Are Most Bloggers Liars?

March 25th, 2014 | Posted by Erica House in Life

Most bloggers are not health experts.

99.9% are not celebrities.

The are ordinary people presenting their lives in a carefully curated way. Everything you have ever seen about me I have selected to share with you. That means I’m picking and choosing how I want to be portrayed, what I want people to think of me, and usually omitting the less than flattering photos of me sans make-up in stained pj’s binge watching netflix for 10 hours on a Sunday while eating an entire bag of chips. I try to show a realistic version of myself but I think it’s human nature to want others to see the best parts of you.

It disturbs me to come across bloggers who are portraying themselves to be pinnacles of healthy living but are clearly underweight, exercising obsessively and exhibit restrictive eating patterns. Obviously what they are showing online and what they are actually doing in real life are two very different things and I shouldn’t be making any judgement against them without knowing the whole story. The problem is when you put your life online you are opening it up for others to analyze. I take the same risk when I share parts of myself with the internets and I take full responsibility for that. My concern is that girls/women are reading healthy living bloggers and may try to mimic their lifestyles in an attempt to achieve their health or fitness goals. I’m all for using bloggers to help motivate and inspire you to be the best that you can be, but I think it’s important to remember a few key things.

1. Don’t compare your beginning to their end. I’ve been exercising regularly for 5 years now. When I first got started it was with Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and I couldn’t even complete all the moves in level 1 and I would be sore for days after. Now, I could do all 3 levels in a row and probably have minimal soreness the next day. It’s taken me years of working out to get where I’m at now.

Also, I just started running 2 years ago and found this old blog entry talking about working toward my first 5k.

Our goal for the month of July was to completed a 5k in 38 minutes. Sunday we completed 4.5 miles in 55 minutes putting us at a 12:14 minute mile pace. That would put us at our goal of 38 minutes already! We have worked up to running for about a minute then resting for 30 seconds on and off until we’ve completed the distance  (typically 3-4 miles). We run 2-3 times a week and have been working on this for about 2 months now.

Less than two years ago I was only able to run for a minute at a time before resting and now I’m working on marathon number 2. We all start somewhere. Look how excited I was two months after that blog entry when I finally finished a 5k in 37 minutes!

5k

I still struggle with comparing myself to more advanced athletes. One of my absolute favorites is Nadia Ruiz. This girl is 29, she’s done over 100 marathons, 3 ironmans, countless other races, and she works full time as a teacher. She’ll run 10 miles before class, swim 2000 meters on her lunch break, and go to the stairmaster for an HOUR at night (I just made up those numbers but they are not atypical for her!) I love following her on facebook and instagram but sometimes I’ll catch myself looking at her workout summaries for the day and thinking “Man, I’m such a lazy asshole for just running 5 miles today. I could have done more!” I have to remind myself that she has been running marathons since she was in high school, so she’s got 15 years of training behind her.

2. You are only seeing parts of their diet. When I share photos of my meals I try to show a balanced representation of what I actually eat. Sometimes it’s a super healthy salad and sometimes it’s a bag of chips and some ice cream for dinner. Even then I never show every single thing I eat because that would be just weird and really annoying. On the rare days I show what I eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I still don’t usually show all the other stuff I end up snacking on throughout the day. So what you’re seeing me eat is maybe 1400-1500 calories but what I actually eat is 2000+.

I came across this article and it highlights some of the … discrepancies between what bloggers show for their meals and what they actually eat. I don’t follow the bloggers they talk about but I have seen this exact behavior in person when I attended Fitbloggin last year.

 Despite training for a December marathon, she ditched her breakfast dish—piled with fruit, bagel thins, and fat-free yogurt—after a few bites. Later, she posted a picture of her full plate online, raving about the “amazing” food.

You see these full plates of food on someones instagram and don’t even pause to think they may only be eating a small portion of it. Which brings us to my last point:

3. Bloggers lie (or, ‘omit the truth.’) Whether they are lying to themselves or purposefully lying to their readers I don’t know. I try to be as transparent as possible about things I may be struggling with emotionally or physically but that’s not always the case with other bloggers, or even with myself. You can look at a bloggers life as it is portrayed online and think it looks ‘perfect’ only to find out; their marriage is falling apart, they compulsively exercise hours a day, they have an eating disorder they are trying to hide, or maybe they are dealing with infertility or other health issues their doctors have linked directly to their diet/exercise. I know different bloggers who can fall into each of those categories. Scary. Most of the time they don’t disclose this information because they prefer to deal with it privately and I 100% respect that. It’s just important to remember you never know the whole story.

lollDo you feel like most bloggers are authentic?

Do you think we should try to portray ourselves realistically, or is social media inherently made for sharing the best of ourselves and our lives with others? 

 

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124 Responses

  • I think a lot of bloggers are, or at least try to be, but then there are so many who are not authentic and do display crazy behaviors. I think they believe they are doing the right thing, but in reality they are just denying the health and life they preach. It is really sad to see that, but can we do anything bout it?

    • Erica House says:

      I don’t think there is much we can do about it aside from not read/support those bloggers who are clearly demonstrating negative healthy behaviors. I had to trim down my blog reader from almost 100 fitness blogs to about a dozen after I realized many of them were just unrealistic.

  • Tina Muir says:

    Interesting topic Erica, and I do agree with you. I am an elite athlete, and I try to live my life in a way that means when it comes to the big races I can know that I gave it everything I had. However, I am only human, I have an insane sweet tooth (one that makes the first thing I do in the morning be reach for some chocolate), and I try to share that side of myself with the world. I try hard to make sure I am not hiding who I am, I post the pictures of me makeup free, and as a normal person. I think I could have easily shown the glamorous lifestyle of an elite, but it really isnt. In a lot of ways I am just like everyone out there, especially when it comes to running, I am actually not as into it as some bloggers I see.

    This has really got my mind thinking, and it really saddens me when I see exactly what people eat all the time, as I know it cannot possibly be true. I have maintained a healthy weight, but am still a lot heavier than a lot of runners out there, but I am okay with that!

    Thanks for the post,it is difficult not to portray the best part of you, especially as those you see “in real life” on a daily basis will also see the blog, but in the same way, people should love you for who you are, flaws and all!

    Sorry for the essay haah!

    • Erica House says:

      Tina, thank you for the response! I also had some time to check out your blog more in depth, you are a beast!

      I think the biggest thing that gets me, as you mentioned, is seeing what fitness bloggers eat and feeling 99% confident that they can’t possibly be telling the truth. I just don’t get the point in being deceptive about that, or anything really. I guess some bloggers want to give off the impression that they can eat whatever they want and still be ‘fit’ as it makes the appear more special? I have no idea.

