Think for Yourself

5 Oct

Today I would like to share with you an article that was written in “Marie Claire” titled “The Hunger Diaries: How Health Writers Can Be Putting You at Risk.” Please do take a moment to read the article, my post may not make much sense unless you do.

About a year ago a coworker introduced me to the Carrots ‘n Cake site. I liked the message, the photos and the recipe ideas for me to try at home. As someone who is always on the lookout for healthy recipes and motivation, I found a very inspiring community. I now visit a handful of blogs daily.

There are only a couple of blogs that I actually read and mostly I look at the photos, I happen to think that kale and oats are sexy. 🙂 Anyway, this article was so strange for me to read, it was as though I had gone off to the Twilight Zone. I read the blogs, I attended the Healthy Living Summit and my experience was not the one that was described in this article. The author writes, “At the Chicago Summit, fruit and fat-free yogurt vanished from the catered breakfast buffet; mini croissants and mini muffins languished. ‘We told them not to serve that stuff,’ said Boyle [one of the event organizers] of the carbs.” It actually doesn’t make sense to me why she would call out a comment like this considering that this was a conference for people who want to live healthy lifestyles. Last time I checked butter croissants and muffins that have a shelf life of who-knows-how-long aren’t exactly ‘healthy’ and it has nothing to do with carbs. I did not talk to a single person about cutting carbs the entire day.

I beg the question, why knock down a community of health focused young women? Is there really something so bad that’s happening because a group of women want to eat well, exercise and be fit? This day in age it’s so hard to find people who support each other and celebrate each others’ differences. This community does it so well, that it disappoints me  that a mainstream magazine would publish an article like this especially without leaving its readers without any alternatives.

I digress. I am not actually out to pick apart this article, I would like to promote a dialogue because this article does have me look at things a little differently.

Do any of you remember that Charles Barkley Nike ad from the 90’s, where he says “I am not a role model. I am not paid to be a role model. Parents should be role models…” This is Charles Barkley’s slogan, and he sticks to it. Call him a jerk, call him selfish, call him a genius, call him whatever you want. I see his message as one of responsibility. Do not look to others to blame for your problems, take care of your business in your family and in your community. Teach your kids what’s right and lead by example. Don’t blame other’s for your problems, act true to yourself.

I think this message applies here as well, don’t blame these bloggers for people who have not yet made a commitment to living healthy or don’t know how to think for themselves and take things to extremes. These blogs are not for everyone, and for those who it’s not for have a choice not to read them. Teach yourself to be your own role model, no one needs to look up to any body, be your own hero. That’s what these women are doing.

What do you think? Should these bloggers be responsible for those that want to imitate them, for those that are not responsible for their well-being, for those that are not well? What’s your take on the infamous Charles Barkley slogan, “I am not a role model,” do you think it applies in this case?

3 Responses to “Think for Yourself”

  1. Lesley October 6, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi Joanna,

    I came over to check out your blog, because I read your comment on Hollaback Health regarding this same article, and I liked what you said.

    My experience is I starting reading healthy living blogs in December. I found one that was featured in a magazine, through which I found the community. I am trying to lose a significant amount of weight without dieting, and I have found reading these blogs to be very helpful. Mostly for gaining new ideas on meals as I transition to cooking for myself more.

    As far as my issue with the MC article, I think the title of your post says it all. Whether you read a blog where the blogger runs 20 miles in a go or 2, allows themselves a row of cookies or none at all, sustains from alcohol or creates happy hour wherever they go, trying to do exactly as someone else does is dangerous. I like to think the majority of people reading blogs are smart enough to know what will work for them. Plus, magazines such as MC give women questionable examples all the time. They really are throwing stones from a glass house.

    I don’t there is an easy answer to your question about role models, otherwise the question wouldn’t need asking. However, for the most part I’m going to agree with Charles Barkley. We have to be our own role models. The world cannot agree on what it wants or expects from anyone, but anyone can figure out what they expect from themselves.


    • 40daykedge October 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

      Thanks so much Lesley, I really appreciate the feedback. It’s really great what you said, that you like to think that most people are smart enough to know what will work for them. The MC article points to the readers being weak and uneducated enough to make their own choices. Best of luck to you in reaching your fitness goals!

  2. Liz N October 7, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Hi Joanna,
    I think you’ve got it spot on.

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