I’ve been keeping things pretty light around these parts lately, and it’s not because I have nothing serious to talk about, but because I can’t make sense of the more serious topics that I do want to talk about. Remember how I mentioned that I wanted to write a post addressing my thoughts on “constantly feeling like I have to be on guard with diet and exercise to make sure that people don’t think I’m falling back into old habits“? That was last Monday, and to be honest, I’m no closer to figuring out what I want to say about the subject now than I was back then. Sigh.
But enough is enough. Having this float around in my head is starting to drive me crazy, so it’s time to sit down and get ‘er done… or out, as it were. Apologies in advance if this makes little to no sense – I’m just going to type the words as they come and worry about the coherence factor later. Or never. Here we go…
I realize that my blog doesn’t exactly make my eating habits out to be all that clean…
I eat a quite lot of sugar (the good and not-so-good kind)…
I don’t always eat my veggies…
Breakfast for dinner, anyone?
I eat processed foods on occasion…
I treat myself on a daily basis…
And I don’t sweat every day; unless it happens to be really hot, which it hasn’t been in quite a while.
Needless to say, I’m definitely not a poster child for a clean and healthy lifestyle. But I’m okay with that. Why? Because I was probably the unhealthiest that I’ve ever been back in the day where I was a healthy living poster child. It didn’t matter that I was eating plenty of veggies. It didn’t matter that I never touched process foods. It didn’t matter that I avoided white sugar and flour. It didn’t matter that I was going to the gym 5 or 6 days a week. All of that meant nothing because my mind was in a bad place and that one thing seemed to negate all of the other “positive” things I was doing. It wasn’t until I eased up on my restrictive, obsessive, “must eat 100% clean, 100% of the time” mentality that I started to feel (and look) better.
But the thing is…. my eating and exercise habits aren’t even that bad – they’re actually quite good – I just feel like I have to highlight the not-so-healthy aspects of them to prove that I’m healthy. I mean, what would people think if I told them I just snacked on an apple? And heaven forbid all I wanted was a salad… Those are the kind of things that you only do within the confines of your own home.
So I share my more interesting eats…
… while keeping the healthier ones hidden…
But it’s starting to feel fake. I’m tired of constantly feeling like I have to project a certain image, and I’m tired of seeing healthy as something negative – these days it almost feels like the healthier you try to be physically, the unhealthier you must be mentally. Maybe it’s all in my head (a lot of it probably is), but I feel like I have to go out of my way to bring attention to my unhealthier habits just so people don’t assume that I’m going back to my “health”-obsessed bad habits. The constant vigilance is starting to take its toll though. Heck, I don’t even feel like I’m allowed to talk about healthy eating and exercise because of the negative connotation those things have in my mind, much less do those things myself.
Feeling guilty for wanting to be healthy? Strange, I know.
It’s a mindset I really need to get over. Yes, healthy habits are often taken to the extreme, thus becoming unhealthy habits, but there’s nothing wrong with the habits themselves – it’s the mindset behind them that matters. It’s like when a guy buys a girl flowers – the act itself is sweet, but if he’s only doing it for a better shot at getting into her pants well then… no longer so sweet. But I digress.
The point is, I developed quite a nasty bias against the whole idea of healthy living as a result of my eating disorder, which caused me to slingshot in the opposite direction in my recovery. I need to work on finding that balance, that middle ground. I’ve always had a passion for health and fitness, and I miss being able to engage in those things without second guessing myself or feeling guilty…
. – . – . – .
Can anyone relate to my bias and/or guilt?
Bloggers, do you feel like you need to be careful when it comes to how you project yourself?
Your style is so unique compared to other people I’ve read stuff from.
Thank you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
I can relate to this 100%! And of course, it’s really hard for me right now since I’m still on my journey toward healing…sometimes I even question myself! I wonder if I really want something or if I’m just rebelling or trying to prove something to myself or to others. And when it comes to eating with others, gah, I swear it can be so unnerving….it can really go either way…like, you order the salad and you’re being “too healthy” or you order the cheeseburger and fries and people are like “whoa, never expected YOU to order that!” I just wish people would keep they’re opinions to themselves…it’s food…it’s my choice…shut up and leave me the eff alone! Sorry…if you can’t tell, this is a bit of a touchy subject with me.
I totally know what you mean! I’ve never had an eating disorder but I still worry about being judged for eating healthy sometimes. I think that’s why I make such a point of talking about my ice cream adoration all the time. It’s like people get all judgey if you’re not overweight and you want to be conscious of what you eat.
