Rant on Pinterest’s Health & Fitness Category

I don’t like hating on things.

I’d much rather promote things I love and enjoy, but all the “fitspo” and “thinspo” bullshit on the internet and on blogs and in magazines is making me crazy.

pinterest2

Enter: Random raging rant on Pinterest’s “health & fitness” category. (Or, as I refer to it: the “disordered & dysfunctional” category.)

I blame all the sugar from Christmas, but I found myself perusing the disordered and dysfunctional category on Pinterest last night. I didn’t even have to scroll down the page before I felt myself get heated.

‘grammed this immediately:

pinterestEven as someone who is comfortable in her own skin, it’s difficult to not feel like a fat, lazy piece of shit when you see this kind of stuff. I know I’m not the only one who sees these images and starts to think “Oh God, is that normal? That’s normal isn’t it? I’m not normal.”

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 1.04.46 PM

Apparently, not enough

Here’s the thing: I am normal. And chances are, so are you.

For instance, I will never know the day when I sit down while wearing jeans and don’t have to do the “pull my waistband over my belly” move.

I have cellulite.

I don’t go to the gym every day, and I rarely turn down dessert.

santa

Vodka is a close friend of mine, as is diet coke.

I will never have abs. It’s not in my genes, and I like food too much (I think that’s genetic, too.)

I have zits and bad hair days and my thighs touch.

But that’s normal. I’m aware that this little blog doesn’t reach a ginormous crowd, but if one person reads this and feels a little more okay about herself (or himself), I’ll be glad. Please, just don’t let the abnormal help construct your definition of normal.

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 1.31.46 PM

 EDIT: Normal is a subjective word. Please know that when I write on this blog, I write as though I am literally talking to a friend. Here I’ve used “normal” in a colloquial sense. I would never want anyone walking away from this blog feeling less than, hurt, or insecure. No one is really “normal” – we’re all different and weird and that’s what’s perfect :)

Comments

  1. Sienna says

    Love this rant! The pull your jeans over your belly move made me laugh. I have to do that when sitting down at work all day too. I think this is a great reminder that while moving and eating healthy are good things we don’t have to go to the extreme to be healthy or love our bodies.

  2. says

    Thanks for this (esp the pulling jeans up part…I do that all the time – haha!). Pinterest and even IG drive me crazy with all the fitspo “inspiration” crap. What we all really need is more pics of normal people doing their every day thing. That’s what’s inspiring to me!

  3. says

    Love this rant! I totally agree. I tend to avoid Pinterest’s “Health” section like the plague because it’s such bs. There is no reason for these images to shame us into thinking we’re not good enough. I’d much rather be confident and happy in my own skin (cellulite, breakouts, and junk in the trunk included) than feel bad about myself. We should be grateful that our bodies allow us to be alive and not be at constant war with losing weight or looking like a Photoshopped model. /rant :)

  4. says

    Infuriated is an understatement when I see shit like that on Pinterest. I’m getting so tired of seeing stuff like that on some of the blogs I used to love, it’s like an enabler to other girls who may be struggling with their body image. I’m happy to say that I’m comfortable in my own skin, but some others aren’t. And shit like that is the reason people have body image issues. I am more convinced than ever that we were meant to be friends. Come visit Florida and bring that adorable little pup of yours with you.

  5. Trixie says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! The blog world needs more “normal” bloggers like you who aren’t obsessed with how they look and fitness and eating 3 carrots for lunch.

  6. Sophie @ life's philosophie says

    Thank you for this! I could not agree more. Sometimes I find myself browsing pinterest and getting stuck on the fitspo stuff, which usually makes me feel pretty shitty about myself. It’s pretty toxic. So I’m going to start avoiding that page like the plague.

  7. says

    THANK YOU FOR THIS. I could not agree more. the health and fitness page on pinterest use to be a lot more beneficial by sharing cool work outs..now its just HORRIBLE. Every time i go to look at it now i’m reminded why I don’t.

  8. says

    I think it’s dysfunctional, too. I actually do a big “UGH” for the people that feel the need to squeeze a workout in every day. I just want to sit on the couch and eat more waffles. You dig? I started feeling more comfortable in my skin as soon as I stopped counting calories and analysing what I ate. Now, if I want 5 cookies before bed, I do it, and I do it proud! Crumbs in bed is totally where it’s at!

  9. olivia says

    Didn’t you just do a whole post about Advocare as a diet plan you did? Or, not a diet plan, a “feel better regime” – whatever you want to call it, you took before and after pictures. Having this kind of “i’m not good enough as i am so i should change to feel better” stuff is just as bad as having it BLATANTLY displayed on pinterest. just food for thought. Not a lot of “normal” people do advocare challenges, and having that as something that was so amazing for you is also promoting that kind of thing.

