assume that with all the food on this earth, we are all going to prefer the same types of foods.
“A while back I reached a point where I had to ask myself I was running and such. I really did not like it. Truth be told, most days I hated it. I dreaded going for a run, and I disliked it so much while I was running that it made me not want to go running again even more than before. So I’ve started turning to alternative measures. Even walking – sometimes I get embarrassed to say on my blog that I’ll walk for miles every day, because it’s not running. But it’s still exercise since I keep a good pace, and most importantly I enjoy it!!”
Exactly! I think we need to keep reminding ourselves to do what we enjoy. I don’t think that running is the best exercise someone can do.
In reality, the only best exercise you can do is the one that you don’t think you could live without!
For some it is running, but for others it is swimming, volleyball, field hockey, walking, or dancing.
As always, share your thoughts below!
I will certainly be writing more about this topic…it is a great learning experience. See you this afternoon for an exciting announcement!
She is such a health food nut, she thinks a grape is wine in pill form.