Chugging Along

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Afternoon, lovelies!  Work is going well, and I can ALMOST see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Yay, humpday!

 

Around 9:30, I had a snack.  I ate a Z-Bar and a small plum.  My stomach still felt a little off, but it’s much improved now.

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Lunch was definitely one of those meals when you’re trying to use up food before it goes off!  I’ve had 1/4 a log of polenta sitting in the fridge for wayyyy too long that I knew I had to use up.

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The polenta log became a polenta mash after I roasted tiny slices in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 and then mixed it up with a fork.  I topped the polenta with 1/4 cup of pinto beans, pepper, and some shredded cheddar cheese.

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Polenta reminds me of cornbread for some reason. šŸ™‚

 

And on the side (for bulk) — a spinach and veggie salad.

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And for dessert – a Jocalat bar, which Robo-Maggie seemed really interested in.

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Food for Thought

 

Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more about the relationship between food blogs and eating disorders.  Let me first start off by stating I do not have an eating disorder, nor have I ever had an eating disorder, although I do think I had an unhealthy relationship with food and my body when I was younger.  But it wasn’t an eating disorder, trust me. 

 

Sometimes I get e-mails from readers who are in recovery from an ED and say my blog and blogs like mine help them maintain a healthy perspective on food and fitness.  This makes me happy, because living a balanced life is what I’m all about.  On the other hand, sometimes I read other people’s blogs and they write about how keeping a food blog/reading food blog makes them feel more obsessive or ashamed.  This makes me sad, and it scares me to think that my blog is somehow contributing to another’s downfall.

 

When I try to explain my blog to people outside of the blogging community, I get a lot of weird looks.  I try to explain See Bride Run as a more fitness/food/healthy lifestyle blog, because I don’t just think its a "here’s what I ate today" kind of blog.  Many people (my mother included… hi mom!) think my food blog is kind of obsessive — they ask questions like, "You take a photograph of EVERYTHING thing you eat? Uhh… Why?"

 

I keep a fitness/food/healthy lifestyle blog for several reasons.  One, I love to write.  I’ve been doing it professionally for 8 years and writing a blog lets me be creative without the confines of my boss or an editor telling me what to do.  Two, I feel like life is a journey and I love to share my story (and read other people’s stories).  Three, I think the food blogging community is very supportive, and it’s a great way to meet electronic/real friends.  Lastly, I get paid (thanks, Foodbuzz!), so it’s an extra source of income.

 

I started to READ blogs because it helped me stay on track with my healthy eating and exercise.  I began reading right as I was entering maintenance and it really focused me.  There are so many distractions in this world, and blogs were a daily reminder that I could stick with it.

 

What do you think about the relationship between eating disorders and food blogging? (I think it could go either way — it can be helpful or detrimental).  Why do you read food blogs? Why do you write a blog?  How do you explain your hobby to others, if you’re a blogger?  Just curious to know your thoughts!

{ 75 comments }

 

  • VeggieGirl November 12, 2008, 10:25 am

    Polenta IS cornmeal, so it’s very similar to cornbread, haha šŸ˜€

    Love “Robo-Maggie” šŸ˜‰

    The whole food blog/eating disorder issue is relative to the blogger – if the blogger has an eating disorder, then it’s related. If the blogger is a FOODIE (I’m a foodie!!), and loves food photography (which IS a profession) and/or cooking and baking, then that’s probably why they blog. That’s why I blog and read food blogs!! šŸ™‚

  • VeggieGirl November 12, 2008, 10:26 am

    Polenta IS cornmeal, so it’s very similar to cornbread, haha šŸ˜€

    Love “Robo-Maggie” šŸ˜‰

    The whole food blog/eating disorder issue is relative to the blogger – if the blogger has an eating disorder, then it’s related. If the blogger is a FOODIE (I’m a foodie!!), and loves food photography (which IS a profession) and/or cooking and baking, then that’s probably why they blog. That’s why I blog and read food blogs!! šŸ™‚

  • girlrunningaround November 12, 2008, 10:35 am

    I’m not trying to be offensive, but when I first ran into your blog I thought you had an ED. Once I started reading that thought was quickly dispelled, but I thought it was kind of weird that someone would take pictures and analyze EVERYTHING they eat. After reading your story and following your posts for a few weeks, I am inspired by you. It takes a much stronger person to be in control of their food intake than not to. I lost 30lbs about 3 years ago by keeping a food diary and basically being obsessive about every calorie I put in my body. I also started running againg. I lost it the healthy way. It’s so nice to read about others who went through a similar journey, because when I was doing it I felt like the only fat girl out there, and like people didn’t understand why I couldn’t eat this or that whenever I wanted. I love reading your blog and getting inspiration to be healthier myself, and I’m happy to hear that you are helping others (those with ED and those without).