    • Colleen says

      Oliva, I appreciate your food for thought. I disagree, but I appreciate it. I initially used Advocare to support my husband, and had no intention of losing weight. If you read into what I wrote, I stated the best part of it FOR ME, was the fact that my Crohn’s Disease is now under control. I didn’t post pictures of myself saying “you’re fat, I’m thin, get your ass in the gym.” I was showing how my bloat and discomfort was gone. I was routinely fueling my body with shit, and in turn, felt like shit. When I stopped doing that, I felt awesome, and I told people about it. I was thin to start and thin to finish – something else I noted in the post. I promote “normalcy” on this blog religiously, and just because I took sugar and processed shit out of my diet does not put me in the same category as what I’m talking about on Pinterest. I don’t do anything that average people don’t/can’t do, Advocare included.

      • Emily says

        Thanks for your reply Colleen.

        Though I have always really enjoyed your blog, I was a little turned off by it when you started promoting advocare. As someone with a disordered past, I really appreciated the fact that your blog didn’t trigger me back to those unhealthy thoughts and habits. If anything, the blog has encouraged me to continue recovering. So I guess I was just surprised to see the advocare stuff on your blog (I even re-read one of your posts about it because I thought I might have missed the satire somewhere). I know this is a late reaction to posts that happened a month ago, but I guess I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

        • Colleen says

          Thanks for your feedback, Emily. Any feedback is better late than never :) I’m sorry you were turned off by the Advocare stuff, and I’m even more sorry if it triggered you in anyway. Man, that’s the last thing I would ever want to do. I think my excitement about FEELING SO GOOD, really got lost in translation for most people. I lost a few pounds and was not bloated, sure (I’ve gain those pounds back BTW…Christmas cookies and cocktails, two things I cannot pass up!!) but I was so ecstatic about how my stomach issues were under control and how AMAZING I felt because I was fueling my body properly. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat what I want, when I want – but before Advocare I was really at a point where I was making myself sick with the way I was eating (which is NOT healthy!)

          I understand if you never want to come back and read The Lunchbox Diaries, but please know it was never my intention to turn people off or make anyone feel bad. As always, I was just sharing an experience. Thanks again,Emily. Be well!

          • Emily says

            Thanks for that response. And I am not one of those people that complains about bloggers that trigger me, because honestly, almost everything is a trigger for somebody so blogging would be impossible if you had to be mindful of everyone’s preferences!

            I personally believe in taking responsibility for myself and not going to blogs/websites that I know will put me in a bad state of mind. And for the record, your blog has never ever been one that I have had to stop reading. I just got a little confused by those posts, and I think I probably did mistake your excitement for some of the health results you experienced as excitement for losing weight.

            Thanks for writing such a thoughtful and “real” blog, I will continue to loyally lurk on here :)

  10. Sarah says

    Thank you for this post. I went through a period where I worked out for 2 hours a day and restricted what I was eating. I recently have taken up more time enjoying my life and good food. I couldn’t be happier. Do I have a little more warmth? You bet! Am I still beautiful? Of course I am!

    Thank you for witting what most women feel about these unrealistic images of fitness ! This is why I love your blog.

  11. says

    I love this Colleen. I am still working on being comfortable in my own skin. I know a huge part of it is not going to be weigh loss but treating my body right! and stop comparing myself to others.

    • Colleen says

      Thanks, Ashley! Yeah, weight loss and comparing are two totally different battles to fight. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, and that’s what’s beautiful! I applaud people who make it their life’s work to be totally fit and toned and all that stuff — it’s great — but it’s NOT for everyone, and that’s OKAY :)

  12. says

    I LOVE your blog and thank you for this. As an insecure, college-aged girl, it is hard to live in a world where I am bombarded with images such as the ones you posted. Especially after lacking self-control over the holidays, I needed to be reminded that I am beautiful no matter what.

    • Colleen says

      Yes ma’am you ARE beautiful no matter what! I think 99.9% of us lacked self-control at some point or another over this holiday season. It’s life! Being health and the best version of YOU is all that matters :)

  13. says

    thank you, dear girl.

    however, I don’t think you’re normal. I don’t think I’m normal, either. I don’t think the women in the photos you posted or anyone who commented or shared this post are normal, either. Because we are all our own person, different from one another, and unique. And normal is subjective.

    Imagine if one of the women in the photos above, photo-edited or not, stumbled upon this here post. Would they feel “less than” after reading your comments? Would a tear fill their eye because they will “never be normal”?

    I totally agree and understand with a lot of what you said. However – please be careful with the word “normal.” It can tear people down faster than you think, and I know that’s not your heart or your intention.