  • I love your honesty here, and for putting forth a responsible post that I wish others would do from time to time too, if only as a reminder. I am only recently reading your blog but I can see where so many young women/girls (I’m 40, so a little wiser…a LITTLE!) would come across your site or others like it and either feel defeated or take extreme measures to get to where you have so clearly worked hard to get to. I think many bloggers are authentic, usually, in what they present, but I do appreciate how much of it is cultivated and trimmed back nicely for the public eye. I know this just from my own blogging–there are certain topics that are off the table for me (I blog about my daughter and things I (re)learn by now being a parent, but other things like my husband or a lot about my parents are almost exclusively off the table for blogging fodder). I think that is what not always appreciated by some readers. Great post — I’m really glad to have started reading more than just your tweets :)

    • Erica House says:

      I’m glad you were able to check out my blog! I do try to remind people of where I’ve come from (50 pounds heavier, chain smoker, heavy drinker) but I don’t do that with every post as that would be redundant so I wanted to take a moment to remind readers of a few things about my blog (and many others.) One of the biggest triggers to write this was reading in that article I quoted from about blog readers getting hurt after attempting to copy the workout routines/intensity of bloggers they follow. I don’t think bloggers should be held totally accountable for what their readers do, but I think we should take time to remind others what it really takes to get to where we are now.

  • Sara says:

    I cannot tell you how much I agree with this. When I first started reading people’s blogs – I would look at them and think – their life is so great and they are always so happy. You only see part of their life and usually it is only a fluffed up good part of it. Rarely I find are people honest about their life on their blogs – they think all people want to see and hear is the positive. When I think really a lot of people could relate to the down times, negatives, and real-life stories. Not the: “I just ran a PR, got married, my life is great and nothing is ever wrong”.

    People have down times in their life, struggles, low points – I think those are just as important to address and blog about because it humanizes you. It allows people to relate I think on a new level.

    Great post – thanks for speaking up about it!

    • Erica House says:

      Sara – thank you for the comment! I just read over a few of your most recent blog posts and had to add you to my feedly. I’m excited to start following you!

      I certainly try to share my struggles in moderation on here. It would probably become depressing/annoying if I shared every issue I had so I try to keep in balanced.

  • This is something I ask of myself all the time. I try to be REALLY honest (almost to the point of being painful sometimes). But I think I do show the whole picture – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    I have caught myself in the comparison game with other people’s training schedule, discipline, diets, etc. Especially lately. I had to reset last week, and just focus more on myself. I can see how people struggle with some of the things that people present.

    • Erica House says:

      Krysten, I can genuinely tell when you write that you are trying to be as honest with your readers as possible, and that’s one of the many reasons why I love following your blog so much! I had to stop reading most HLB’s and unfollowed a lot on instagram because it was just making me crazy. I hate having to distance myself from so many in our ‘community’ like that but I just need to work though my own issues of self-comparison and not worry about others for a while.

  • You know I love this! I try to be as open and honest as possible when it comes to me personally. The one person I do protect with all my might is Kenzer. She is her own person, and is getting to an age where she probably wouldn’t want me to share everything about her, so I respect that whole heartedly.

    And even with all the wonderful things happening at the moment, I don’t want to come off with these “humble brag” life casting posts. So for instance yesterday I shared our kitchen pics, but I made sure to let my readers know that I skipped my run yesterday morning to be a nurse to Alfie because he LITERALLY couldn’t get out of bed without help.

    I want to be as genuine as possible and the blogs I enjoy the most are those you can tell are being genuine (like yours!)

    • Erica House says:

      When I read about you skipping your run yesterday I actually did an ‘awwww’ out loud :)

      You’ve always come across as someone who’s open and honest about their life and I think that’s why we hit it off so well!

  • Love that you brought attention to this! When I first started reading HLBs, I honestly felt pretty awful- I wasn’t training for anything and simply worked out (strength training and running about 10 miles a week total) for enjoyment, to keep healthy, and help manage stress. I eat dessert every single night whether it is ice cream, a piece of a candy bar or dark chocolate, or cookies- Greek yogurt does NOT count as dessert to me. After a while I realized who gives a f. This may sound bad because man bloggers just try to send positive vibes, but I think it’s amusing when some try so hard. You don’t have to air your dirty laundry about the arguments you get into with your husband, but portraying everything is perfect is annoying (I found a few blogs I follow and enjoy now). Facebook is the WORST with this. Speaking if which, I need to clean up my friends list sometime, haha.

    • Erica House says:

      “Greek yogurt does NOT count as dessert to me” < -- I lol'ed at this. When I started blogging 2 years ago I remember saying to my then boyfriend that everyone was a marathoner. Obviously that’s not true but the bloggers who are the most popular seem to be the ones that are pretty extreme with their clean eating and fitness. There have been many days when I logged onto facebook or instragram and saw others bragging about their latest 2 hour workout session or the 300 calorie ‘clean’ lunch they just had and felt like shit. It’s not that I don’t do the same sometimes, but it’s a reminder that I could always do better. Sometimes I don’t want to do better! Sometimes I just want to be average.

  • Hmm I guess I take some offense at this because I do try to share all sides of it and never portray myself as perfect. I also know a lot about that nasty article and it wasn’t accurate on many levels. I would hope that anyone understands that celebs aren’t perfect and bloggers are just people.

    • Erica House says:

      “bloggers are just people.” <-- I absolutely agree and just wish some bloggers would show themselves as less perfect more often. Many bloggers, such as yourself, do portray a realistic lifestyle. I also feel like most of the bloggers I referred to fall into the 'lifecasters' category who post daily about what they did to workout or eat, and you post more genuine health/wellness articles. As for the article I referred to I hadn't read anything counteracting what it said and the disclaimer of the article ("Like every article published in Marie Claire, this one was researched and edited carefully over the course of many months, and we stand by its content") led me to believe it was accurate.

  • This is such a tough subject. On the one hand, you don’t want to be that blogger that complains all the time, but then again, you want to be realistic. This has become a huge topic of discussion for bloggers lately and I think it’s because we get jealous and/or start comparing (like you said) and we want to know that the blogger we follow isn’t really perfect (which could be the same for people in real life! We don’t all share every life detail even with friends!).

    It’s a balance all bloggers need to find and in the process, try not to point fingers. Some of the happy, upbeat, positive sunshine blogs really help people just as some of the more “real” posts can help people. In contrast both types of blogs/posts can irritate certain people.

    Thanks for bringing this up! It’s a very relevant subject with the growing number of blogs and social media communication.

    Do I win longest comment of the year? ;)

    • Erica House says:

      Amanda, not even close to longest comment ;) I love how verbose most of my readers are!