  • amy. November 12, 2008, 10:37 am

    Thanks so much for your meaningful post today. As someone in recovery from an eating disorder, of course my blogging is related to my e.d. Sometimes, I definitely wonder whether it becomes too obsessive, but I always remind myself that I'm going to be interested/particular/thinking about food ANYWAY, so i might as well be able to express myself about what i'm eating. Its also helped me try to cook myself things that I'd otherwise be clueless as to prepare with the help of my mom. It makes me feel proud of myself that I am cooking food for myself instead of eating cereal & milk for dinner like most college kids. Also, I am a very creative person + I love making my food look pretty, but obviously I have other interests. As long as blogging is fun and not stressful, or taking away from my personal life, etc, I find it has been a healthy outlet of expression.
    Sorry for writing a lecture! Gosh !
    Have a fab day Caitlin.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 10:38 am

    veggie girl – i agree!

    girlrunningaround – no offense taken! i’m glad you stuck along long enough to realize i just enjoy living a healthy lifestyle…. and SERIOUS kudos for losing 30 lbs!! thats amazing and very impressive.

  • Kristen November 12, 2008, 10:39 am

    I recently stumbled on your blog and find it interesting. I too thought it interesting you took a picture of everything you eat but hey it’s your blog. I like your blog. I have tried to keep a food journal. I can do it during the week while at work but on weekends I don’t do it. I also tried to keep a running journal and now just rely on my nike chip to keep up with what I run.
    I love to eat, cook, and run. Blogging is fun to see what other people do and find people you wouldn’t ordinarily meet who like the same things.

  • Madison November 12, 2008, 10:40 am

    heh funny i’ve been thinking about this very topic recently as well! i sometimes wonder, “am i being too obsessed with this whole thing?” but i actually don’t think i am.

    first like you, i love to write. i love to create as well – i’ve always been into visuals, decorating, and art. sometimes i feel like a weirdo trying to take “pretty” food photos, but i really like the end result when publishing a post – its a hobby! my dream is to become a Food Stylist one day.

    i also told kath that when i first saw her blog i was amazed that she was able to take photos of everything. now, i really don’t see it is that big of a deal at all.

    i’m not going to pretend that i have a totally healthy relationship with food, but i feel like blogging and the whole blogging community really helps me keep on track.

    thanks for sharing and the great question!

  • Oh She Glows November 12, 2008, 10:42 am

    For me, I blog to share my passion with the world, and with others who enjoy the same passions as I do.

    I created Oh She Glows because I have passions and immense interests in food, health, exercise, fitness, beauty, baking, and fashion! I knew there were otthers out there who could relate to this. I have also overcome alot in my past and want to show people that it is possible to overcome strife and obstacles and come out on top!

    I love your blog and will continue to read daily. šŸ˜€

  • jenngirl November 12, 2008, 10:58 am

    Great post today. I guess my perspective on the whole issue is that yes, I totally see how food blogs can cause obsession with food/fitness/health-related things. I think that it is more about the person reading the blogs, rather than the ones who are writing them. I started reading food blogs towards the end of my recovery, and honestly, I was probably a little obsessed at first. But, now that I’ve started my own, I look at food blogs as a way to connect with people who are SIMILAR to me, and have a similar interest in HEALTHY LIVING. Sadly, I am not personally surrounded by a bunch of oatmeal-eating, peanut butter lovers (I wish). So I come to this community to find that sense of familiarity in this one aspect of my life. Also, it helps me to be a little bit more accountable for treating myself right. I can’t undereat/overexercise AND lie about it on my blog, I just wouldn’t feel right about it. So blogging helps me embrace my healthy lifestyle and share it with others. I agree about the meeting online friends, definitely something I never imagined I would do, but I love it! Also, I think food blogging is a fun and great way to share/find new recipes and meal ideas!

    Have a great day Caitlin!

  • Rebecca November 12, 2008, 11:02 am

    Hi Caitlin – I guess I am “de-lurking.” I just discovered the world of food blogging a few weeks ago and found this corner of healthy lifestyle blogs. I am an avid runner and in the past, had some eating issues. As someone who had border line eating disorders, I think that viewing healthy lifestyle blogs can be a helpful tool in learning more about nutrition. When I had problems, I would restrict my food so severely, like eating cereal every meal for weeks. I think your blog, and blogs like it, can show women what healthy food really is, and show that food is not an enemy, but something to be enjoyed.
    I hope this makes sense – not much time to type!

