Yeah…Immaeatthat

Nov 30

A note about “healthy” living bloggers.

Hi guys. I’ve postponed this post for awhile because I don’t like throwing anyone under the bus. But now I’m sufficiently pissed off, so here we go.  

I have an issue with “healthy” living bloggers who promote their eating as “healthy” when they are actually in their own eating disorder.  It’s irresponsible and it’s harmful.  Eating disorders are deadly.  Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness for goodness sake. Many of these people on social media may be in denial, or they may just be blissfully unaware. But I want to help cut through the noise for you guys; many of these “healthy” accounts you follow are a lie. 

I talk very openly about how I was still in my eating disorder when I started this blog in 2011 and I have no doubt I made some peoples eating disorder behaviors worse.  If you were affected by that…I’m so so so sorry.  I’ve gone back and deleted nearly all of those 2011 posts because I feel so disconnected from who that girl was.

Anyways.  I recently watched a webinar for eating disorder professionals about social media + eating disorders. The webinar was hosted by Nicole Hawkins, PHD, CEDS. Here are some statistics that were shared…

my thoughts on "healthy" living blogs | immaEATthat.com

HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!! I mean 24% of bloggers had an ED and are promoting their eating as “healthy”?! 33% weren’t eating enough and/or were overexercising so they couldn’t have a regular period? Why are these bloggers being categorized as being healthy when they are not? Are they “healthy” because they eliminate entire groups of food? Are the healthy because they are thin? Are they “healthy” because they find unique ways to bake without butter and gluten? 

Also…

my thoughts on "healthy" living blogs | immaEATthat.com

So many of these blogs messed me the eff up when I was in my ED.

If there is anyone you follow on social media who makes you “like” yourself less or interferes with you eating according to your cravings…unfollow them.  My rule of thumb is: If when I pull up their IG account they have kale in more than 2 of their 6 most recent IG photos…unfollow.  Also, if they frequently show photos of those bowls where they roast every vegetable known to man (including giant carrots roasted) and put it all in a bowl and call that lunch…unfollow.  Like seriously.  I follow those rules. That’s probably why I follow less than 400 people on IG, because I am so easily annoyed AND protective of my health.

I don’t believe we are sponges.  We don’t have to absorb everything we read or hear, but if you are susceptible to/or currently engage in disordered eating behaviors, do yourself a favor and unfollow some people.  Unfollow anyone who talks about calories and that eating lower calorie foods is good in some way.  Unfollow anyone who eats an obscene amount of vegetables.  Unfollow anyone who only has “fun food” if they exercise.  Unfollow anyone who shows them exercising everyday.  Unfollow anyone who makes you “like” yourself less.

Before you try to make your lunch look like some clean eating, vegetable-filled bowl topped with hummus you see on IG…step 1) unfollow that person who’s bowl it was if they are preventing you from tuning into your body.  step 2) check in with your body and what YOU are craving.  step 3) eat that thing you are craving.  DONE.  Then repeat for all meals and snacks.

If you have a difficult relationship with food and your body, I hope you will look into my online course and see if it is something that resonates with you.

burger

78 comments on “A note about “healthy” living bloggers.”

  1. Spill that tea girl. But seriously this was very validating to read as i will often see a blogger behaving in a way that seems blatantly disordered and i wonder if i’m just hypersensitive to that kind of thing because of my history with anorexia. 

    But it’s not normal. Mountains of charred vegetables ‘roasted’ without oil. Exercising despite injuries. The prolific amount of women writing about HA in a way that almost seems like it’s a new status symbol. Fetishising really mundane foods like nut butter. It’s just straight up disordered and it makes me really glad that i was firmly in recovery before social media really took off. 

    I don’t think you’re throwing anyone under the bus at all. I think you have a platform from which you can reach vulnerable people and help them onto a better path. I think your voice is important and i’m grateful you’re willing to broach the scary topics. 

  2. Thank you for writing this.  A few years ago, I was very susceptible to wanting to embody the “healthy” living lifestyle because I bought into the notion that these things will make me happy and they are the “right” thing to do or the “better” thing to do.  Well after a lot of personal development, going through some tough times, and being honest with myself and allowing myself to feel my feelings, I realized how unhealthy this lifestyle was.  I learned how to define myself in ways other than my physical body and how I look and then was able to understand what self-love and happiness really feel like.  I unfollowed MANY MANY people, and stick to reading blogs that align with my values and make me feel good.  Your content is wonderful-thank you for speaking your truth and putting out genuine, positive messages.  It feels great to be able to connect with someone who validates how I feel.  Have a great day!