      I agree with all of the points you made. Would I want to read a blogger who was always honest about every single part of their lives and shared every good/bad/neutral thing that happened to them? Probably not. That’s real life and I’ve got my own to keep me occupied! I think most blog readers read blogs to be inspired or motivated, and when they are reading bloggers that are not sharing the whole story about what it takes to look the way they do then I take an issue with that. Especially when the blogger is trying to come across as some sort of ‘authority’ on health/weight loss/fitness.

  • There are definitely some blogs I’ve been following that I plan on trimming from my reader because I either don’t agree wtih how they are treating their body or I feel like they aren’t being entirely truthful.
    I definitely don’t share some parts of my life, but I also do my best to be truthful and authentic. I don’t really share my food because I’ve never really been interested in WIAW (and, like you, I also feel some people aren’t honest with what they share), but I try to talk about my anxiety and daily struggles to present a realistic picture of my life.

    • Erica House says:

      Trimming my blog reader down made me feel instantly better.
      Maybe I’m just projecting a lot of my own insecurities onto other bloggers with this post, but comments like yours reinforce I’m not the only one who takes issue with this.

  • OMG this is so funny! No wonder why you left that comment on my blog about Lauryn!!! AH ha ha ha aha hah! It all makes sense. And let me tell you, I do agree with you on all of this. WHY LIE on your blog? IT’S YOUR BLOG!! You’re supposed to be YOU – right??? I am always 100% me – Sometimes when I am writing posts I think, “Oh that’s too inappropriate” or “I shouldn’t write that because I don’t want to offend, etc” – but then I think, “GiGi – this is YOUR BLOG, you can do whatever you damn well please!” – So that’s is just what I do ;)

  • laurenf1022 says:

    100% agree! I have clients who come to me with disordered eating habits after eating/working out exactly like other bloggers. It’s a great discussion to have, and it helps them realize that they’re seeing a “snapshot” of the blogger’s life. I do have to say that authenticity matters, and you can tell when someone is coming across as real.

    • Erica House says:

      See…the fact that you have clients in real life who are coming to you mimicking what they see on healthy living bloggers is exactly why I wanted to write this. I think readers need to take responsibility and realize they can’t copy the diet/exercise patterns of someone else and bloggers need to remember even if they aren’t claiming to be healthy ‘gurus’ that people are reading them and looking to see how they live for inspiration.

  • bendiful says:

    I agree with you. That’s why I TRY to show the variety in my life. I’m a mom and have plenty of other interests outside of health and fitness. I worry more about super young blogger who don’t seem to have those same outside interests. They never show themselves in any light other than health and fitness. I just talked about how isolated I feel as a mom/business owner and blogger. I thought it was important to show people that I’m human and we all have these feelings. I detest the WIAW posts and regularly remove people from my reader who write them. I show recipes and sometimes a shot of food on instragram but never one day of here is what I ate. That just doesn’t sound appealing to me as a reader.

    I think also a bit of this is to each their own, and I will admit I get a little bit jealous when I read a blog that is all about the things you mention and the most trivial post has 790000000 comments meanwhile I try to write posts that help people and offer useful information and am lucky to get 13 comments. I think it’s hard to have a good mix of perfectness and realness. People don’t want to read depressing stuff I think we generally read blogs as entertainment so we want it to be happy and seemingly perfect. We are humans we all want what we think everyone else has.

    • Erica House says:

      I am forever grateful that I decided to make my website my name so that I could grow in other directions beside just health/fitness. I think it helps widen my audience and gives me more freedom to portray my genuine life/interests: health, travel, psychology and cats.

      I also cannot STAND the WIAW posts. What’s the point of them? Sharing pictures of delicious food you really enjoyed I get, but chronicling every single thing you eat for an entire day for others to see? Why?!

      “Bigger” bloggers tend to get ridiculous amounts of comments on their ‘Hey guys I just had this for breakfast’ posts that they put up 3x a day. It bothered me for a hot minute, then I realized that the comments I receive on my posts may be fewer in number but FAR more substantial in content.

  • Athena says:

    I think a lot of bloggers try to start off as authentic but they start to have a warped perception of what they need to portray online. For instance, I read a ton of personal finance bloggers and I was telling my boyfriend ( who also blogs), that a lot of bloggers seem to be in a competition of who can spend the least in one area, which seems odd to me, especially when they don’t account for anything. A lot of funny math going on there.

    But, you’re blog is great and it’s one of the only fitness/health ones I read. I love your weekly wrap ups and how honest you are about your health. Keep it up. :)

    • Erica House says:

      Athena, I’m so glad you enjoy reading my blog!
      I didn’t even touch on the competition between bloggers on today’s post and I really should have. It does seem like HLB’s get into a ‘contest’ of who can workout the most or eat the cleanest. Every BODY is different so everybody should just do what works best for them!

  • Great post! I definitely think its impossible to know a person solely by reading their blog . I try to keep mine as real as possible by expressing my fears and failures but its not easy to admit at times. And of course I still post the good photos and we all omit the boring day to day stuff. Funny you say how some bloggers eat less than the photos – often I post my food and I end up going back for more!

    • Erica House says:

      I was just thinking the same about pictures of my food! I’ll snap a pic of the plate I have for dinner but usually go back for seconds, or add another side to it or something.

  • Helen says:

    I love this post, Erica. I tend to compare myself to other bloggers but I have to realize that maybe they are just portraying only a part of their life. I love your blog because you make it real and I can really relate to you!
    I try to be as honest as possible. But I tend to not talk about certain things for the privacy of others.

  • This is such a great post.

    One of the reasons I kind of stopped reading most HLBlogs was because they felt so fake and manufactured and I just couldn’t relate to them. Certain ones it seemed like their whole job was working out at the gym. Wake up and go for a run, followed by yoga and fro-yo with other bloggers and then crossfit. Um, what? I have a job. I work a full day and then try and fit the gym in–make it as quick as possible so I can go home and be with my loved ones.

    I also felt like the food they were posting about wasn’t the whole story and somewhat disordered. If they showed EVERYTHING they ate, maybe it wouldn’t look so disordered. Who knows.

    • Erica House says:

      “their whole job was working out at the gym. Wake up and go for a run, followed by yoga and fro-yo with other bloggers and then crossfit. ” <--- So cannot relate to this life either.

  • erica – this is a really interesting post. I read the article in Marie Claire that you linked to too. It’s very interesting to see a side of HLB that people have issues with. It’s not all perfect yet I find myself obsessing over other blogs thinking all about their perfection. I’ve found a hard time finding my blog “voice” but i really just want to be REAL. But is real boring and not what people want to read or will learn from? It’s a slippery slope. Like you said, though, a blog only portrays a segment of a person’s life and you would hope they display content that exhibits their life realistically and “balanced.”

    Your post definitely has me thinking, thanks for writing it!