  • Jenny November 12, 2008, 11:06 am

    Very interesting question, Caitlin! I don’t have a food blog, but I do read them often and I agree that there is a fine line between having fun with it and obsession. The thing is, our society as a whole is not normal/ healthy about food (or else why would we have such an obesity problem at the same time as we have a billion dollar weight-loss industry?) So maybe in another world the food blogging community wouldn’t be necessary but as it is, it is a GREAT support for people striving to be healthy and balanced amidst the craziness and all the mixed messages out there. It can be a great resource if you are recovering from an ED, trying to get healthy for the first time, or just trying to maintain your sanity. I agree with Jengirl it would be great if we were all surrounded by healthy-minded, balanced oatmeal eaters all the time but since we aren’t at least we can be virtually. šŸ™‚

  • whatiateyesterday November 12, 2008, 11:07 am

    I was going to say the same thing as veggiegirl re the polenta šŸ™‚

    I write my food blog for many reasons. First and foremost, it is to be accountable for my actions with food. I feel like it really makes me think before making choices rather than just shoving the food in. I have read so many times that keeping a food journal is the best way to stay aware of your choices and this is a very modern way of doing that. I have only had one full blown binge since starting the blog and my “I don’t care days” are also farther and fewer between.

    Some people think that photographing everything you eat is obsessive but I find it fun. I also don’t really obsess about the photo taking, sometimes, it isn’t an option so I just eat and move on. I also try to take a more artistic approach to the photos rather than just documentation of what I eat.

  • Jen November 12, 2008, 11:08 am

    I see blogs that detail every meal as a visual food journal ā€” not necessarily as an indication of an ED. Some write it down, others take pictures. I’ve never gotten the ED vibe from this blog.

    I read blogs for inspiration and to get new ideas and perspectives.

    I blog because I’m a writer, have an interest in photography, and as a long-time member of WeightWatchers, I was so tired of other members thinking they had to eat fat free cheese, light bread and 100-calorie packs. I wanted to show you could real food that actually tastes good and still lose weight.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 11:08 am

    jenngirl and jenny – three cheers for virtual friends! šŸ™‚

    rebecca – thanks for delurking! and i agree, there is a select group of daily food blogs that (in mind opinion) are more about healthy living than dieting. i’ve seen some that very restrictive and it freaks me out a little bit! but its fun to see how other people enjoy healthy living!

  • Balance, Joy and Delicias! November 12, 2008, 11:13 am

    You raised a great topic! I think everyone of us have a reason doing it. I share with you that writing is so fun and healing..(in my case, I can practice english writing), that sharing with the blog community our life and our thoughts is so great! because this little community is so warm and supportive and somehow we read each others blog because we have something in common (our healthy lifestyle that people out of this community find hard to understand).
    I enjoy reading your blogs because you inspire me in term of good eats/good workout and most importantly, positive attitude toward life.

    oh…polenta is so yummy~~~~~

  • Anonymous November 12, 2008, 11:14 am

    I do not have a blog of my own, but I love reading other’s blogs. Weather it is someone who is living a healthy life style and maintaining it or something who working towards a more healthy lifestyle. It actually makes me feel better that I am not the only one that struggles to be healthier. I also get tons of great ideas for healthy snacks and meals!

  • Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) November 12, 2008, 11:16 am

    I think reading food blogs could be helpful because they can show that you can have a healthy relationship with food.
    I also think that they could potentially be harmful because we always compare ourselves to one another even though we have different needs. I think if they start making you feel bad about yourself, then it’s probably not a good idea to read them.

    As for me, I love reading food blogs because:
    1.) I find new recipes I want to try.
    2.) I love discovering new foods to try.
    3.) It’s fun seeing other people love food as much as I do!

    I think having your own food blog could be helpful because it makes you more aware of what you eat since you are recording it.
    I also think it could potentially be harmful if you become obsessed with taking pictures all the time of your food or becoming obsessed with what you eat and how much you eat and worrying what your readers will think. If it gets in the way of other things in your life or starts stressing you out, then I think it is time to stop blogging.

    I started a food blog to:
    1.) Make sure I get enough variety in my diet – fruits, veggies, grains, etc.
    2.) Improve my photography skills – still working on this but I love to take pictures of my meals from different angles and try to make each photo look mouthwatering.
    3.) It’s fun to make my meals look pretty – I love when I plate my food really nice and special.
    4.) I’m trying to learn how to cook and like having a place to record my thoughts on how the dish turned out.

    For me, reading food blogs and having my own food blog is a lot of fun. I love being a part of such a fun and supportive community!

    Wow, sorry this comment was so long!

  • Bridget November 12, 2008, 11:19 am

    I think that if I documented everything I ate, it would make me obsessed and would probably be dangerous for me- but that is just me and my personality. I like to blog because I like to write. It’s really my only forum for writing right now and I’m glad to have somewhere to express myself in writing!

    I also like the community of healthy bloggers and readers- I don’t have a ton of friends who share these interests, so I like that now I have some bloggy friends to share it with~

  • Jordan November 12, 2008, 11:22 am

    For me, reading the blogs is mostly about the pictures. However, I really also like using people’s blogs for new ideas for food. I have a hard time being creative coming up with healthy meals that aren’t breakfast. I’m good with breakfast =P

  • Jenny November 12, 2008, 11:31 am

    Caitlin – this is SO off topic, but I am wondering if at some point, if you feel comfortable discussing, you could tell us if you are planning to change your name when you get married? Just curious from a fellow bride-to-be!

