“Watch Out! It’s a Trap!” (Special WIAW Edition)

“Watch out! It’s a trap!”

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The famous last words of every major detective (or Star Wars alien) before they fall through a trap door into a dark and gloomy dungeon. Or a pool of sharks. Ya. Let’s go with the sharks.

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How about that just for today, we all pretend to be detectives.

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Detectives?! Please, just bear with me…

How about we change that to internet detectives?

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Getting warmer…

How about we further still change it to internet detectives of the health living trap?

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Ah, now I have your attention.

Today I want to talk about how we all need to be our own personal detectives when navigating the “healthy living” community of the blog world. This same community has been cause for so much reformation that it’s really astounding. I’ve read literally hundreds of stories of women (and men) who have found healthy living blogs and improved their lives dramatically. These stories range from simple adjustments to life-changing results. From weight loss to weight gain, from managing chronic disease to discovering an entirely new passion.

I, and probably many of you, fall into that latter category: Passion.

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Ever since I found this amazing community of blogs, I have developed an eye-opening passion for healthfulness, something that my former eighth-grade, oreo-binging self would never have even guessed at. And I am eternally grateful.

But…

There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?

That does not mean that I haven’t also made some mistakes when trying to follow the ideas of some of these same “healthy” blogs. I won’t go into much detail now, but I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of yo-yo-ing between restriction, over-consumption, etc.

Do I blame these things on my beloved healthy living blogs? Certainly not. But that doesn’t mean that they are entirely blameless. They are meant to provide tips, examples, and interesting information. However, they are not meant to be copied or taken as fact.

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Also, while I do truly believe that many of these popular bloggers have found a healthy balance in their lives, both with self and spirit, that doesn’t mean that all of the blogs that you encounter in this community will be healthy. Some will be quite the opposite, and many (actually quite a few in this category), will be the complete opposite.

Here’s where the detective work needs to come in. The job of a detective is to conduct investigations to identify “criminal activity.” Some such activities includes extreme calorie consumption (either on the low or high end according to accepted guidelines), distorted body image, exercising more than the recommended amount (professional athletes not included), engaging in obsessive/dangerous behavior (obsessive calorie counting, exercising, spending, caffeine addiction, compulsive tendencies, etc.), and making medical diagnoses or recommendations for themselves and others without the proper education and training.

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Now, these are just some of the things that I have identified as “criminal activities,” but I’m positive that there are many more, some I’m sure that have not been identified yet,  and a great number that can very easily slip under our detective radars.

My point in writing this post is to encourage all of you to investigate everything you read. Take nothing as fact or “healthy” until you do thorough research on your own and/or run it by a trusted professional.

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This may seem like a somewhat depressing post to use for this week’s WIAW party, but it’s one that I have been wanting to write for awhile.

I feel like What I Ate Wednesday is the perfect place to share my thoughts on this topic because it is very easy to fall into the comparison trap when reading food journals. WIAW is such a wonderful thing, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it… As long as we keep our magnifying glasses up and ready.

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Remember as the ever-so-smart Jenn from Peas and Crayons says:

—-What WIAW isn’t about—-

Comparison – Judgement – Restriction – Guilt

—-What WIAW is about—-

Celebrating one of the glorious things we all have in common: We all eat!

WIAW is about food and fun! It’s about making new friends, breaking out of a food rut, noting changes in your diet/lifestyle, inspiring yourself & others, embracing fruit & vegetables, nourishing your body with the foods that work for you, finding new ways to eat your favorite foods, and so. much. more. ❤

Celebrate Food.  Celebrate blogging.  Celebrate Individuality.
[Cause over here, we like to party!]

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Two additional thoughts before I wrap up this post for the day:

1. I am not saying that those who have different diets than what we consider “the norm” are restrictive or unhealthy. Sometimes there are perfectly legitimate reasons for eliminating certain food groups (take those with food allergies for instance– like me!), or having to watch specific macronutrients (like carbohydrates for diabetics). When looking at my meals (mostly soup right now), you may think that I am being restrictive, but I am eating for my health, and that is all. Hence the name of my blog: Eating 4 Balance. Right now I am trying to heal my gut, and ultimately find what works for me. Do I miss the other foods that I used to eat? Heck yes! But I feel much better without them. Also, now that I’ve eliminated most of my trouble foods I am actually able to eat more calories and fat than before (and perfectly within the “safe” range), without feeling completely terrible. If you ever have doubts about me, or another blog though, just ask!

2. You didn’t think that I could do an entire post without pictures of food, did you? I know I promised on Monday that I would be posting some awesome recipes, but I feel like this post takes priority. So, you’ll just have to wait. I promise it won’t be too long. Until then, a few pictures to hold you over:

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Have you ever fallen into the “healthy living” trap?

Are there blogs that you used to read that you don’t anymore, because they portray disordered habits?

What have you found effective when trying to figure out whether or not a blog is “healthy”?

On the topic of food… What is your favorite thing that you ate so far this week?

Seriously Strong

Most of the time my blog is all about me, which kind of makes sense because it is mine. Every once in a while though, I like to share some of the super awesome posts that I have read during the week.

Today I am going to feature seven bloggers whose posts really made me stop and think. All of them have in some shape or another shared some very personal thoughts and put it all out there. I want to showcase them today with the hopes that you will find them just as inspiring as I have!

