I value sincerity above all other qualities. I hope to exude this in all aspects of my life, especially through my writing and on this blog.
When I finally realized that the negative thoughts going through my head were unhealthy, I began to look for sites to answer some of my questions and offer emotional support. Through my research, I realized that my habits reflected a more serious issue.
Hello Eating Disorder.
I found myself surrounded by heaps of scientific research that generalized my condition. I am a product of this society—and worst of all, I am not alone. There are millions of others who suffer from the same issues. When I initially discovered how much information there was out there, I began to look for blogs that promoted healthy attitudes towards food. I wanted to see personal accounts of recovery.
Since this is not a unique problem, it was easy to find blogs that discussed the matter. The blogs I am attracted to are usually about health and fitness. They generally post healthy recipes and discuss exercise plans. They do so in a positive manner and attempt to motivate people through pictures of skinny women, healthy recipes and ways of becoming more and more active.
These methods represent the techne within the community of blogs promoting self-love through healthy lifestyles. Techne is a Greek word for the concept of making or doing. It essentially reflects the art or craftsmanship—I can more easily understand techne as the style and methods used to achieve the alleged purpose. In this case, I am looking at the techne of blogs that promote healthy lifestyles by analyzing their posts, visuals and writing styles.
I have over ten blogs bookmarked on my Google chrome webpage that are written and run by women promoting healthy lifestyles. Some of these women dedicate their lives to being skinny—skinny and healthy are often used synonymously. These blogs like Eat Yourself Skinny, The Skinny Confidential and Skinnyms focus collectively on “healthy” recipes that utilize low-calorie ingredients to provide alternatives to common indulgences as well as exercise tips and occasional fashion tidbits. They contain recipes with lots of pictures of colorful foods embedded in the mix. The blogs are overall super bright and vibrant. They want the reader to feel positively when looking at their pages. They frequently discuss how much they love their life and urge others to adopt their eating habits and achieve similar happiness. They are not designed to document reality and feelings, but rather to focus on feeling good through looking good.
These bloggers are happy and satisfied with themselves—especially how they look. They devote these blogs to promote the habits that maintain their bodies. The stories are always upbeat and focus entirely on physical appearance. They are clearly designed for other women who care about their figures more than their health… Whereas being healthy is implied, skinny is the ultimate goal.
There are other blogs I follow that are run by women who previously suffered from eating disorders such as Undressed Skeleton and Oh She Glows. They dedicate their blogs to their newfound lifestyle and the methods they use in order to remain mentally healthy. These blogs are similar to the aforementioned ones, except for the inclusion of an “About” page in which they relate their past journey of defeating their eating disorders and achieving contentment and happiness. They exude positivity through their bright colors, legible fonts and aesthetically appealing pages.
Although I enjoy these blogs and will glance at them for occasional motivation, the parts of these blogs I find most helpful are the “About” pages relating their past struggles. The majority of these blogs however are dedicated to current healthy lifestyles—not personal journeys to contentment. But even when reading these sections, it is obvious to me that these women have already recovered. Their tones are reflective. The emotions are not fresh, and this affects their writing style and ability to relate a purely raw account of what life with this kind of struggle is like.
They lack truth.
These blogs are glamorized compilations of what a “Happy Ending” from a Disney movie would be like if the main character suffered from an eating disorder and began blogging after she recovered. The focus of the blog isn’t to discuss the methods in which the person employed to become mentally healthier; it is to focus on how great they feel now. It’s less honest and frankly isn’t as helpful for me. It kind of makes me feel like a failure for not already feeling better about myself. For not already getting my act together and losing weight and maintaining it.
Ironically, I sometimes feel that these blogs are mechanisms for these women to deal with current eating issues. They claim to have recovered, yet they intensely blog about food and exercise schedules in a mechanical manner. The blog provides an outlet for them to focus on while they subconsciously focus on food and their bodies. Taralynn McNitt from Undressed Skeleton was featured on The Skinny Confidential as the Skinnista of the Month.
It’s just ridiculous to me. Taralynn’s weight loss was extreme and she works hard everyday to maintain it. She often blogs about everything she eats in a single day. Every. Single. Thing. She also provides pictures and recipe descriptions. Documenting my calorie intake is what caused me to spiral downwards into a pit of constant food awareness. Her alleged intent is to aid other girls who want to adopt her lifestyle. She essentially encourages everyone to lose weight and develop happiness simultaneously.
That’s not the “Happy Ending” I want.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not putting these blogs down in any way. I often look through these blogs and read their daily entries. I enjoy reading them, but I don’t get much besides superficial encouragement out of them. It’s not raw. It’s not relatable because these bloggers are in a different emotional and mental stage of life.
I respond best to honesty. I try to surround myself with people that make me feel comfortable and secure. I want them to uplift my sprits. I approach blogs with the same mentality. I want to read a blog that is going to make me feel good about myself right now. Not blogs that imply that I will feel good after I lose tons of weight and begin to maintain the weight loss. I want to know how to rationalize the innate thoughts embedded in my head due to my family upbringing. I need methods and tools to achieve success.
I found these characteristics in articles like this one on First Ourselves—one of the only blogs truly dedicated to connecting with women aiming to recover from eating issues. The design is simple and the focus is on the writing and the message. There are no overwhelming motivational pictures. It is raw and honest and provides clear-cut advice on what steps to take to move forward after making a mistake.
I am committed to this honest style. I don’t want to focus my blog on being skinny with an underlying perk of achieving self-confidence. I don’t want to document my journey in a short “About” section with pictures that document weight loss. Live & Muse is not a weight-loss journey. I want to discuss personal realizations of my developed issue, and what tools and methods will help me improve it. I hope for this blog to provide support through honest and confessional postings about how I work towards self-contentment. I hope my techne reflects that. I don’t want to overwhelm my readers with positivity. Sometimes positivity isn’t helpful, it’s annoying. Life is full of highs and lows. Passion is reignited by periods of disillusionment. You are allowed to feel upset sometimes. Get it out of your system.
Let’s get real.