  3. Thank you!!!! Now that I’m almost 9 months into my journey to become an intuitive eater, I’m noticing the hidden messages in “healthy eating” blogs. I’ve unfollowed many in recent months. In the past those blogs helped me hold my resolve to my orthoexia and dieting… making me want to be even more “perfect”… but now I see them as what they are…. Bull$%&*! ;)

  4. thank you for this as I definitely agree! I have unfollowed so many accounts that are certainly questionable to me and don’t need to be reading! I can’t even understand how some of these people function, let alone run at the same time. The ones preaching health and fitness yet haven’t had a menstrual cycle in forever annoy me the most! while I definitely love my roasted vegetables, I also definitely love dining out and enjoying my favorite desserts all of the time. life would be so boring and empty without what makes me happy.

  5. Thank you for posting this. I really think it’s so sad these “healthy living” bloggers posting what they eat in a day and young girls who are so impressionable reading this and thinking this is the way they should be eating too. This coupled with their excessive excercise is definitely NOT healthy ans frankly quite scary that this is what is viewed by some as the “healthy” way to live. I have even found myself stuck in a comparison trap, and I feel like I am a dietitian with a pretty strong grasp of intuitive eating. Your advice to unfollow is spot on!

  6. Here here. I’ve become a lot more selective in the blogs that I read over the past year. I know that “ick” feeling I get when I read something that is just so disordered. For a long time I would want to call them out, but I know that wouldn’t accomplish much at all.
    People who exercise a ton but eat way too little are the worse for me. And when people literally NEVER post a real treat or fast food. If they never talk about friends/not-fitness or food related hobbies, I kind of take that as a red flag. Always justifying their food/eating is a no go too. There are so many people in quasi-recovery, which is so dangerous, because that is not what recovery looks like!
    I could go on for days Thank you for speaking out.

  7. So much respect for this post, it certainly took balls to say this stuff. All those statistics are horrible to see, but not entirely surprising. Like yourself, I’m in the process of either deleting or significantly re-working old posts and recipes on my blog as reading them back now, they just sound like manufactured “wellness” brainwashing. I really don’t think people understand the severity and extent of eating disorders, not every single one comes packaged in a horrifyingly underweight teenage girl, they are so easily masked in all this “clean eating” bullshit that society is beginning to accept it as normal. I really admire you for posting this and for your recovery, you’ve inspired me to get the word out too, thank you.

  8. You are killing it with these posts lately. It is so so important to hear this message and help put things in perspective. I have definitely been where you were and unfollowing + following blogs like yours has helped 1000x. You are so inspiring keep it up!! xo

  9. Thank you so much for this! As someone who blogged in recovery and lied on that blog often. For instance, the WIAW I posted make me cringe now and the motivations for the choices were so disordered. What you see on blogs is not real in a lot of cases and it depresses me that such ill-motivated, disordered blogs are heralded as beacons of health and something we should all emulate. This wellness, clean eating, hyper-exercising tripe that is proliferating every day is just so saddening but it makes blogs like yours all the more special and your voice so important!

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been a “healthy living” blog reader for many years and have seen so many bloggers post seriously disordered habits that made me second guess my normal, healthy habits – habits that include ice cream, late nights out, missed workouts and plenty of GLUTEN. There are a few bloggers who I don’t personally follow but see from time to time that are terrifyingly skinny and have practically eliminated everything from their diets, and I am honestly shocked are still able to go about their daily lives. It discourages me when I see big brands partnering with these bloggers, almost like they are supporting their unhealthy habits and letting that reflect poorly on the brand. I always come here for your honesty and inspiration so thank you for always being a breath of fresh air. :)

  11. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now Kylie and these “reality check” posts you do have been so helpful for me in working toward my own goal of being an intuitive eater. Thank you so much for making your blog the space that it is!

  12. YES to this post (and YES to your Insta story rant last night). Thank you so much for recognizing it and saying it out loud. There’s a lot going on in the healthy living “blog world” that is just not okay. What they are promoting is not doing any good for others

  13. Hi Kylie, 

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!! I have recently unfollowed so many blogs and instagram accounts – it’s unreal how many individuals are promoting negative behaviours/thoughts as ‘healthy’ ideas.  I’ve been on a journey of ditching the diet mentality and changing the way I look at exercise and my body and your blog and posts are a breath of fresh air in this world filled with toxic messages telling us that we constantly aren’t good enough. 