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 11:34 am

    jenny – hahah way to be off topic. šŸ™‚ just kidding.

    YES, i am changing my name and i am SOOO excited to change my name! i love my name, don’t get me wrong, but i’ve always dreamed of taking my husband’s name and creating a family together. i am going to make my maiden name my 2nd middle name, though, just so i get to keep it. šŸ™‚ are you going to keep yours?

  • ashley (sweet and natural) November 12, 2008, 11:37 am

    Good discussion here! I agree with others that the whole ED thing is relative to the blogger/reader. I definitely think it can feed an unhealthy obsession, but for others, it can be another way to express their passions.

    I started a food blog b/c I was in desperate need of a creative outlet! I have a passion for baking and nutrition, so it was a perfect way to combine the two. I love being able to share my enthusiasm for baking with whole foods. I love coming up with recipe ideas and testing them out. I love playing food photographer. I love learning from the people who read and comment. And I love having something that is “my own.”

  • Jenny November 12, 2008, 11:40 am

    I am doing the same thing with my name. šŸ™‚ I used to worry it would make me seem old-fashioned, but I agree that for me it’s 100% about starting a new family, together, and that means so much to me.

  • Halie November 12, 2008, 11:42 am

    Very good post today.

    I’ve been a food blog reader for a long time (still contemplating whether or not I should write one of my own šŸ™‚ ). I have recovered from an eating disorder that I had as a young teen (it’s been about 5 years), I was anorexic for a time.

    But nowadays, there are some hard days, but reading blogs like yours are so encouraging. My reading food blogs IS NOT to feed my tendencies to obsess about food. Reading the blogs that I do has helped me so much to re-learn how to properly be mindful of what I eat and nourish my body correctly.

    I like what jenngirl said about how it’s a way to connect with people who are similar and who have and interest in healthy living. I don’t live near any other oatmeal-eaters either! A lot of those whom I associate with have poor relationships with food and disrespect my healthy habits. So this community of healthy eaters is such a big encouragement and a great inspiration to live and eat healthfully and thoughtfully.

    When I do find that certain blog I’m reading isn’t promoting healthy habits or had certain attitudes or moods, I’ll stop reading that blog. I’ve recently deleted a few blogs from my RSS feed because I realized that they weren’t encouraging to me.

    I don’t have a blog, but I swear, sometimes I want to take pictures of my food so I can reminisce later about how delicious it was! (like this morning when I cooked fresh cranberries in my oatmeal – SO GOOD!)

    So, coming from the side of the once eating disordered, food blogs, like yours Caitlin, Jenngirl, and Kath, VeggieGirl, etc., are wonderful. But it depends on the reader too. I think you have only promoted healthy habits!

    Thank you for writing your blog!

  • Halie November 12, 2008, 11:45 am

    P.S. – Food blogs also help me when I need inspiration for lunch or dinner! I always have a hard time deciding what to eat/make for my husband – I copy your meals, Kath’s meals, and VeggieGirl’s meals ALL the time!

  • Kath November 12, 2008, 11:46 am

    Nice post Caitlin. I second the reasons I blog – the creative outlet, the community, the media ops, then income. Food is fun to write about, and taking a photo of my food is more creative fun than anything else.

  • amanda November 12, 2008, 11:51 am

    Caitlin,
    I think that this is a really interesting topic to bring up. I have been overcoming eating issues that I accumulated in college, and can honestly say that these blogs have helped me. It is so great to really see what a healthy, active woman eats in one day .. including dessert, drinks, etc. When I was in college everyone had such a skewed perspective of what “normal” was, and the view on eating seemed to be as little as possible is best.

    Not only do I now understand that I need food to fuel my body, but everyone’s interesting food combinations have really helped me branch out and ENJOY food! (Hello, pumpkin, sweet potato, oatmeal, greek yogurt!!) And your passion for running has really motivated me to run this half-marathon (Nov 23rd ahhhh!)

    It is interesting, though, that I don’t tell other people that I look at blogs that focus on food. I feel like my family and friends may think that I was being obsessive/unhealthy as I have been in the past. Kindof like you say some people don’t understand your blogging. I guess some people secretly look at porn on the internet … I think my tastes are a little better than that šŸ™‚

    KEEP IT UP!!

  • RhodeyGirl/Sabrina November 12, 2008, 12:05 pm

    very interesting post Caitlin.

    I haven’t found the right way to explain to my friends about the pictures and such, and honestly they just don’t get it and I don’t bother trying too hard. My fiance thinks it’s really cute and a fun way for me to stay healthy and be in touch with others like me to get new ideas and such, and that is really nice.

