Finding Inspiration

4 Nov

I’m an avid reader of many healthy living blogs. I love being motivated by their positivity. I feel inspired to go out and actually do some exercise. I try new recipes, and hunt for strange and unusual ingredients in health food shops. Admittedly, I skip over posts that are just about food and exercise, but still, it doesn’t always sit right.

Have you ever been in a situation in which the whole group suddenly starts talking about a topic to which you can’t possibly relate? Maybe it’s when you’re around friends who know each other from school; or when a bunch of work colleagues start talking shop. This is just how I feel when the issue of body image is raised on healthy living blogs.

Healthy living bloggers are lovely. They start things likeΒ Operation Beautiful – a scheme that involves leaving post-its in random places, with positive messages. The strongest message across the blogosphere is that your body is amazing, and you should love it no matter what.

One thing that links many of these bloggers is a history of restrictive-eating disorders. We see photos of beautiful, healthy teenage girls alongside stories of disordered eating (understandably no photos at that stage), and the road to recovery leading to healthy, athletic adults. Their message of self-acceptance is so important to encourage others out there to look after themselves, to love themselves.

But what if you’re the newbie amongst the old schoolfriends; the artist among bankers? What if your body isn’t healthy – all medically-recognised methods of measurement call you obese; and workouts leave you feeling wonky, broken and thoroughly down in the dumps? I’ve spoken before about my gratitude to my body for carrying me through infection, but you can’t help but feel, as Janet said, “What have you done for me lately?”

It’s a struggle to listen to the message to love your body when you just want to shift those 60lbs first. It’s tough to hear a natural size 6 girl say “don’t count calories! Just listen to your body, like I do” when listening to your body all your life has gained you a steady 6lbs per year since you left school.

This is why I was delighted to come across Lisa’s blog – 110 Pounds and Counting. This is someone I could truly relate to – she went through her early 20s being large; she recognised that there was more to it than the simple “Don’t diet, just eat less! Move more!” that the naturally-skinny bellow at us. While I will always love the blogs in my Google Reader, I am glad to have discovered someone whose life and attitudes are comparable to mine.

How about you, readers?

1. Where do you turn for inspiration?

2. Do you separate weight and health, or are you at the stage where the two goals are intertwined?

3. Do you find it easier to be inspired by people you feel are similar to you?

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10 Responses to “Finding Inspiration”

  1. optimumnutrition4u November 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    Hi! Just came across your blog while “playing” with wordpress. πŸ™‚ I am a nutritionist and recently started my little blog about healthy eating etc, http://optimumnutrition4u.wordpress.com. You are more then welcome to come and visit. I hope you will find something interesting there. As far as the inspiration goes…. I am inspired by life as it happens, the world around me (the beautiful part of it) and love (for special people, places, things and activities). πŸ™‚
    x

    • Becca November 5, 2010 at 8:21 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Natalia! I’m a bit of a nutrition hobbyist and would be interested in getting a qualification myself one day. Your website looks very interesting.

  2. claire November 5, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    Hey Becca. I hate it when people say they understand what you’re going through, because they generally don’t. But I too gained at least 6-10 lbs per year since the age of 20. I’m now 27 and I wasn’t particularly light to begin with. I’ve lost about 40 lbs already this year, and i have just over the same again to go (I’m not halfway yet). I don’t know if this is the place for all the detail, but I’d be happy to chat on email if you’d like.

    In answer to your questions:

    My inspiration comes from people in a similar situation to me. So to answer Q3, I do find it easy to be inspired by people who are similar to me. I get annoyed when in the slimming mag that I buy, in some months, there is no one who has lost more than 2-3 stones. I feel that it’s a rather different experience to lose 2 stones than to lose 7.

    And I did used to separate weight and health, but the health benefits I feel since losing weight and beginning properly exercising have convinved me that I was wrong when I used to say “I was big but I was healthy” – I think I was kidding myself a bit, though obviously I was healthier than some (didn’t drink too much, didn’t smoke, still exercised even then).

    Email me if you want to chat

    Claire xx

    • Becca November 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

      Thanks so much for this! Congratulations on losing 40lbs so far – that really is amazing.

      What you say about the “big but healthy” is exactly what I mean – we’re almost encouraged to convince ourselves that we’re happy as we are, even when that version of ourselves isn’t as healthy as we could be.

  3. monicamuses November 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Hi Becca! Thanks for the visit to my blog. I know where you’re coming from with regards to healthy living blogs–I absolutely love reading them and get so much inspiration from them, but sometimes they make me feel a little down about my own body and struggles with UC, because I know that at any given time my body is capable of turning on me (as evidenced by my terrible flare up these last few months). I try to nourish and appreciate my body as much as possible, but there are certainly times that it feels like my worst enemy. I wish that there were more healthy-living blogs about people struggling with chronic illness! I’m sure there are, I just don’t know of any!

    How’s that for an introduction, hah? I know that didn’t really answer any of your questions specifically πŸ™‚

    Thanks, again. I am enjoying looking through your blog!

    Monica

    • Becca November 8, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

      Have you checked out I’m (not) Superhuman? It’s a really interesting blog by a girl who lives with a condition where her feet feel like they are burning.

      • monicamuses November 9, 2010 at 12:32 am #

        No! But I just read her introduction post and am going back to read them all. Thanks for leading me there.

  4. Lisa November 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Thanks for the mention Becca…I felt similarly when I first started reading the blogs out there. I felt very isolated from them and couldn’t relate to a lot of them. Like you said, I spent my 20’s very heavy…unlike the other bloggers who gained their Freshman 15 and then became Marathon runners as a result. So I decided to search out blogs written by people who’s story was similar to mine…I can relate more to reading the struggles and successes of people who lost 50+ pounds. Those are mainly what I read now. πŸ™‚

    • Becca November 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

      Not at all, Lisa – I was delighted to find you! It’s so refreshing to know that we’re not alone.

  5. Summah November 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    I’m most definitely inspired by people who are like me, at the same place in life or have been there. It’s hard to be inspired by someone who is all, “I’m maintaining a 5 pound weight loss! I run marathons every other week! Eat like me!”

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