So, without further ado, here are the blog posts that I think are…

Seriously Strong

Peace Love and Oats’ How Blogging Influences my Life

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Katie opened up a great discussion on her blog on how blogs influence our lives, both positively and negatively. She talks about how they can sometimes make us feel insufficient or cause us to judge ourselves against other bloggers, something that we should never ever do! Katie also makes a good point about making decisions based on what we feel is right, and not letting the fact that others are reading about our lives change what we know is right for us personally.

The Run Within’s Reflection Throwback

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Alex wrote an awesome #frEDdom post earlier this week and showed how far she has come by reflecting on one of posts that she wrote when she first began blogging. Even when she was just starting Alex was so in tune with herself. Her post really made me think about what beliefs that I have that are holding me back.

STUFT Mama’s “Expecting?” Reaction

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Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to share on your blog, but Kristin decided to brave it all and recap an encounter she had with some not-so-pleasant gym goers. Most people would have gotten mad, but not this lady! STUFT Mama is my favorite fitness blog and one of the fittest people that I know, which just goes to show you how off-base some people can bef.

Picky Runner’s Boston Blogger Brunch

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Sarah went to her first official blog meet up and shared the details on her last What I Ate Wednesday. I know I personally get really anxious when meeting new people, and she admitted on her blog that she got nervous and almost backed out. Sarah was really open with all of the thoughts she had during the meet-up, and shared a lot of the food fears she faced. Going out of your comfort zone is what it’s all about and in the end it was all worth it.

A Dash of Meg’s Weight Gain Afterthoughts

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In response to a reader’s comment, Meg spoke about negative thoughts that can sometimes arise when dealing with weight gain. She is currently lifting weights and doing a great job at fueling her body, and has gained 4.5 pounds so far! I almost feel like it may be easier to talk about weight loss on a blog because a lot more people are doing that these days, which makes weight gaining a lot less heard of and understood. Meg provided really good insight into what she did to prepare for gaining weight, and showed a lot of courage in her journey so far.

A Tablespoon of Liz’s Guess What!

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I’ll admit that I haven’t followed Liz that faithfully in the past, but I always check in every once in a while to see what’s new. Liz just posted yesterday about her struggle with digestive issues (something that I can totally relate with), and more recently a new diagnosis that basically changes everything. She’s being so open about it on her blog though, and I can’t wait to read more about how she’s overcoming Ulcerative Colitis.

Running with Spoons’ “You could be skinnier if..”

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Rude encounters have been happening all over the blog world apparently, and Amanda was cool enough to share hers. Some strangers really don’t know the effect that they have on people, especially regarding body image and weight. Amanda handled it beautifully though, and received some amazing comments. She even was brave enough to go in and speak to the manager so that what happened to her wouldn’t happen to anyone else.

And I just realized that this is kind of like my own version of Meg’s High Five Friday, so I’m definitely linking up this week!

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And that’s all for now folks! Hope you have some amazing weekends like always, and I look forward to reading your posts next week!

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Have you read any of the posts that I mentioned above?

What posts have you read this week (or anytime really) that have made you stop and think?

A Little Bit of Everything Awesome

It’s Friday… Are you excited?

I’m excited.

There has been SO MUCH awesomeness going on recently that I decided to just smoosh everything together into one big post.

Awesome #1: All of your comments. I know I say that all of the time. But really, you don’t know how much they mean to me. So many heartfelt, encouraging comments on What is Normal Anyways? and so many food-related, fun responses to my last WIAW. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Awesome #2: Today I’m participating in a Relay for Life event that I’m so excited about! My parents are coming up along with my aunt and one of her friends. I have five friends from school joining me. It’s going to be a blast.

You may remember from my “Normal” post that I was kind of stressing out over the whole thing. Still stressing because I did not raise nearly as much money or put as much time into our team as I had hoped. As one of my friends said though, “Just showing up is a big help.” So true. I hope I can remember that when I’m staying up until 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. Walking. Trying not to fall asleep.

Awesome #3: I love reading blogs so much. Here are a few posts that I found especially “awesome” this week:

Peace Love and Oat’s PicMonkey Tutorial.

Life of Di’s Merry Little Playlist. (<<Totally stealing this idea soon!)

Peachy Palate’s Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Brownies.

Cranberry Love BlogHop where I submitted my cranberry banana “ice cream”

Awesome #4: Christmas Window Shopping at Walmart with my mom last weekend!

Christmas bags are almost as awesome as what comes inside!

This would be perfect if I lived in a place with no snow. Here though, it’s kind of like a death wish. Next thing you know we have a blizzard…

Again, method of transportation may be even cuter than the gift itself.

SO. MUCH. WRAPPING. PAPER.

Getting fancy with the usual Christmas tins.

20 Dollars of pure awesome. We couldn’t stop laughing!

I NEED these for my dorm room windows.

And these… If I can’t eat a gingerbread house, I might as well have one for my windows.

Okay. All of the lights were actually working.

Pretty… But I don’t really see how Peacocks and Christmas really go together.

Is nothing sacred? What happened to red and green? Since when is Christmas about nail polish and cupcakes?!

Mom: Do you want a pink tree for your room.

Me: Hmmm… No.

Interesting.

Awesome #5: After today, I only have four more days until Thanksgiving break!

For some healthy holiday food, check out these links:

GlutenFree * Thanksgiving * Table on Pinterest

What Would Cathy Eat’s Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge

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Have you ever used PicMonkey? 

Done any Christmas shopping yet?

What are your travel plans for Thanksgiving?

*Edited to add: My honor’s program is about to buy our annual book that we get for being members. I have four options and would love some feedback on which one to choose! Here they are: A Fault in our Stars by John Green, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchel, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, and The Bluest by Toni Morrison.