    Thank you so much for your inspiring voice and for keeping it real! :)

    Leah

  14. Preach it girl. Love your blog and how you speak the truth. I’m in the process of cleaning out my insta/social media right now!! Being wise about who/what we follow and see makes such a big difference.

  15. I love this post! Great reminder to check in on who you follow and are being influenced by constantly each day. So important to make decisions based on what is healthy and feels good for ME, not someone else! Thank you for the reminder!!

  16. holy crap. THANK YOU for finally addressing roasted vegetables and hummus isn’t lunch?!? I have fallen into the trap of trying to base my meals/portions/life off of what I see on Instagram and this was honestly so eye opening. your Instagram and blog is the one I am most thankful for that I found!! you rock ❤️

  17. THANK YOU for posting this!!! ?? I truly love your reality-check posts. Thank you for all that you are doing to spread your message!

  18. ok YES. thank you for this. god i get annoyed when I see those tiny lunches on insta… absolutely crazy and there are so many people promoting that disordered message. thankful for people like you kylie who are spreading the real message of health!

  19. You. Are. The. Best. !!!! Enough said. (Insert praise hands emoji) 

  20. Thank you SO much for this post, Kylie. I could not possibly express how much I agree with it – I’m honestly surprised that it was only 24%. Do not feel that you called out anyone or threw anyone under the bus – the work you do is out of pure love for wanting other people to be healthy and happy and if people feel defensive towards this post, it’s likely because it’s true for them. You are a wonderful human!

  21. Wow. Thank you for this.  It puts it into perspective that I would unfollow some just for mental health’s sake, not because I don’t like them as a person.   

  22. I agree and get frustrated with those people who post only “clean” photos or talk only about healthifying recipes and cutting calories. Also, I HATE the term clean eating. People who use that are those I unfollow. As RD’s, I think we have such a responsibility to show all aspects of life and food, not just the salad bowls, but the cookies, ice cream and french fries too! And like you said, not just after exercise, but in a normal lifestyle way.

  23. I love this and agree with the above comment about your instagram rant about a certain shake company. Your blog and instagram are SO refreshing.

  24. Bless you! I am a dietitian and although I am working with kids mainly 2-5 its still unbelievable how early sometimes you can see signs of an ED. I get so annoyed with instagram post by some of who I thought were my favorite bloggers and then I think I am the one following them, unfollow! I love your blog, I love how real you are and I thank you for that!
    P.S. can I just thank you for your rant about beach body last night… LOVED!!!

  25. Oh my! Thank you so very much for this post! ❤️❤️❤️ I’m a dietitian that has struggled greatly with body image since having two babies in two years….my body has changed and it has been a difficult journey working towards accepting my new body. I have been plagued by this thought of “how can I be a good dietitian if I’m overweight?” Your blog has been a godsend in helping to change my outlook!!

  26. Fantastic! I have been in the psuedo-recovery stage for 10 years now after full blown anorexia for 6. I’m finally ready work on the really hard stuff I have been avoiding. With encouragement from all my people, I have begun editing my social media streams. It’s interesting, I could easily read a blog and see that it was disordered and believe that because I could see that, it didn’t effect me. Well, it did. I have a choice to surround myself with people and media that will be a positive influence. Thanks for being one of those :)

  27. This is precisely why you are one of the few blogs I still read…REAL. HONEST. And oh yeah, healthy! <3

  28. This is another amazing post that has created such a wonderful conversation! I struggled with orthorexia starting in 2007 through 2009. I thought I had it all figured out and that everyone else was just jealous. Well, no, that was not the case. I was, for lack of better terms, a mess. Fast forward to this year, and I am finally in a great place. No more restriction or ridiculous portioning (hello stupid food scale). What finally helped was forgetting the scale when my now husband and I went to SC for a weekend at the race track where he participates in a racing association. I ate freely based on what I wanted and what my body needed. When we returned home, I was done with restriction for good. Your blog helped tremendously. Thankfully, Instagram was not around when I was deep in my own problems, but I had become aware of food blogs. Even though I started one last year, I’m now trying to be more careful of how many I follow. Your post has prompted me to “clean up” my social media accounts regarding who I follow. Thank you so much for being fearless and a positive voice. I greatly appreciate this post.