    • Erica House says:

      That Marie Claire article was absolutely shocking to me! I can’t believe I hadn’t seen/heard about it before.
      “Real is boring” … very true! I think that’s why I try to write more ‘articles’ than ‘heres my life’ type posts because my everyday life is typically very mundane. I write about my life on Mondays and Fridays because I know my readers like seeing who I am in a day-to-day sense, but those types of posts don’t get shared or commented on like the more informative/tutorial one’s I try to write.

  • Kim says:

    I do think that most of the bloggers I follow are pretty honest.

  • misszippy1 says:

    I think most bloggers are honest, but I will also say that I think unhealthy “healthy” behaviors of many bloggers is a bit out of control. I am disturbed by the piles of miles I see out there among running bloggers, for instance. It’s not normal and not healthy and unfortunately, we start to get a skewed view on things by reading this. I also see some disturbing eating habits out there. So I think we see some pretty honest living from most bloggers, but that honest living isn’t necessarily healthy.

    • I’m with Amanda on this one. I think so many “healthy living” bloggers have gone way too far with their carefully constructed images of what is healthy. I feel like I see way too many “challenges” that exacerbate issues when in reality, the entire nature of documenting your daily meals is a bit bizarre to begin with. I’d like to think that readers see all of that too….but who knows. Slippery slope!

      • Erica House says:

        I think part of the problem is that so many HLB’s are now marathoners, ironmen-in-training, or doing figure competitions. If that’s the case then their training schedules and/or eating habits may be appropriate, but everyday readers like myself can still get caught up in the comparison game and forget that our end goals are vastly different.

    • Erica House says:

      I think my entire issue with the topic could have been summed up with your response, “I think we see some pretty honest living from most bloggers, but that honest living isn’t necessarily healthy.”

      I was just thinking the other day about how popular marathons have become and whether or not that is a good thing. I’m ALL for people getting into running but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before every causal runner who has a blog decides to train for a marathon. I’m so glad I trained for my first with a local running store as if I had decided to do it on my own there’s a huge chance I could have screwed myself over not having a clue what I was doing.

  • I really like your point about not comparing your beginning to someone else’s end. I think that’s easy to forget when you’re reading someone’s blog and wondering if you don’t ‘measure up’ based on comparison, whether it’s in terms of fitness or not.

    Nearly all the blogs I follow (or at least the ones I read on a regular basis) are interesting to me and helpful because they *don’t* always post the sunshine and rainbows. There are injuries, there are setbacks, there are days of feeling not-so-great, and that makes them relatable. I know there are blogs and I’ve read some of them, where it really does seem like Pleasantville. When I get that impression from a blog, I just don’t bother going back.

    In terms of my own blog, I’d say only about 20% of it is personal stuff and I never consciously think about whether I’m projecting a ‘good’ side or not.

    • Erica House says:

      Just like in my own life I think most learning happens when reading about other peoples injuries/struggles. If I read a blogger who talks nothing about how great their marathon training is going what am I learning there? But, if I read a blogger talk about how they are getting over IT band injury or how they handled hitting the wall the first time then I’m learning something meaningful that I can apply to my own life.

  • Alice says:

    Hey Erica,
    I think this is really interesting – I feel I just started blogging and it’s weird to be aware of what to share considering when you live life you’re living all of it. How do you decide even what to share? It’s tough think honesty is always best? It’s maybe not lying, just omission of the bad.

    • Erica House says:

      Well, I decided pretty early on that I was just going to share all of it. A few months after I started my blog my bf that I lived with dumped me out of nowhere and the very next day I blogged about it. Figured I may as well use it as an opportunity to show other women that life will go on after a relationship ends. That post really catapulted my traffic and I realized that being open about everything I went through in life would likely only help others feel comfortable sharing similar struggles and want to continue seeing how I got through mine.

  • Karen Jung says:

    I completely agree with this and it was for this reason that I once banned myself from facebook for over a year! I called it the facebook effect where I would read people’s status updates and see their pictures detailing their amazing job, perfect boyfriend, wonderful vacation and how much they are exercising. I would compare my life with theirs; how unhappy with how things were for me–why couldn’t my life be perfect too? And I felt worse every time I logged out of facebook. But once I deactivated my account, my friends were forced to email me or actually pick up a phone so we could talk and stay in touch and it was some of these friends I was comparing my “sad” life to their “perfect” life and I would learn that they have no money, or they are having a major fight with their boyfriend or are just really unhappy personally. Which just showed me that most of the people that appear to have these perfect lives, in fact are stumbling over everyday obstacles just like me, only they don’t portray THAT aspect of it on social media. Regarding healthy living blogs I have definitely gotten trapped in the comparison trap, especially with peoples race times, PR’s and pace times and think how slow of a runner I am. Then I remember that I run for me and for me only. Also, as much as I love running and I couldn’t imagine my life without it, it also isn’t my priority. Of course healthy living, exercise and nutrition are near and dear to me, but again, they are not my priority. I have other things in my life that are more important and running just happens to be part of my life, but it isn’t my whole life. And honestly, I’m proud of that that my life, that I have other things in life bring me joy.

    • Erica House says:

      I love a good word vomit session :)

      So much research has been done to show the ‘facebook effect’ is a very real thing. People feel more depressed/anxious after spending time on social media sites looking at the ‘hightlights’ of their friends lives. I actually unfollowed most of the people on my facebook for that very reason!

      I love hearing how happy running makes you. I try to remember that I run for the same reasons – because I love it, and not get caught up on the fact that my marathon time is almost an hour slower than most of the bloggers I read!

  • Karen Jung says:

    woah I didn’t realize my comment was an essay! Sorry about that, I tend to word vomit a lot

  • Thea says:

    I am new to blogging. I hope to be authentic. I actually get really inspired by peoples stories. I am kind of sick of facebook and pinterest were its basically idea stealing, which is great, but I want to create something. I don’t want to be just a fitness blog though, so maybe this doesn’t apply to me. I think your points are really valid about not comparing yourself to some of these people. you look amazing by the way, thanks for this post! :)

    • Erica House says:

      Facebook and instagram are the worst to me because they are just image based showcases of how awesome everyones lives are!
      I think this posts was mostly geared toward fitness bloggers, since that’s primarily what I read, but could certainly be applied to almost anyone who shares their lives online. Good luck starting your blog!

  • I love THIS POST!!!!!

  • I was referred to you by Jessica at OneStepCloser. I think you’re adorable (picture and zest). BUT, your post seems jealous and defensive. And immature. It’s sort-of defending the ‘dear diary’ blog which I think is lame. Who needs to post ‘everything’ about their lives? Blogs should be contained to one subject matter unless, of course, it’s written by a celebrity about whom everyone cares what she had for lunch. Your position seems negative to me, and you seem very young. Nonetheless, I applaud you for speaking your mind. That is always my first priority. I’ll be back to read more.

    • Jane says:

      Oh, Nicole, why you gotta threaten the poor girl with returning? You’re such a troll.

