Are Fitness Blogs Bad For Your Health?
- Blogger (via Buns of Steal)
Is blogging (and the reading of blogs) about dieting and exercise actually bad for you? That's the question posed by Jezebel and Marie Claire recently. In their article, MC profiled six well known fitness bloggers and argued that by chronicling, in painstaking detail (often with photographic evidence of everything they eat and how many calories they burn exercising, and often with public, self-critical rants whenever they "mess up") these bloggers are not only indulging their own diet/exercise obsessions, but also inspiring hundreds or thousands of readers to adopt the same borderline-disordered attitude. As a fitness blogger myself, as you might imagine, this hits close to home...
Of course I've blogged extensively about exercise, but also about dieting and my eating habits. True, I've shied away from counting calories and delving into specifics (after all, this is a workout blog, plus, I'm not a dietitian and feel uncomfortable offering diet advice), but I wonder how my constant musings on the subject affect readers. We blog our thoughts, and our private neuroses, but do we think about what happens when we put them out for the world to read?
I ran into this problem when I publicly posted an example of everything I ate in a given day, along with input from a "body tutor." My readers didn't exactly approve of the tutor's recommendations, and upon reading their comments I realized that by only showing a day of my "eating" life, I had presented a slanted view of both my eating habits and the tutor's thoughts. Reading back over this post, I have to laugh: just a random day of food intake, from a 24 year old working at a law firm, thrown up for the public to discuss and dissect. Is it really that deep?
Apparently to some people who are reading for guidance and inspiration, it is. I don't know how I feel about the MC article. The comments on the magazine's website are scathing, and rightfully accuse MC of being hypocritical by skewering health bloggers on the same pages that run ads of emaciated models and recommend "5 day fluid" cleanses. That said, I think Katie Drummond raises a valid point about highly visible bloggers, and the unexpected responsibilities they have to their readers.
The bloggers featured in the article, of course, disagree with MC's take on things. From the article: "Reached by Marie Claire, the six bloggers denied having eating or exercise disorders. 'The vast majority of Americans aren't anorexic or bulimic. They're overweight and have no idea how to eat healthy,' says Boyle. 'If they read blogs like mine, maybe they'd learn something.'"
For the ongoing adventures of Buns of Steal, an impoverished but equally resourceful law student in New York City hoping to make it through 2010 without ever paying for a gym membership, visit "Buns of Steal."