    I love reading food blogs and I love writing my own. It helps keep me accountable, it makes me realize when I’ve been eating too much of the same thing or eating for the wrong reasons, and it has allowed me to meet new friends and new foods too.

    and get the answers to my questions! Like for example, the hrm one!! I will try tightening it- thanks for the tip

  • Meghann November 12, 2008, 12:09 pm

    Great topic!

    I stumbled on Food Blogs as I as trying to lose weight and following others that were sucessful with weight loss really helped me along. They actaully taught me not to be overly obsessive with what I ate and that it was ok to splurge and then hop back on the wagon. I think food blogs are great for that reason and that is why I started my own. Now that I have mind I feel so much love from the food blog community I feel like we’re our own little family šŸ™‚

  • Tami November 12, 2008, 12:14 pm

    at first i thought taking a photo of everything you ate was weird (i first found carrots and cake and then your blog and a few others) but now i get it.

    you all have helped me figure out some of my food issues, i have the exercise thing down (i think i was exercising too much awhile ago) but it’s the food. sadly, i do not enjoy fruits or veggies so it’s hard for me to change my diet but i know it’s something i want to do because i know when i do i will feel SO much better

    i was concerned when you were talkiogn about your wedding dress and your weight and was happy to hear that you are OK being a few pounds more…i am glad you talked about that.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 12:18 pm

    tami – im glad i conveyed the wedding dress issue in the way i wanted to. trust me, i wrote that paragraph like 12 times! i wanted people to understand that i’m happy where i am right now, but i’d also like to fit into my dress without costly alterations, so im going to try to lose a few pounds for wedding purposes only. its not a vainity issue, its a money issue! LOL

    i felt like i had to mention it on the blog because my eating habits are changing slightly (like skipping rice at a thai restaurant… normally that would never happen b/c i hardly eat out and i like to enjoy myself when i do!) and i didnt want to leave readers in the dark. i try to be honest with you guys!!

  • magpie November 12, 2008, 12:24 pm

    First I want to say I’m really enjoying reading all the comments.

    I think that people jump to conclusions a lot of the time when talking about EDs. Isn’t there some saying that “every woman has an eating disorder”? Am I more disordered because I keep track of what I eat and make sure I eat 3 good meals a day, versus the girl who doesn’t care what she eats but maybe only eats one meal a day and pretends that she “can eat anything”? We look the same, but she’s less structured in her eating rituals. But who’s healthier?

    I definitely used to have a bad relationship with food in the past, but I actually think that blogging has helped me overcome it. I lost weight (after I gained it freshman year of college) in a very unhealthy way. But then I found food blogs and realized that there are so many healthy women out there eating delicious amazing food and looking fabulous. And it made me cherish everything I put in my mouth and love my body for what it is and what it can be. So I started my own blog.

    This comment is very rambly, sorry šŸ™‚ I don’t know if this really answered your question either, but it’s what I was thinking as I read your post and the comments.

  • Sharney November 12, 2008, 12:24 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    Great question! I discovered the food blogging community completely by accident. I never even knew it existed. I have always been about taking care of myself, but I knew I wasn't eating the most healthy foods. I guess I felt like as long as I maintained my weight, it didn't matter what I put in my mouth. I was definitely more focused on fitness than nutrition, but I was being stupid because I didn't seem to realize how important it was to fuel my body properly. I had an A HA! moment about 6 months ago when I became very focused on nutrition. I not only wanted to look healthy, I wanted to EAT healthy, too. I discovered Cristin's blog Eat Like Me and from there I was introduced to many other food blogs. It was such an interesting concept to me and I found the blogs to be extremely helpful in helping me to discover new foods & ideas that were nutrition packed and delicious at the same time! Because of these blogs, I have "discovered" favorite new foods and tried things that I never would have tried before! Your blog is my favorite because I can relate so much to you and we both are runners! I am so thankful that I found these blogs- you guys all help me stay focused & healthy! Everyone is so nice & supportive, too. The food blogging community is unlike any other and I am so glad I have all these great blogs to follow day in and day out!

  • Krista November 12, 2008, 12:32 pm

    I started reading food blogs a good year ago and found them fun and interesting! I debated a long time about starting my own because I wasn’t sure if I was “exciting” enough to be of much interest. In August, I finally decided to just go for it and I am SO glad I did! I’ve “met” some wonderful people, learned a ton of things, participated in the weekly BSI challenges (which I LOVE doing) and stayed on track with my own weight “maintenance”.

    While I take pictures of almost everything I eat, I find it fun, not obsessive. My hubby truly does not understand why I do this and that is fine….he (or anyone else for that matter)don’t need to. In the end, whether people read my blog or not, I do it for me and as long as I have a blast with it, I’ll continue on!