    • Amanda says:

      I was also referred by Jess. I think this post is well-written and seems neither jealous or defensive. It appears you are the only commenter who interpreted it in that manner, so perhaps the issue is yours.

  • I think sometimes it is a fine line to walk. I try to be honest about things and as open as I can be, but I do try to keep my focus mostly on running and sometimes food (and beer). Why don’t I talk about more? Because I have to weigh everything I say against how it will affect my kids and husband. I think a large percentage of bloggers walk that line and try to be authentic, but as a blog reader, I’ve learned that whatever anyone shares is just a snapshot of their life and usually told only from their perspective.

    Good post. I enjoyed reading it and it certainly made me think a bit about what I share…

    • Erica House says:

      I’m sure if I had a family I would be much more selective about what type of personal information I shared on here. I think most of the dishonesty I’ve picked up on is what people are doing to maintain the figures that they currently have.

  • clarebrady says:

    Interesting topic.
    I don’t think many people INTENTIONALLY lie (maybe a few) but there are some that are truly confused / not well and don’t realize they are portraying the wrong picture. I certainly used to be one of them, and while I don’t think that justifies my behavior it’s definitely important not to judge.

    I think reader responsibility comes into play BIG TIME and recognizing that you can only take blogs for what they are, and to stop reading ones you think aren’t beneficial to you.

    good post!

    • Shannon says:

      Agreed, reader responsibility is important, but just like you weren’t well and didn’t realize you were potentially harming others, some of your readers may have been equally or more unwell and not known that what they were reading wasn’t “beneficial” to them. When I was at my sickest, I read all the “Big” HLBs and strove to eat/exercise like them and it spiraled out of control. It took hitting a VERY low point before I even began to suspect there was something wrong with me. It took a wonderful therapist and a very closed loved one to get me to stop reading those blogs. A year later, when I was starting to feel confident in my recovery that I “relapsed” and went back to read some of them…I felt like I missed some old friends! But when I went back, it wasn’t enjoyable anymore. I began to see behind the curtain, as it were, and noticed how disordered and unhealthy some of them really are.

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t BLAME HLBs for my eating disorder. But I think some of them contribute to “normalizing” or “condoning” disordered behavior, making it easier for those of us who are ill to remain in denial. Especially with bloggers who claim to be a picture of recovery but eat a rotation of 10 safe foods and exercise every day. It can be really harmful to those who are in the early stages of recovery, or who are very young and impressionable, to lead them to believe these kinds of behaviors make for a successful recovery.

      I don’t judge these bloggers, exactly, because I know how hard of a fight they have, and I realize they aren’t intentionally harming people. But it does worry me. As I said, their readers are probably just as unaware of the harm being done as the bloggers. I can’t help but think, when I was reading these blogs and mimicking their behaviors, I was only hurting myself, but by writing them, bloggers are hurting others.

      There’s no clear answer. It’s like the internet has this whole community built around justifying and celebrating disordered eating/exercise.

    • Erica House says:

      Yes, and I didn’t want to appear like I was trying to ‘call out’ any bloggers for displaying disordered eating patterns as I’m sure most of them are not aware of what they are doing.

  • Ehh…. I think this is just life. It’s not just bloggers who “lie by omission.” If you look at any social media stream you’ll find people posting the highlight reel of their lives, not their dirty laundry or problems.

  • Michele says:

    I think bloggers are like reality shows – edited. Just curious…you do know about GOMI right?

    • Erica House says:

      Yes, GOMI is a semi-frequent stop for me! I don’t have cable so it’s my version of watching trashy reality tv. I’ve noticed some traffic from that site a few times and from what I’ve read they have some good points against many bloggers (myself included!)

  • Erika says:

    So, I have this theory… and it’s that… I think most people tend to think that most other people see the world like they do. And even if we know that isn’t true, sometimes we have to remind ourselves of it or step out of our “default” setting.

    I bring this up because I tend to think that people operate with the same ethics and values as me as the baseline. I’m a lot like you — I strive for authenticity, honesty, and sometimes I even overshare in my need for transparency. I’m learning that there’s a line between being private and being too vulnerable and I’m trying to figure out what my boundaries are. That said, so many people pose as experts because that’s what the pressure of the internet demands. You’re only worth listening to or paying attention to if you have everything figured out (or so it would have you believe). And some people — many — give in to that pressure, preferring the attention that comes from it rather than the potential isolation from being themselves.

    So, I definitely get what you are saying and I think it happens maybe more often than I would think. But I try not to operate like that and so I give most people the benefit of the doubt. :)

    • Erica House says:

      One of the best lectures I give in my psych class is that on communication and personal history. We all have our own life experiences and they have made us interpret the world in vastly different ways, so I agree that it’s imperative to recognize that how I interpret things is not necessarily how others would! I also see there is a very real pressure to have credentials/authenticity to be viewed as a ‘legitimate’ blogger.

  • Great points, but I think you’re more honest than what you give yourself credit for. Not showing 100% of your food doesn’t make you dishonest. Being dishonest is when you share a pic of your monthly pancake meal and say “I snack on pancakes all the time”.

    I think that if you blog, you should go into with all or nothing. The blogs that I’ve read that are half hearted don’t work, or eventually stop / fade away. It’s like starting race too hard, they’ll explode and get notice but will eventually fade away and be beaten. The blogs that I’ve read that are open books have a completely dedicated army of fans. Check out James Altucher for a hint of what I’m talking about.

    People can still build up a fanbase with a dishonest blog, but eventually they’re going to get called out and I don’t see the point. Honesty is much better for long term gains.

    • Erica House says:

      I absolutely can tell that my openness has helped build up my readership more than anything else I’ve done. I realized after I made myself vulnerable and shared all the emotions I went through after a relationship ending shortly after I started the blog that people really wanted to see ‘real.’ So, that’s what I strive to do, and perhaps why I get irritated when I see others doing the opposite.

  • This reminds me of the Portlandia episode/clip where the couple goes to paris (or was it Italy?)–online it looked so glamorous, but in real life it totally sucked. Not that that’s what bloggers are doing, it’s just, as you point out–impossible to show everything we do!

  • Danielle says:

    Interesting post! That last picture comparison is perfect haha. I think we all share select parts of ourselves in almost any situation, not just blogging. We all have different “personalities” depending on whether we’re at work, with friends, with family, etc. Bloggers often face a lot of criticism, or they’ve heard of situations where bloggers have been extremely upset over comments, so I think it’s only natural to be hesitant and try to avoid that. I know I’m still trying to find my blogging voice. Despite being in this industry for over 5 years, it’s different to basically BE a brand all of a sudden. The best blogs are almost always the more transparent ones, though, with writers who share their flaws as well as their strengths.