    • Yay for ditching the food scale back in the day! Such a key step!!! Glad you are in a better place now<3<3 And you husband is part of a racing association?! So cool. I have this huge thing for horses. Coolest animal ever (...after Maggie, of course)...;) Wait. I guess it could be like car racing. I hope it's horses tho lol. I don't get as excited about cars haha

  29. I agree with all of this! I don’t do Instagram, but I used to follow quite a few of these types of blogs before I realized how damaging they were. I would love recs for blogs more in the vein of yours and The Real Life RD (the only two “healthy” living blogs I bother to follow anymore).

  30. Hell yes!
    I’ve taken to just unfollowing people because I CANNOT with the blog posts and Instagram posts with no real food.

  31. It’s funny because I’ve recently found myself unfollowing bloggers/IGers that I think promote an unhealthy relationship with food – ever since working with Robyn/Cody I just don’t need that kind of influence anymore!

  32. Yes, I LOVE the Food Psych pod. I also recently started listening to the Love, Food podcast and it is similarly great.

  33. I just did an instagram purge last night because I’ve been feeling very annoyed by social media lately. It’s hard to be in the fitness world (I’m a personal trainer and dietetics student) and not be bombarded by expectations. I’ve had an intense eating disorder before and I am trying to still heal myself from disorded thoughts about food. I also don’t care if I don’t have thousands of followers because I don’t post half naked fitness posts or pictures of perfect “healthy” food. That’s not me. Nor, do I ever want it to be. So why follow people who don’t reflect your own values of food, health, self-love and self-worth? Love love love this post and it’s about damn time someone called out those “healthy” living bloggers.

  34. Thank you so so much! I think I’m in love with you, Kylie! I’ve been struggling with my eating disorder for years now. So so many of these “healthy living blogs” promote things that look directly like my habits when I’m completely in my eating disorder zone. Ive unfollowed a massive number of these so called health and wellness bloggers. I hope you know how incredibly inspiring and helpful you are! I aspire to be like you some day,like to be able to have a weekend like you that is normal and not filled with as much exercise and avoiding of “bad” food and trying to compensate for anything I eat. Please keep spreading your message!! 

  35. Gosh, thank you so much for this. Thanks for saying what many of us have been thinking! So many people need to learn that these HLBs are NOT, in fact, healthy.

  36. Thank you so much for your blog, Kylie. I am relatively new follower and I find your honesty and concern for others so refreshing. You are a strong woman and it is beautiful to see you embrace yourself (and those you love).

  37. Preach it! Thank you for being a voice of reason for me and so many others!!!

  38. love this
    and THANK YOU.

    reminds me of this
    article that
    set off a blogger
    firestorm a few years
    ago.
    http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/news/a5481/health-blogger-controversy/
    it’s honestly
    only gotten worse x a zillion
    with IG, and eveything
    everywhere, all the time.

    i love your message and
    robyn’s message and
    THANK YOU for being REAL.

  39. Get it, girl! So much love for everything you wrote here. When I was in my own eating disorder phases I followed all of those types of people you described above but now?…It sticks out like a sore thumb since I am *mostly* <<<because we know it's still a long process – recovered. I almost feel like I wish there was a way – maybe a secret word or hashtag? – to use to tell people you're concerned for them by the food they are eating and not eating. But then again it's hard to judge others' food choices because we shouldn't. Ugh. Such a fine line.

  40. I’m wondering if you have the reference or a link to the 2014 Healthy Living blog study you mentioned as part of the webinar you attended. I would love to read it!

  41. Thank you sooo much for posting this! As a dietitian who has previously worked with teens with EDs, I understand how influential and toxic health bloggers can be to a young person’s body image and self worth. These statistics that youve shared are eye-opening! Thanks for un-apologetically sharing your views, and bringing to light a concerning trend in today’s social media-driven society.

  42. Do you have the link to that webinar? I’d be interested in watching it!

  43. Great post! Those stats are really disturbing. Peronsally, I can’t stand when bloggers use hashtags like #cleaneating, #cheatday or #detox on Instagram. Whether they mean to or not, using those terms implies that there are “clean” or “good” foods and that eating a cheeseburger is “cheating” and therefore “bad.” Also, I’m pretty sure that “Detox Diets” are based on pseudo science and not actual facts.

  44. I actually went to treatment at the center where Nicole works (just an FYI – you accidentally put Hawking, I believe it’s Hawkins). She is fantastic and truly passionate about recovery. Love her – she and the facility have helped so many people. Awesome post, too. Love that you have boundaries/rules about what accounts you follow on IG. I’d much rather look at a goofy puppy dog than another bowl full of burnt veggies or other diet food monstrosities!