Thanks for sharing! I think about the same things. I recently competed in a figure competition (which is very regimented healthy eating) and I am trying to find a balance as well. I guess the best form of balance is when you don’t even have to think about it, you just do what works for you effortlessly and no food is considered “good” or “bad”:) Treats are allowed and there is no guilt or worry:)
SUCH a great post.
It’s hard to say these things aloud, especially when they make you keep strange secrets for so long.
I feel like often have to do this in my everyday life. PROVE that I can be super wild and irresponsibly with food – just to fit in.
Strange society we live in.
GREAT post! i am super paranoid about how i project myself. one part of me doesn’t want to show people too many healthy meals because i don’t want people to think i’m only eating them because of my ED. i just looooove salads so much but i get self conscious that because i enjoy eating one for lunch every day someone will think it’s my ED telling me to eat it, not me wanting to eat it. but i also don’t want to only show stuff like restaurant tastings or foodie events because i don’t want to project the image that it’s all i eat. i sometimes get questions like, “how do you eat out all the time and maintain your weight?” and i hate thinking that i am projecting that kind of image, i don’t want people to think i do that, i want them to know it’s about living an overall healthy lifestyle and having balance. i wish i could just share what i want to but sharing is exactly what it sounds like, sharing. it puts an image out and you pretty much open yourself up to criticism and judgement. sharing has actually helped me develop a thicker skin but i find it nearly impossible for me to truly put what i want to out there without considering what others will think of me.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
It’s definitely a difficult act to balance, and a tiring one at that… I think one of the things that helps me the most when it comes to opening up a little more is the realization that, no matter what you do, someone is always going to have a problem with it. Everyone has a different opinion on what’s right and wrong, and at the end of the day, the only person who can truly judge your actions is you.
Everything is relative and everybody sees things differently. No matter what image of yourself you try to create there will always be someone who’s not happy. If you say you’ve been out of shape and want to become fit, people will judge you for the tiniest piece of junk in your diet. If you say you’re recovering from an eating disorder, they will judge you for craving a salad…
It might seem a little odd but aside from my family nobody ever judged me for eating healthy foods. For the family it was just too obvious that I was afraid of food. I was never vocal about my struggles with food and only a very small number of people irl know. So I still find myself in really awkward situations sometimes when people act all shocked when they see me treat myself with what I am actually craving. “You will really eat these 2 sugar-laden doughnuts as a snack? Aren’t you afraid you will get fat?” How do I reply to that? “No, I’m not afraid.” Although I secretly am… Or “Aren’t you going to eat a salad with this?”. Or “No fruit for dessert today? But you always eat fruit!” To end this on a positive note, I care less and less what people think. If your choices make you feel good, nobody’s opinion matters. Eat as much salad and cake as you want and if anybody has a problem with that, tell them to mind their own business.
I totally get it! I think that there is a balance between healthy eats and indulgences. I know this is probably much easier said than done, but I like to post whatever I feel like that day. I also eat some not so healthy things on a daily basis, but I do eat plenty of healthy things too. I try to share both! The more sharing the better. 🙂
I feel the exact same way! For so many years I had to deal with people pointing out that I wasn’t eating enough, looked unhealthy, etc. so I feel like now I have to go over the top to clarify that yes, I eat more than enough. Yes, sometimes I eat pizza. I’m constantly adding disclaimers to my posts about how everything I eat is NOT pictured, these are just highlights and it is so tiring.
Such a well written post.
Clare @ Fitting It All In
YES. THIS. Brilliant. I feel the same way on my own blog!!
Late to the party but I just wanted to jump in and day how much I really appreciated this post. I’ve avoided talking a lot about my diet on my own blog for many reasons, but mostly it comes down to fear of being judged. I get enough crap about what I eat/how I exercise/etc in my offline life (but that is a whole different story), that I’ve tried to avoid it as much as possible online. Do what works for you and be true to yourself.
So late in responding! I completely agree that its hard to achieve that balance. There are definitely things I don’t post about or ever take pictures of because I feel guilty when it is supposed to be a healthy living blog! I do enjoy sweets a little (or a lot!) but i also eat healthy other times and work hard to stay healthy! i never had an ed, but i can understand how uncomfortable you would be showing off food to others, mostly because you aren’t falling back into it, (you’re amazing btw!) but making sure other people know you are eating enough. life is hard, can’t we all be friends and not judge?!