    • Colleen says

      I absolutely agree, my friend. As a mental health counselor, “normal” is never a word I would dream of uttering to my clients in a session, because you’re right, NORMAL is extremely subjective and comes with many implications.

      Where I get caught up in my blog is that I write as if I was literally talking to a friend. So, here I’ve used “normal” in a colloquial sense, but I understand what you’re saying and I appreciate it. I’ll even make an “edit” at the bottom of the post, because I would never want anyone walking away from this blog feeling less than, hurt, or insecure. Thanks for realizing that was never my intention <3

  14. says

    This is absolutely perfect! I’m always seeing those pictures and it does make me feel bad about myself. They act as though those pictures are what everyone should look like. Thank you for reminding us that most people don’t look like that!

  15. says

    You’re my favourite. I’ve been feeling anxious by all of the weight loss ads on tv the DAY AFTER XMAS (like, come on, give me at least a week to enjoy my holiday chub) and I don’t feel like I should feel anxious. Sometimes I gain 5 pounds, sometimes I lose 5 pounds. It’s called life, and I’m living it.

  16. Calie says

    I just went on that section of Pinterest, and while there are those types of messages if you search hard enough, I had to scroll for a while. A lot of what I see are recipes for lightened up dinners, healthy snacks, smoothies, and workouts. In fact, the first message I saw was “Stop Competing With Others And Start Competing With Yourself”. And all of those mentioned are topics fully supported by many of ‘famous’ blogs and people you’ve linked.

    I see where you’re getting at with some of the damning messages on that board, but I don’t see them very often, or not enough to say to heck with all the good on there. That board is in a sense just a broad board full of health and fitness blogs.

    • Colleen says

      Hey, Calie, thanks for your comment. I agree, I think that page is a broad board of intense health and fitness blogs…and those aren’t blogs that I read. Sure, talking about health and fitness is great and a topic I enjoy, but if it is the MAIN focus of a blog, I don’t read it (I used to, though!)

      Also, I think the pins on every section are generated by people that you follow, which is why *I* may have to evaluate who I’m following that’s pinning things like “I’m so fat and unhealthy and I’m going to look at this picture of a model in a bikini to motivate myself.” Maybe you don’t see them that often, but I most certainly do.

      I also agree that there ARE great articles in that section. I’ve found great tips and recipes on there in the past. I was simply just writing about an experience that I had.

  17. says

    omG! I just felt so identified! Great post! It’s the stereotype of model-type body that we all, are supposed to want. All those images in pinterest… There is certain no normal, but we need to learn to love our bodies as they are, hello in real world you don’t see many skinny-model-body types. You see real people that don’t starve themselves and eat whatever they want whenever they want. :D Thanks for sharing!

  18. says

    Thank you so much for this rant! I totally agree with it. With the amount of “heavy” food the holiday season brings, I’ve been feeling and little under the weather with myself these past few days (something I’ve struggled with before) and this post brought me back to where my mindset should be :)

  19. says

    I stumbled on your post by complete accident and I love it!! Your pulling up the jeans over your belly comment made me laugh. I do it all day long at work! Thank you so much for this post. All the eating I do over the holidays usually makes me feel kind of bad about myself when there’s really no reason I should put myself down b/c I’m addicted to food and desserts :)

  20. Jennifer L says

    Great post. A lot of that “inspiration” is really a way for people to make themselves feel special while putting others (normal “lazy” people) down.

  21. broome says

    If only people realky understood the fitness is 20% gym time & 80% good nutritional food they would realized they can have abs and a “thinner physique”. My thighs touch I have thunder thighs & I earned every part of it. I love desserts, chocolate, alcohol…All in MODERATION. I have plenty of curves, im a size 6 & enjoy my curves everyday. However, genetic plays Some part in how we look, there is a fine line between being fit/active/eating in moderation and being straight up lazy. If people understood that our world be healthier (note-not skinny but healthy) Big difference peopl

  22. broome says

    And yes I too pull my jeans over my belly when I sit down. All normal, including skinny people do too. Everyone is there own normal & frankly everyone’s bodies react differently to exercise and food, but we are all capable of making changes…..of you so choose. The people that list health & fitness blogs found things that work for them & put them out there to encourage others or give them an Idea about something to try, its definitely Not to our people down.

  23. says

    Awesome post! I am glad I came by this on Courtney’s blog. I feel as though this type of thinking is becoming way to prominent on social media and it is making me nervous. As one who is recovering from an eating disorder I can see how this could easily be a trigger for a person to be drawn into the dark world of ED’s. I hope posts like yours continue!