  45. It is car racing, lol! But horses are fascinating animals. =D I hope you have a wonderful day!

  46. LOVE YOU !!!

  47. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for addressing all these things! I am in the process of recovering from my eating disorder and although I’ve tried to eliminate most of those influences from my life, it’s easy to think they’re the right kind of “healthy” when they’re really the furthest thing from it! Thank you again so much for maintaining this blog that is such a beacon of light and support to myself, and to so many others. :) <3

  48. I love this! After losing some weight and getting in some of the best shape of my life for my wedding, I spent a year struggling to get pregnant. I read so many “healthy living blogs” where the author was going through the same struggle as me, which made me think it was normal for a little while. My weight was well into the “healthy” range per BMI, but I had this hunch that I was too lean…too low BF %…to cycle normally. After a few months (and facing several months of waiting to see new doctors), I decided to loosen up my diet and scaled down the volume and intensity of my workouts. BOOM! Three months later, I was pregnant! It’s so true that every body has a different healthy equilibrium, and that scales, calipers, and dress size aren’t the best way to determine health. Now that I’m postpartum, I’ve decided my “body after baby” focus is 100% about athletic performance as opposed to my weight. 

  49. I think that the most insidious are those sites that proclaim to be all about balance/moderation/intuitive eating (whatever you want to call it) but slowly start backing away from carbs, going gluten free or posting a bunch of paleo recipes on the blog. Sad. And just plain unappealing:)

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  52. Kylie, I definitely agree with this/think the statistics are scary, and make sense since our culture is so confused about what “healthy” really is. I have a question though…if it is ok to ask. (I think) I’m usually pretty good about listening intuitively to my body, but have struggled with eating disorders in my past and know I sometimes am still mentally sorting. But is there something wrong if I really LOVE vegetables and add them to almost anything? Kale is actually a fav, but I could list a whole bunch; they’re like candy to me and make me feel sooo good. And I definitely eat a LOT of them. I often eat bowls of veggies for lunch cause it energizes me and seems perfect. Also truthfully, I’ve never liked cake/cupcakes/doughnuts/white bread (they taste like glue with sugar, and the texture is blaa to me) even when I was a kid. I don’t like white sugar either and totally prefer maple syrup to sweeten. Does that seem like something’s off though or is it possible for it to be just my body’s preferences? Regardless, I definitely don’t like and have a hard time with some blogger’s/author’s portrayel of “healthy food” and have definitely noticed something off there. It’s like a competitive thing and the language or focus (probably both) is off. Appreciate your perspective though!

  53. Love this, thank you. Would also love your thoughts on the extreme about of health information that is put out there on Insta, FB, etc. via these healthy living bloggers, wellness bloggers, etc. As a soon-to-be RD I’m often frustrated by others who are not credentialed giving health advice that was probably read off a label (collagen, anyone? sun potion??, etc). On one hand I’m SO happy that the gen pop is interested in nutrition now more than ever, but on the other hand, I want people who seek health advice to be properly informed and not by into all this…crap. I would love your thoughts on this because maybe I’m just frustrated for no reason. Thanks girl!

  54. So, so true. I’m so glad somebody has finally shone a light on this. Thank you Kylie.

  55. This is really helpful. I struggle with knowing how to grocery shop ahead of time for intuitive eating and i go to ig for ideas. I have struggled for years with ED and it can be tough to know when I’m just eating it cuz someone else is. Any suggestions on how to look at ideas and just think of it as suggestions, and also how to grocery shop for the week?

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  57. PREACH. Yet another poignant, well written post. Thank you for continuing to speak the truth!

  58. Its all been said before me…. so I’ll just add my “thank for” speaking out about this. You who work as nutritionists/dietitians have a big job in front of you to try and reverse all these beliefs and myths social media is putting before us. You do such important work. We need you! 

  59. I hope you realize that some people cut out gluten because of pain and digestion issues. I hope you get that some people really do get sick when they eat butter. Not everyone who avoids certain foods has an eating disorder.

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  61. Ok, this post keeps resonating with me so I had to comment.  Thank you.  Sometimes it gets so hard to filter out all of the garbage.  When you’re trying to heal from an eating disorder those blogs seem like a safe place to turn; they look like they have the perfect balance.  I think it’s taken me 2 years of recovery and having my daughter to see through all of their deception.  Most of the time I wonder if they even know they have a problem, which just makes me sad for them.  There lives revolve totally around food and exercise and most of the time I wonder how they have time for anything of real importance (family, friends, making wonderful memorieS).  Enjoy the rest of your week!

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  65. Well said! I’ve never seen such honesty. Keep it up

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