Sara @my less serious life
love this post. isn’t balance the key, yet it is so hard to achieve?
As a reader I prefer food posts of something interesting vs. same green salad everyday. As a blogger, my writing interest is similar. I like to share things when I go out to eat, or a treat. However, most days I eat boring homemade healthy food, but honestly how many salads, and tofu stir-fry repeats to people really want to read unless it’s a recipe post.
[email protected] Life Is Sparkling
I can definitely relate to this, and at the same time I feel like I do the opposite. Some weekends I’ll have ice cream everyday, but I’ll only share one picture because I don’t want people to think I’m too “unhealthy”. After reading this it made me realize that we’re all different and we shouldn’t worry about what others will think of us. We just need to embrace ourselves and all the food that comes with us 😉
All foods looks yummy!! But I prefer fruits & unprocessed food for me. Here, I saw some processed food which looks more delicious than unprocessed foods. And I don’t like it!!…;-)
Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections
Uh, yes, I can definitely relate. I never realize how much of an image I wish I could uphold just by being a blogger. My whole life – online -for people to see. It’s created so much more worry than I ever realized it would.
I also treat myself a lot. I also take rest when I want to. I feel like I’ve gone through a little bit of obsessiveness, but never to an unhealthy point. I’ve had issues with calorie counting in the past, but it was a mental thing, not a I-only-ate-1000-calories-a-day kind of thing.
What really stinks right now is that I am trying to do a sugar detox this week, where I don’t eat ADDED sugar. And I honestly feel like crap. I think I would have made healthier choices this week if I could have a bowl of ice cream right now. Some sugar in my granola or fruit sugars in yogurt aren’t going to kill me. But I’m not eating a lot of things now so I feel like crap. How stupid is that? Ugh.
Anyway – thanks for being real.
Brittany @ Delights and Delectables
Do you know how badly I want to give you a HUGE hug?? 🙂 I love this! I think “healthy living” can be taken way too far. I think everything in moderation.
Jo @ Living Mint Green
I think you’re over thinking the part where you feel like everyones ‘watching/judging’ you. Well, maybe a very few select few are, but who cares? The take away that I get from your blog and your experience is that it’s possible to develop and sustain a ‘healthy’ relationship with food, whether it’s vegetables or ice cream. Just continue being authentic – that’s what people want from you. But, I can relate to the healthy living stigma. If I so much as sneeze, some (snarky) people are always the first to jump in and say, “OH for someone who eats soooo healthy you shouldn’t be sick”. Ok? Or, if I eat some junk food, people look at me like I have two heads. Hahaha.
Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover!
This is one thing that bugs me about blogging, and I wish it wasn’t so! When I first started, I was super happy-go-lucky about everything I ate, and I thought I had to make every meal ‘exciting’ – god forbid I just ate plain old eggs and toast or some lettuce with dressing and called it a salad.
So I had to take a step back from blogging and live a little. I had to make myself remember that I don’t eat to blog! I eat to live, and just happen to like sharing it. So yeah, I’ve lost most of my readers from the “peak” of my blogging days. I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t bug me a little, but at the same time, my blog is so much more ME now.
That’s what matters. Be YOU! Remember the famous quote: “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” <3
Meghan @ After the Ivy League
SO true. There’s nothing wrong with the healthy habits themselves, it’s the mindset behind them and the reason for choosing them. I still eat salads pretty often for lunch. But if I don’t have a salad, do I freak out and worry about gaining weight like I used to? Of course not. That’s the difference. And I still stay active and try my best to workout 5-6 days a week. But if I’m in the mood to take a full week off, will it stress me out and give me anxiety? Heck no. I enjoy it. You shouldn’t have to worry about what people will think of your healthy choices. Keep on making them, but keep on eating ice cream and cookies when the mood strikes too 🙂
I sometimes have the opposite feeling when I’m putting together a WIAW post – occasionally I will sub-consciously avoid certain foods because I don’t want people to think I’m a pig, or if my portions look bigger than other people’s I feel really conscious of that. But then again sometimes I just post it all up and think ‘screw it, I’ll take that name-tag of being the only person on WIAW who stuffs their face and has man-sized portions!’.
Sarah @ A Refining Adventure
I completely, 100% identify with you. First of all, you are truly in inspiration to me and an encouragement that recovery is possible, and it is possible to return to a life of somewhat normalcy, so thank you for that!