    Thanks for such a thought provoking post, Caitlin. I find you a true inspiration and love catching up with you everyday! šŸ™‚

  • Erin November 12, 2008, 12:36 pm

    I very recently discovered food blogs and like everyone else thought they were kind of strange. But I kept reading and am completely addicted! I love reading them because they introduce me to new things (like greek yogurt and delicious oatmeal concoctions) and help me focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Its nice to see what real people eat. Actually, reading food blogs made me realize I wasn’t eating enough. I’ve never had an eating disorder or anything, I just didn’t realize how much my calorie needs would change when I added more exercise! Now I realize how much I should eat so I don’t get hungry and snack on unhealthy things.
    I think the blogging community is fabulous!

  • Chic Runner November 12, 2008, 12:39 pm

    I loved this post, really allowed me to learn more about you and why you do this.

    Honestly, I could NEVER do what you do, just because it would be way to much work for me and I would totally be ashamed to put fruitsnacks online šŸ™‚ Buttttt at the same time, I really enjoy reading your blog for the pairings and ideas I get from your own food. You make such easy things and I get a picture! šŸ™‚ It’s different for me since I am running so much and already faily happy with my weight, and I love to read about your exercising/running routine/race reports as well.. not so much focusing on your food. (though it’s good!)

  • fiona November 12, 2008, 12:44 pm

    Although I don’t have a food blog, I read several of them daily. They have actually been an invaluable source of inspiration to me in my recovery from an eating disorder. All of the bloggers that I choose to read seem to have a very healthy relationship with food and really seem to enjoy blogging. I have, however, seen some food blogs that aren’t as focused on leading a healthy lifestyle. Generally speaking, I think that these blogs are detrimental to girls with eating disorders. I also see the possibility of some girls initially focusing on healthy food decisions (showcased in food blogs) and then becoming compulsive about what they eat. (That’s actually how my eating disorder began when I was 14. I took my healthy eating habits to an extreme level because I was uneducated about proper nutrition). At any rate, eating disorders are extremely complex, and there are so many variations of them that it’s a fine line between healthy and dangerous. On a more positive note, you do a fabulous job with your blog, and you (and your fellow bloggers) have definitely helped me make positive decisions when it comes to my health.

  • tfh November 12, 2008, 12:46 pm

    My husband and I always photograph meals we’re proud of or nice meals we eat in restaurants. In fact we would probably photograph every meal except that we tend to eat the same thing day in and day out. I admire your daily creativity and variety and have definitely recreated some of your meals. All blogs have an element of being “weird” (why do any of us share elements of our thoughts/lives on the Internet), right?

  • Anonymous November 12, 2008, 12:49 pm

    I am in the process of recovering from a very severe eating disorder. I obviously have an extremely unhealthy relationship/obsession with food. I happened upon your blog one day (don’t even really remember how), but you have helped me realize that it is possible to eat delicious foods without gaining weight. Your blog has really helped the recovery process and I thank you for that! I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that.

  • newby3 November 12, 2008, 1:05 pm

    Caitlin – I have a question about running. I enrolled in a “Learn to Run” clinic last year and made my way up to running 5-km. It was always a challenge for me and I eventually stopped about 6 months later (for various reasons) and now a year later I’m wanting to start up again.

    I went for a slow, short jog/run yesterday (was about a kilometer or two) to ease myself back into it but had to stop shortly because I had severe chest pains. It felt like a squeezing/clenching in my lungs (heart?) and it was difficult to breathe. It wasn’t that cold outside and as I said I wasn’t going very fast at all. I’d really appreciate any advice on why this happened and what I can do to prevent it in the future. Thank you!

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 1:07 pm

    reading everyone’s positivity is so encouraging… THANK YOU!

    newby – ohmigod that sounds terrible!!! honestly, i would go to a doctor only because you stated the problem in such severe terms. you could have a blood pressure issue or something similar.

    however, the cold air does make it hard for me to breathe sometimes when running!

  • seeleelive (for the love of peanut butter) November 12, 2008, 1:47 pm

    Wow, Caitlin, Thanks for posting this!

    I have been reading food blogs for about a year now, and just started mine last month. I could go on and on about how I had a eating disorder and went to treatment and it was lonely, scary, sad and depressing, but I use my blog to motivate myself above all others. Every morning I look forward to viewing life and food included in a newfound healthy way!! It makes me happy to have found this through the food blogging community, and do not be sad if others percieve your blog negatively or mention that it is making their thoughts more obsessive-your doing it for you and its all in the eye of the beholder!

    Love it Caitlin!!

    Lee

  • Just Me November 12, 2008, 2:19 pm

    First and foremost, I must give you the required KUDOS for such a great blog. You really inspire me that eating can be creative and still healthy and LOOK Delicious! but polenta, im confused, does it taste like cornbread, it looks really good but i am fearful to try it.

  • Anonymous November 12, 2008, 2:29 pm

    Definately a great thought provoking question. And, by the looks of responses, eating disorders are what have brought many readers to these types of blogs.