  • Jessica says:

    I think that a lot of bloggers only, or at least mostly, share the “good” parts of their life. I like to celebrate my flaws and imperfections and show my readers that I’m a real person on my blog, but I’m definitely in the minority on that.

    • Erica House says:

      Honestly, I get the most traffic and comments on days when I share the most vulnerable/ugly parts of my life. I’m also a natural oversharer so it works out well for me.

  • If I feel like a blogger is being inauthentic, I most likely won’t be reading their blog any longer! I feel like you can tell who is being “real” and who is just doing the whole smoke and mirrors thing. I blog and I like to share the good with the bad. I hope when people read my blog they feel like they are reading something real… because they are!

    • Erica House says:

      I wonder if bloggers sometimes don’t realize how unauthentic they are being, and how clear it is to their readers?

  • fitmamalove says:

    I think the thing I loved most about this post is the comments! Not that it wasn’t a great post because it was, but people are offering some really good insights. As a fairly new blogger (just over 6 months), I’m still trying to figure it all out as I connect with other bloggers out there. I’m still seeking balance on my posts as far as everyday life vs. more hearty posts. I definitely want to post more of the helpful content than just the mundane everyday stuff, but those are the posts that take the most time and that’s something I don’t have much of.

    I strive to be authentic, which is why I frequently add little blips next to smiling photos of my kids about how less-than-perfect that moment actually was (the smiles before the tantrum). I also like to throw in WIAW on occasion (I read you say you didn’t like those) because for me, it’s authentic. I don’t choose to eat particularly healthy on the day I do those posts–I eat like me! My husband even commented that my first one was not an overly healthy day (it definitely wasn’t all that bad, but far from perfect) and I told him I wanted to post it anyway because it was real.

    Enjoying your blog! Glad I found it with this post. :)

    • Erica House says:

      The comments are often my favorite part of my posts as well!

      I’m not a fan of WIAW only because of the comparison trap it can lead people into. Readers look at how healthy a blogger eats and feel badly their diet isn’t as ‘clean’, or the feel like they are eating to much compared to them. I think it can be fun to see what other people eat (and a good source of ideas!)

  • I really liked your post, too. Oddly enough, I am a physician and thus feel like I have additional knowledge to share. But you know what? I don’t offer any medical advice. It infuriates me when the people who propagate medical knowledge offer erroneous information at that. People profess how wonderful the raw vegan diet is because they lose their periods. Um, no. That’s not healthy. You really have to know your own limitations but I rarely seen this done. Glad to hear we both can spot the fakers. ;)

    • Erica House says:

      I know just enough about health and fitness to know I don’t know that much about health and fitness! What I do know for sure is every single person is different, and what works in terms of diet/exercise for one person will likely be vastly different for someone else.

  • While I agree entirely that most bloggers don’t portray their entire “real lives” on their blogs, I’m not sure I’d see it as being deceptive. Like every single aspect of our lives, the audience in that particular segment only sees a part of us. It may be an authentic part, but it’s just incomplete. I am “myself” at work, in the grocery store, at a movie, at a conference, on my blog–it’s just that not ALL of myself is apparent in each situation. (Oh, and I think that photo of Charlize Theron on the right is actually a still from her movie, Monster–for which she gained weight and was made to look “ugly”–or as ugly as Charlize Theron can look, anyway!).

    • Erica House says:

      Yes, I don’t think most bloggers are consciously being deceptive. Perhaps the readers should take equal responsibility in realizing it’s impossible to portray 100% of your life online accurately. I’m just glad I was able to bring some awareness to the issue to both bloggers & readers to hopefully dispel some negative comparison traps I’ve seen cropping up lately.

  • Krista says:

    The fact that you “keep it real” makes you one of the best (and one of my favorite) bloggers! Some days I consider re-starting a blog to share stories of my life, but it requires a level of vulnerability that I’m not at…so I acknowledge and appreciate your honesty with blogging (I know it’s not always easy). :)

    • Erica House says:

      Thank you! It’s always nice to hear the way I try to portray myself (realistically) is being translated effectively over my blog.

  • This is such a great topic! I found it from The Lean Green Bean. I am always honest with what I write and post about on my blog but I may not provide an update on everything that I do all the time which can definitely lead to people making assumptions. I totally know where you are coming from though with not the whole picture being shown and people only posting what they want to. I’ve posted things before where I’ve not felt 100% comfortable with what I’m about to publish because it means being more ‘real’ about a mistake or setback but I figure that is real life and usually that is when you get more people respond to you saying ‘yes me too’ not to posts saying what an ‘amazing life’ you have.

    It reminds me of how a lot of people on Facebook will spend half their time uploading photos and checking in to places they are having a great time at. I always think if you are having so much fun how come you are on your phone on Facebook?

    Lol in summary I loved this post and thought it was an interesting topic.

  • Megan @ Fiterature says:

    I love this topic. I recently posted about some photos I “photoshopped” of myself – and then felt so inauthentic, I came clean about it. It’s hard, because like you said, we are analyzed. But I think as long as we are talking about it, we are one step ahead of the shame game.

    • Erica House says:

      I totally get wanting to put your best face forward (literally and metaphorically!) My only concern stemmed from …. unauthentic portrayals of exercise/fitness from some bloggers to their readers.

  • I think it is unfair to call bloggers liars. Yes we all chose to put our lives out there, but is it lying if I say my husband and I did xyz over the weekend when I did those things alone because he was on a business trip? No. If someone put out the fact that she was home alone, people would be up in arms about the fact that she was being unsafe. Showing the rosiest picture is not something that just happens on blogs, it happens on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.. do we call out our friends because they are having a rough day so they post something that doesn’t show that?

    There is something to be said about reader responsibility, yes some bloggers have degrees that seems to make them think it is okay for them to talk about nutrition, etc… and maybe they aren’t what you would call a healthy weight, but there may be outside issues that they aren’t talking about on the blog (besides an ED or being overweight). HLB’s aren’t the only place on the internet where those with ED’s go to feel better. There are hundreds of thinspiration tumblrs and instagrams, but those aren’t being called out?

    I also, as well as many others, write disclaimers when nutrition or exercise routines are posted so that someone who came across our blog for the first time would know that we aren’t professionals.

    About the Marie Claire article, this article was written in October of 2010, think about how you have changed since you wrote about your first 5k, and your blog has also changed. I don’t necessarily like or read these blogs, but he fact that you clearly address that you’ve changed, don’t you think the same could have been said about them?

    I agree that some bloggers have posted some really bad information {ex: a few months ago a blogger wrote about how nutrition can heal depression, I and many others strongly disagreed and the blogger eventually took down the post} but a lot of bloggers are just writing from their experiences and all these posts about how bloggers are or can be bad that have been popping up are extremely disappointing. Don’t read if you don’t want to, but also don’t start blogger wars. GOMI is bad enough outing people’s divorces and lawsuits (by searching their towns online public documents) do we need to start a war about who is the best and most honest blogger?