  24. kendra says

    I love THIS post but agree with the few others who have spoken out against your advocare posts. I was very very disappointed in this blog when you started blogging about advocare products. (What helped with the Crohn’s Disease was the change in diet something that you can do without the advocare products.) And the ingredients in advocare…In the meal replacement shake: Whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, milk protein isolate, L-glutamine, L-lysine, L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-valine, crystalline fructose, dicalcium phosphate, potassium citrate, potassium chloride, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, choline bitartrate, ferrous fumarate, inositol, vitamin E acetate, zinc oxide, niacinamide, vitamin A palmitate, copper gluconate, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, chromium citrate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, selenomethionine, thiamine hydrochloride, biotin, folic acid, phytonadione, cholecalciferol, sodium molybdate, potassium iodide (iodine), cyanocobalamin, maltodextrin, gum arabic, natural and artificial flavors, guar gum, beet root extract (for color), xanthan gum, medium-chain triglycerides, citric acid, malic acid, oat fiber, cellulose powder, citrus pectin, soy lecithin, sucralose, bromelain, papain.

    Prior to advocare I loved your blog. After advocare.. still love it just disappointed.

    • Colleen says

      Kendra, I appreciate your comment, and I’m sorry to have rubbed you the wrong way with the Advocare stuff. I really had never felt SO GOOD and I was excited about it. Man, to not have Crohn’s symptoms ruling my days?! That’s been AMAZING. I feel healthier than ever. I’m sorry if the mention of weight loss disappointed you. It was not something I expected, but as always, I’m honest on this blog. I see you posted the ingredients of the meal replacement shake. Luckily, that’s the one part of the 24DC that is optional :) Again, thanks for your feedback.

  25. says

    this is OUTSTANDING. i’m a pro at the ‘pull jeans over belly’ act!

    i know that being healthy for me is fueling my body with what it needs to function and to thrive in my workouts. if i get abs, so be it. but i really do like vodka too… =)

  26. Jennifer G. says

    It’s images like that that make me worry so much my daughter and the pressures in store for her future. Everything out there tells girls to be super skinny and inappropriately sexy. We are working very hard to teach her that true beauty is one the inside and that we all should love the bodies that God gave us. It is important to take care of them, but we should all appreciate whatever size, shape, even handicaps! Thanks for posting about this.

  27. says

    Thank you so much for everything you just said! I can’t stand fitspo…it’s so unattainable. Or at least it’s attainable if you go through hell and back

  28. says

    Amen! It’s so hard to decide whether or not to pin something with a good workout or good motivational quote when there’s a hungry, skinny model in her underwear showing us how supposedly awesome we can be. The thing is…those pins get pinned! Over and over! So they keep rolling out with new ones. Maybe a bunch of bloggers can do a pledge to not pin things like that?

  29. says

    just found you linked from Sweet Tooth, Sweet life and this is amazing. Thank you for this and your “normal” (if we can call it normal per your disclosure up there) sounds just perfect to me :) Great blog! Can’t wait to read more!

  30. says

    love this rant! I am “normal” too and I feel like Im always pulling my pants over stomach, haha. I do pin things for motivation but I don’t necessarily like the words written across it! I will never have abs either, I’ve come to the conclusion, but I will have a happy and healthy normal bod :)

  31. Kendra says

    This post actually gave me goosebumps reading it! THANK YOU so much. It’s such a struggle being beat down by our judgemental society… you see things “I had a cheat day this month and ate a cheeseburger” and I’m thinking – - first of all.. you only cheat ONCE a month? and when you do, it’s a fucking cheeseburger?? I had a cheeseburger last night, as a normal meal mind you, and was feeling pretty good about it until I realize you consider it a CHEAT meal?? It is NEVER good enough, our efforts. Even hearing someone say or god forbit “ADMIT” they aren’t perfect and don’t mind having a drink once in a while and like dt. coke and dessert – - halleluajah I’m not a monster!

  32. says

    Devil’s Advocate here – I agree that some of the sayings may be a little distasteful (i.e. “stop being fat and blah blah blah”) however a lot of the stuff I find is pretty motivating. For me, I enjoy exercising, but can be pretty lazy sometimes so when i see messages like “you can do this” or “no excuses” it gets me up off my butt and I am always glad I did. If people don’t like exercise or are already happy with their bodies/lifestyles, maybe stay away from that board on pinterest lol. For people trying to get motivated to incorporate more fitness in their lives, its actually pretty helpful!

    • Colleen says

      Totally agree! Pictures of muscular, toned, perfect girls do not motivate ME (they do quite the opposite), but I can absolutely see where you’re coming from! Whatever motivates people to be healthy, I love it. Everyone is different. I just don’t like body shaming or encouraging unrealistic/unhealthy expectations, you know what I mean? And whenever I look on that page, I get that vibe. But as always, it’s just MY perception :) Thanks for playing devil’s advocate!! :)

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