    I enjoy them for interesting new meal ideas, and you do a great job of that and variety. That said, I think it is your responsibility as a blog “owner” knowing that you have a lot of recovering eating disordered folks, to portray healthy eating attitudes. I think talking about a few extra pounds and how one needs to cut back (Kath), etc is going to send the eating disordered gals into the same type of spiral.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 2:33 pm

    anon – hmmm a very thought-provoking response! im curious (just playing devil’s advocate), do you think bloggers like kath and i should NOT point out that we’re making changes to lose a few pounds and just silently make the change, hoping that no one will notice? b/c there’s certainly nothing wrong with trying to lose a few pounds to get back to maintenance or for a special event (i’d argue). i do worry that my comments will trigger someone, so its hard for me to draw the line between honestly and “responsibility”, as you put it. i’m curious to hear more, i hope you respond!

  • Christina November 12, 2008, 2:58 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I really do love your blog, so I don't mean to be negative in anyway, but just my personal opinion- I do feel like it is somewhat disappointing to read blogs when the author talks about cutting back a bit, etc. I totally understand your motivation to lose a few pounds because $100 is a LOT! but I know that just personally, I feel a little sad to know that my inspiring blog writers (yes, you are all really inspiring!) feel the need to cut back from an already super-balanced & healthy life. I read your blog, among a few others, for the positive outlook towards eating and love the mentality of fueling yourself for exercise rather than being restrictive to stay slim. I also really appreciate how you are honest with your readers, because let's face it- all women will need to shed a few pounds every now and then, whether it is for a special event, or whether they've gotten off track a little bit with their eating. So all in all.. I guess I really appreciate your honesty, but if I'm going to be honest too, I do feel a little disappointed as a reader to hear about cutting food intake. But just know that you have my support in whatever decision you make!

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 3:03 pm

    christina – thanks soooo much for responding… your comment was really enlightening. its truly hard for me to balanced being a good role model with the fact that i’m an actual real-life person with all the normal ups and downs! i really, really appreciate hearing your thoughts!

  • strongandhealthy November 12, 2008, 3:34 pm

    I am trying to overcome an eating disorder. Blogs like yours really help me stay on track and remember what’s best for my body. Thank you!

  • Nicole (anotheronebitesthecrust.wordpress.com) November 12, 2008, 3:37 pm

    I blog because I am a total foodie, and I’m heading into a culinary profession.

    I love to read fitness/food blogs because health is important to me, and I like to read about that too! I love the community blogging about food has brought together, it’s so supportive.

  • Anonymous November 12, 2008, 3:55 pm

    Caitlin,
    I couldn’t have said it better than Christina did, right after my post. I too, appreciate your honesty, but get discouraged when I hear you need to “cut back.” I think for some readers you already lead such an idealistic lifestyle, that it is hard to see that it has to go a step further.
    (Again, I love your blog, appreciate your responsibility and honesty, and think you show very healthy attitudes most of the time. But I also don’t have an eating disorder- and grasp everything you say/do as a model for what I should do.) Just a thought in response to your good question.

  • HangryPants November 12, 2008, 4:08 pm

    I often think about this myself and it’s one reason why I started a blog. I am not an expert in anything, but I do think someone who is already a little sensitive to food/body issues might read a food blog and feel bad about themselves or be reading about food instead of eating food. Again, I am not expert. I think food should be fun, so Mark and I try to have fun.

    I do want to tell you I think your blog is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of a truly healthy balance. You eat a lot of great foods and move a lot. I love it! And you give me good recipes.

  • Tamara (A Wedding Story) November 12, 2008, 4:33 pm

    I can honestly say that food blogs helped me overcome my eating disorder. After 13 years of struggling, I came across your blog and Jenna’s Eat, Live, Run blog, and it gives me a whole new perspective on food. I think it was important that I was in the right phase of my recovery. Someone in the throes of an ed, who is not ready to recover, and who does not yet want to recover, should try to redirect themselves to anything non-food related. It’s about getting out of your own head and learning to focus on other things. But as somebody who truly wanted to recover, these blogs have been a blessing to me. I’m trying new foods, having fun with food, and even eating foods that were once “forbidden.” My husband is so thrilled to see how I’ve progressed, and I say all the time how much your blogs have helped me. So thank you! This is a great, great thing you are doing — never doubt it!

  • Elizabeth November 12, 2008, 4:36 pm

    I’ve been reading food blogs for a while, and am even thinking of starting my own. Of course when I first came across a few I thought it was a little obsessive (taking photos of every thing), but it actually helped me realize I was probably not eating enough for the level of working out that I do. So when I started taking little tips like bars, or adding some pb to my oats or having that afternoon snack, my life greatly improved because I was no longer in a bad mood all the time from my blood sugar dropping. So, in a very long way (sorry) I’m just trying to say what a person gets from food blogs (both reading and writing them) is entirely up to them. I think people should focus more on the healthy lifestyle aspect of it more than anything else šŸ™‚

  • eatingbender November 12, 2008, 4:42 pm

    Wow, you have generated such an intense and interesting discussion, Caitlin – kudos!