I also feel the need to “prove” myself by eating “fear” foods, or more UNhealthy foods, especially around my family. But, you’re right, sometimes I WANT fresh fruit, I WANT veggies. I definitely do need t get better at pushing myself to eat fear foods, but I also need to realize that there’s nothing wrong with eating “more fattening” foods as well. Thank you for your post. It’s good to know we’re not alone, isn’t it?
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
I think the biggest thing when it comes to eating unhealthy foods is knowing that you can if you want to. There’s nothing wrong with legitimately not craving unhealthier foods, but it’s definitely an issue if you’re afraid of them. Recovery is all about YOU being able to make that choice rather than your ED… And yes, it’s very much possible 🙂
It is definitely a struggle to balance what I think I “should” be posting with what I want to post, and that’s before I’ve even tried to think through what I should/want to eat! I try to keep my blog a pretty accurate representation (and then I’m stuck wondering if you all really needed to know I ate the entire container of French Onion dip in one sitting…by myself).
The harder part for me is the exercise part of healthy living… I like going to the gym, but only when I have time (which has been at quite a premium lately) and I feel like I should feel guilty for posting all these “not s0 healthy” eats and not ever going to the gym, and I don’t. It’s a crazy cycle in my head and one that I am still working towards reconciling. But posts like this where everyone gets their feelings out in the air always help 🙂
Kristy @ Southern In-Law
Amen to that and welcome to my blog! 😉
I feel that healthy eating is all about balance – and a little bit of change. I have people that are shocked that I eat such delicious healthy food – because it’s not your stereotypical “healthy” image. Family and friends think Jesse must be “deprived” because of our healthy ways because “men can’t like healthy food” – yet he will brag to people about how good my cooking/our meals are. I have people telling me I “can’t” eat chocolate cake and be healthy – yet my most popular recipe is a lightened up chocolate cake that everyone loves.
For me, healthy living is not healthy if you have to force yourself to like it. I can’t eat broccoli because I end up with stomach aches, so I don’t eat it. You’ll never find me eating a salad by itself because girl needs carbs. I probably eat way too much sugar by “gram standards” but when that sugar comes naturally from fruits or vegetables or whole grains – how is that unhealthy? And last time I checked, my body isn’t a calculator. You’ll never find us forcing food down our throats just because it’s “healthy” – because that’s not healthy at all.
For me, I feel it’s important not to demonise food – and I blog the way I live. I can’t eat gluten because I’m allergic to it – but I will never tell you not to eat gluten unless your stomach and gluten have the same boxing match mine do. I also don’t follow any specific “diet” – paleo schmaleo, low carb would make me cry – and I mainly exercise for my mind, not for calorie burning or muscle building. And that exercise? Walking – because I can’t run and cycling hurts my butt and I can’t lift weights thanks to an arm disability – yet I’m more than happy with my “fitness”
Be true to yourself, lovely, because there’s nothing wrong with that. You will feel better and never have to worry about bring false. Xx
Kat @ a dash of fairydust
Thank you SO much for this post,really. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been thinking about ALL the time recently,but I just didn’t know how to put it into words without letting it sound… I don’t know – fake? Cause,you know,my Eating Disorder made me tell so many lies I am afraid no one would believe me anymore. 🙁
My dad is the best example for this: He hates any kind of vegetable/ fruit/ healthy anything actually,so he doesn’t even WANT to believe I enjoy that kind of food. No matter what I eat,no matter what I do,it’s always “disordered” and “unnormal” – lately,he even told me to stop eating peanut butter as it apparently is “diet food”?! The best prove for that in his mind,Kat’s food = disordered = diet food.
He won’t stop telling me to eat white bread and french fries even though I HONESTLY never enjoyed that stuff! Honestly!
I am seriously sick of this. And I am also sick of not daring to post a WIAW due to the fear of anyone thinking I was lying saying I’m doing better in terms of eating and my food choices…
Oh,by the way – I think in the blogging-case,this is all about that comparison-game again.
We constantly tend to compare ourselves to others,and reading about other people eating salad and drinking green smoothies probably makes us feel guilty about treats such as chocolate or ice cream… Thats why we hate it so much. And because we don’t want to make anyone feel so guilty,we don’t dare showing OUR salads to anyone.
Does that make any sense?
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the blog world is full of people who are either struggling with an eating disorder or have had some disordered eating issues in the past, and some lingering insecurities can make them quick to judge anything that might be even the slightest bit disordered. Ultimately, the only person who knows if what you’re doing is coming from a good place or not is you, and as difficult as it can be sometimes, you can’t worry about what others think and just stick to your guns.