    • Caitlin says:

      Yes, to this entire comment.

    • Erica House says:

      I certainly didn’t say all bloggers were liars. I do know, as I’ve seen first hand, that some lie/distort the truth – usually within the realm of their diet/exercise.

      “About the Marie Claire article, this article was written in October of 2010, think about how you have changed since you wrote about your first 5k, and your blog has also changed.” I’m unsure what you are referring to here. Me going from a 5k to a marathon? If so, I was absolutely realistic about all the injuries and negative health effects (and weight gain!) I went through with that process over the last year.

      • You’ve seen first hand because you know them personally? Everyone has assumptions about bloggers and I am no exception I have them too. I am asking, not to be snarky but because I am actually curious.

        This is what you wrote in your post “Less than two years ago I was only able to run for a minute at a time before resting and now I’m working on marathon number 2. We all start somewhere. Look how excited I was two months after that blog entry when I finally finished a 5k in 37 minutes!”

        In regards to the Marie Claire article, you are using it as a pinpoint to how bloggers lie, but it was written in 2010, what I am saying is that everyone grows and changes and it is natural that their blogs will as well. Don’t you think that it is possible for the bloggers featured in that article to have changed the way the portray food and fitness in their life/blog? I am not saying they all have, but isn’t it possible? Personally, I have only read one of those blogs from 2010 until today, so I can say that I do think that specific one has changed and is honest about the food they eat and fitness (and endurance sport weight gain).

        Not everyone has to agree on this point, but after reading all the other comments, I again, find it disheartening that commenters that don’t agree with you are called trolls or are talked down to because they disagree with this one post.

        • Erica House says:

          I certainly didn’t call any of my commenters trolls! I welcome healthy disagreements! I also don’t feel the need to censor anyone’s comments toward myself or other’s as long as they aren’t blatantly hateful.

          Yes, I have literally seen the deception about diet and exercise firsthand. Also, bloggers portraying their lives as great but privately telling me the opposite.

          Since I do not follow the bloggers in the Marie Claire article I certainly can’t say if they may have changed or not. I thought the article was thought-provoking and seemed to be an interesting ‘outsiders’ perspective that was said to be well researched and accurately written, so I believe that to be the case since I have zero proof otherwise.

          • I didn’t say that you did, I just said I find disheartening and I don’t think calling names is healthy disagreement. I also didn’t suggest that you should censor them, I was just making a statement about reader responsibility.

            Maybe these bloggers felt comfortable confiding in you, I don’t know the situation, but from my personal experiences, friends have told me about rough stuff in their lives but have kept it from their blogs because they weren’t ready to put it in the public eye.

            My issue with the Marie Claire article is something that we disagree with, but we all saw the mess that was the Self article about Tutu’s that was supposedly well researched and accurately written, but was a mess. I don’t think any article for a magazine publication is always showing both sides, especially if it is not in the interest of the magazine or writer.

  • tThis was definitely a very interesting post and one that I am hopeful to explore. I just started my blog and am definitely trying to pay attention to not only what I say/pictures etc, but also being aware of whether how I’m portraying myself is actually authentic or not. It’s an interesting line to walk, especially since I’m not afraid to admit that I want people to like me (and my blog!)

  • kelly says:

    I have so many thoughts about this that I will try to organize them in a coherent manner. First, I will say that I agree with those who have said that across social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – there is a tendency to curate what you share so it is certainly not something exclusive to blogging. Heck, I feel like this is likely something people have always done even in their face to face conversations but because so much more is shared now due to the ease and real time nature of social media it is easy to assume that because of the volume of what is shared you are getting the whole story.

    I don’t blame bloggers for not wanting to tell the whole story. It’s been a long time since I’ve actively blogged and while I’ve wanted to keep it real there were things I held back not because I wanted to mislead readers, but because I was also thinking of my professional life not to mention the other people involved in certain situations who might not have wanted to have their business shared with the world on my blog. Though I’m certainly not naive enough to believe everyone has good intentions behind their curation. I think there are definite shades of gray here. Just because there are valid reasons for why it might make sense to hold back in some instances, does not excuse all forms of deception or editing.

    I still think it is definitely worthwhile for any blogger to consider whether their curation might have a negative effect on readers. Yes, I do think personal responsibility on the part of the reader has to come into play here. But I think too many times bloggers are closed off to criticism or different points of view. I also think that if someone is going to establish themselves as a professional blogger and use a blog as a substantial or primary source of income they have an even greater responsibility to think about the kind of content they are putting out and the message it sends. There have been many blogs I stopped reading because they always insisted they be respected as professional bloggers until the instance someone pointed out an issue or inconsistency and then they were quick to dump any traces of professionalism.

    I think in general the blog world and social media is changing. I do think these things were once much more real, but now that there is more money to be made in blogging, more bloggers are considering themselves “brands”, etc. I think they should be taken with a grain of salt the way we would reality TV or a magazine.

    • Erica House says:

      Kelly – thank you for taking the time to give such a well thought out and articulate response! I am loving getting to hear what readers think about this topic.

      I agree this problem is not at all isolated to bloggers, but people in general. As you said it becomes more of an issue when bloggers start to make $$ off their portrayal online or come across as some sort of an expert.

      You are also SO spot on with bloggers turning themselves into brands. I’m sure that concept wasn’t around a few years ago and now it seems to be everywhere. I’m not sure it’s a good trend.

  • Tara says:

    Hi Erica,

    I just stumbled on this post and it’s the first I’ve read on your blog. Thank you for writing on such an important topic!

    I’ve been reading HLBs for a couple years now, and I’ve definitely felt some jealousy/comparison sneak in while reading certain blogs. It becomes sort of annoying, because obviously I know that no one is perfect but when you’re only seeing the “perfect” side of things, it can be really deceiving. I’ve learned to ditch the blogs that don’t feel genuine to me, and only read the ones by people I think I would want to be friends with in real life (or who I think could cook/bake me delicious food) haha.

    At the same time, though, I know how difficult it is to put yourself out there when you’re writing to the whole world. I’ve written on a couple more difficult topics, but I mostly keep my material on the lighter side. As a travel blogger, I tend to focus on trips that I take or activities I do, rather than the difficulties of moving to another country (of which there are plenty!). Maybe those posts would be even more interesting.

    Anyway, thank you for your insight. Your blog has been bookmarked for future visits!

    • Erica House says:

      Tara – thank you for your comment! I hope you will continue to enjoy the things I share on here :) I’ve also found the best way to detach from the negative side of HLBs is to just quit reading them. I took out most from my feedly a few months ago and filled it up with more hobby/art/family centered blogs. One’s where their daily posts don’t just revolve around food and exercise!

