I’m fully aware that the title of this post sounds like a Dave Matthews song and I apologize. When you focus on your own health while writing a healthy living blog, it’s no surprise that this is a topic you might often think about. The more I blog, however, the more I notice this vast gray area between being unhealthy and overly health conscientious.
Yesterday when I was driving to work, I turned on the radio after finishing up Lindsay’s interview on the Blissful Bites podcast (seriously so good you should listen to all of them). While the FM was no where near as entertaining, I was really intrigued then disturbed by the topic being discussed on a popular station.
I usually hate morning talk radio, which is filled with celebrity gossip that I don’t care a thing about, but yesterday they shared something that I feel is SO prevalent in our world of healthy lifestyle blogging.
Apparently somewhere in Europe, there were posters hung up in a high school encouraging the junior and senior girls to join a program and “get fit for prom.” As a blogger trying to inspire women to become healthy, you would think I’d be less critical of such a program, but there’s a fine line of encouraging health and subliminally pressuring young women to look a certain way. Especially in such an important, yet fragile time in their lives.
This is me at my junior year prom. Date cropped out because awkward. At this point in life I don’t remember worrying about my weight what’s so ever. I’m sure I had a higher metabolism than I do now, but regardless, I never thought twice about eating a chocolate chip cookie every single day for lunch and my only worry of prom was if people would notice I was wearing my sister’s dress from the year before.
Maybe if this poster promoted “healthy choices during the school day,” but in no way should it be associated with prom. Prom should be about creating personal memories with your friends before entering the next chapter of life, not looking your best in order to be comparing yourself to others. What about the girls who don’t attend this program, are they not going to be “physically ready” for their big night? It’s just not a good mind set for their leaders to stress going into even more uncertain phase.
Often times high school is the place where eating disorders are born and if even your school administration is sending you a message that tells you to look a certain way, these girls are done for. I’m not usually the one to sound like a feminist, but it also really bothers me that is was a program specifically for the female students. It’s just another example of society setting unfair expectations for young women’s bodies.
Since when did health be a battle between fighting obesity and eating disorders? I feel like this message took the extreme of “being healthy isn’t enough, you also have to be fit,” but maybe it rooted from the perspective that obesity in young people really is an issue. There’s also content out there that I feel as though bashes anyone promoting any type of weight loss coming from the opposite view of defending people against eating disorders.
It’s no wonder that so many people’s bodies are one way or the other. Because we are focusing on the extremes. Obesity really is a problem. Where I live, Memphis is the most obese cities with populations over 1 million people and I believe it. My job requires me to travel all around the city and I’m blown away by the amount of people I see who are morbidly over weight. I wasn’t as aware of the opposite epidemic until I started blogging and saw an overwhelming amount of girls who have experienced eating disorders. These two categories are so popular, but it’s not everyone. We put so much emphasis on “good food” and “bad food” there’s just so many extremes in the field of health and fitness. And I’m as guilty of it as the rest of them.
There’s a balance in promoting balance. We live in a culture that feels the need to take one extreme stance or the other, but in realm of healthy there’s a HUGE middle ground.
It’s still a fine line, but I just want to urge myself and others to be careful and mindful when we talk about health or even consume content about it. In this society we live in where extremes are taken from one end to another, it’s important to encourage self love and acceptance through it all. Small changes make a huge different and big changes too quickly can be scary, uncertain, and difficult to sustain. Often times the journey is much more important than the destination and you also have to think about what’s really going to be there when you get where you want to go. Will it be fulfilling?
Linking up with Amanda. I’m sorry I can’t find the article, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!