  • Brittany says:

    I know I’m late commenting here but I just wanted to chime in and say that it’s such a great post. I think it’s super important not to get caught up comparing yourself to others — in real life and online. It can be hard but at the end of the day you can only be the best version of yourself, no one else.

    I try to be very straight forward on my blog (and in life) but I know I’ve certainly put on a “happy face” even when things aren’t so great.

    Thanks for bringing up a great topic.

    xoxo

  • Kelly says:

    Have you seen the trailer for the movie American Blogger? I watched it and it made me immediately think of your post. Maybe the actual movie is more honest and real than what the trailer portrays but it looks very much like that uber perfect, whitewashed, excessively curated version of blogging that makes me frankly a little sad. Maybe I’m more attuned to it because of the discussion here and similar ones I’ve had with friends, but this movie just gives me a little bit of the sads.

    • Erica House says:

      I haven’t watched the Trailer yet but I’ve already read a few articles on the movie! I guess some people aren’t sure if it’s supposed to be serious, or almost a mock of bloggers? I think the impression most people have of it is that it’s supposed to be an ‘expose’ on bloggers but it’s just your stereotypical rich white woman blogger.

  • Kara says:

    I love this post! I agree with you that most bloggers are liars, or selective truth tellers. Some of it is for brevity’s sake and other times it’s for the calculated purpose of projecting a false image. I know I don’t tell everything, but I like to think of it as “suppressing my whining” than lying :)

  • Matt says:

    I realize my comment is late to the party however this article is the reason I consistently read your blog posts. Your honesty in dealing with fitness and diet are what most others lack. Truthfully even I lack your level of fitness honesty most weeks.

    • Erica House says:

      Late party crashers are always the best. I’m glad you could connect with what I was trying to say, and that I’m coming off in a way that I hope to be (honest and realistic!)

  • I found out from my blogsite (which is on a commercial dieting-oriented social network, actually), that many bloggers disclose so little (or so little which is authentic) because of mental conditions such as really bad PTSD–or the more garden-variety maladies such as insecurity; or even auspicious circumstances such as fame (even the 15 minutes’ variety) or being a celebrity wife (tee hee!) …

    Have to live with that if I want to read. Even “real”, reported-on celebrities do have their spin doctors …

  • jljohnson says:

    Much like you, when I blog on IRG, I try to be as transparent as possible. I don’t hide anything because I don’t feel the need to edit who I am. I’m very much a what you see is what you get kind of girl. And as a journalist, I try to do research to back up anything I do write about when it comes to diet, exercise, or mental illness. Or anything else for that matter.

    But I have come across social media pages/blogs/whatever that show that are not an authentic representation of how people really are. It may take me a little while before I catch on, but when I do, I simply walk away. I want to know that there are people like me out there: people who are desperately trying to be the best they can be with what they have, and what they are dealing with in real life. Someone who posts about how she works out 4x a day (but it’s okay because it’s not a really hard workout!) and is pushing their misconceptions on people isn’t helpful.

    Transparency and authenticity need to be the primary goal. I want to follow a blogger who is bravely showing her true self, not what people expect her to be.

    • Erica House says:

      It’s sad how many bloggers immediately came to mind when I read your description of unauthentic ones! I try to be open with the bad parts of my life so I don’t try to come across as ‘perfect’ and that’s usually when I get the most amazing responses!

  • I love this! Such a great topic to write on. I share parts of my life on my blog but I am careful about sharing certain parts. I try not to post a ton about my baby etc. I write about myself but i also write post strictly about fashion, food that is not about me also. The things that I do write about me are a pretty real representation of my life though.

    • Erica House says:

      I’m not sure how I’d handle sharing my kids on the blog if I had any. I’d love to show them off, and they’d be such a huge part of my life I’m sure I’d want to talk about them, but it would also just feel so invasive!

  • Kim says:

    This is a great post. It helps to remember that while bloggers can be inspiring, no one is perfect and no one’s journey is without hurdles. As someone who is struggling to start on a healthy lifestyle, I like your first point that my beginning is not the same as your end. It takes hard work, but it’s helpful knowing that you may have been where I am now.

  • Annabel says:

    This is very insightful, Erica! I truly believe that blogging and reading blogs can have side-effects we didn’t anticipate. When I first started blogging, I had just lost 150lbs and I wanted to share my story. I then began reading other weight-loss blogs and found myself going from very proud of myself to feeling insignificant. I became obsessed with losing more weight and even started a weight-loss contest with another blogger to lose “our final 10 pounds.” That little foray into those “last pounds” ended up launching me into bulimia. Now recovered and on the other side of the weight-loss spectrum (fat acceptance/Health At Every Size), I no longer subscribe to blogs that focus on weight-loss. So, on one hand, I found reading weight-loss-focused blogs toxic to my health. On the other hand, finding Fat Acceptance, Health At Every Size and feminist blogs really helped me recover. So, my advice for people is to really ask what type of “media” (blogs included) best serve them? If you feel poorly after reading a blogger’s day-to-day calorie & exercise tracking, don’t read the blog anymore! If you read a magazine & find that it makes you feel ugly or like a fixer-upper, throw it out and end your subscription. There is a bounty of blogs & media accessible to all of us and we should carefully choose the ones we let into our precious hearts.

    • tiniertina says:

      Yeah, great advice. I am slowly deciding to transition off of blogging at SparkPeople.com for this very reason.

      I thought about LiveJournal. I thought how non-weight-loss, non-exercise posts (about 90% of my life) get no comments … over there. I am nutrition-oriented, but I come from a slightly eating-disordered/diabetes place rather than a trendy, raw foodie, vegan, foodie place …

      Not that there’s anything intrinsically wrong with those weight loss, food faddists and Altius-Citius-Fortius fitness aspirations.

      But those are not my motivations now.

      • Erica House says:

        I’ve learned to straddle the line between writing what I feel motivated to write, and writing what I know others will respond to the most. I think I’ve done a decent job of meeting in the middle thus far.

    • Erica House says:

      My quality of life has improved significantly since cutting out certain bloggers, magazines, and cable TV from my life!

  • Crystal says:

    Love this post! I was thinking earlier that I should post a picture of the entire KD box that I shoveled into me after my run! lol I am skeptical by nature as I am a reporter so I take what I read on blogs with a grain of salt. I always, always look at credentials or whatever before I buy into what “someone is selling.”

    • Erica House says:

      Lol – it always makes me laugh when I hear people saying that I don’t eat enough based on what they see me post. Of course I don’t post EVERYTHING I eat, but at 5’2″ and 120 lbs I can assure you the 2000ish calories I get a day are more than sufficient! They might not always be the healthiest (as I’ve eaten 1/2 box of cinnamon chex today) but whatever – life is short!