    I started my blog back in March, mainly so that I could have a place to write that wasn’t confined to the classroom or work environment (like you) and also because of a love I had developed for talking about, reading about and eating healthy food from blogs like Kath’s and Cristin’s (Eat Like Me). I am a journalism major and writing has always been more than just a hobby to me, so the opportunity to combine that with my new passion for healthy living was very alluring! What’s kept me on board this long has been the amazing response I’ve received, the friendships I’ve developed, and the opportunity to make a little $$ while still in college – hey, I’m just being honest here!

    It’s honestly hard for me to remember what a typical day was like for me before food blogs entered my life. It’s become such a huge part of who I am, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I think it’s great that no blogger is the same – even if everyone is talking about food, we all have our own stories and backgrounds to bring to the table.

    One last point: the rest of society/my family gives me the same weird looks and comments that you get! But everyone is entitled to have a passion for something, and we shouldn’t be treated any differently than, say, a die hard sports fanatic who spends the entire day on ESPN.com :o)

    Guess that wasn’t my last point – I ALSO want to say thank you for the idea on the 2nd middle name. I guess it didn’t occur to me that it was possible to have more than one. I love my last name and wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t keep it somehow. Thanks for showing me how it’s possible!

  • Meg November 12, 2008, 5:34 pm

    Polenta is so awesome and it tastes like cornbread to me too. I love food blogging for all the recipes, food ideas, and friends!

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 6:30 pm

    i’ve really appreciated reading everyone’s opinions — both the positive and slightly negative ones on food blogging. i am SO proud of everyone who commented because everyone managed to be calm, nice, and there was no attacking. that means a lot to me because several people mentioned(and I myself feel) that we have a really warm and supportive community going on. that doenst mean that we have to agree on everything we all do or say, but its nice to know we can discuss it like ladies! šŸ™‚

    you guys are awesome!

  • B_Hlthy November 12, 2008, 6:35 pm

    I started food blogging for so so so many reasons! I am going to post fully on my blog because I think its a great topic.

    I love to write, I want to get into publishing/research/writing etc.
    I found myself making really creative foods and recipes and wanting to take pictures of it because ” it just looks so good!” and be able to make it again!

    I wanted to improve my photography, and get out my creativity in an influential positive way.

    I love the “community” created and love making “friends” that have the same interests as me- which has been hard for me to do over the years.

    As I am first admitting to this community, I did suffer from an eating disorder for about 10 years. I struggled with bulimia and through a long recovery process, I have written several blogs that I kept most private. I found that writing was the only way for me to face my problems, not stuff my face and feel quilty about it , then engage in even worse behaviors to make myself feel better. It was such a viscious cycle, writing ( poetry at first actually) helped me work through my thoughts, work through my feelings that I often dealt with in such incredibly awful, unhealthy ways.

    I read a book that impacted my life and I also met an absolutely amazing person (Jeff) that woke up me from my coma of ED and realize that I never should take life for granted. I found that I had several areas of my life that were very unbalanced. I would workout way too much when I wasn’t studying. Or I would spend days studying like crazy and not be able to exercise. I never really did anything to fill my soul…. I filled my emptiness with food in hopes of filling my hunger in life, and food never helped it.

    I didn’t realize how un-balanced my life was then. Now, I write my blog so that I can keep myself balanced- remind myself of the great things I am doing. I also write in hopes of encouraging others to keep a more balanced lifestyle- balance body, mind, and soul.

    I would love to help people recovering from eating disorders, if nothing more to be a form of support. Someone who has lived through, who knows the depths it can take you. Some one who knows what its like to recover from that as well.

  • Justine November 12, 2008, 6:46 pm

    I don’t have a food blog, but I’ve been reading them for over a year now! I started with Cristin’s Eat Like Me blog, then saw Kath’s, then Jenna’s, and then it seemed to sort of explode in the blog world! I love reading about new products and seeing people get as excited about food as I do! I also love the healthy lifestyle and outlook that most of the bloggers have. I read the blogs for entertainment, new ideas for recipes, motivation, advice, etc. And the community they’ve created is really great, too! I just love these food blogs šŸ™‚

  • Anonymous November 12, 2008, 6:47 pm

    Hello, I’m a lurker! But I decided I’d like to add my two cents, so here goes:

    I’ve struggled with an ED for several years, and at this point in my recovery I find reading blogs that portray a healthy, balanced diet such as yours inspire and encourage me to be healthy. Sometimes when I’m having a particularly hard time, reading things here and on other blogs like Kath Eats and Eat, Live, Run help me to redirect my thoughts and stay focused on what I really want to achieve: being healthy and happy! I don’t think you should worry about furthering someone’s eating disorder, as they are very complex and are actually not about the food; restricting food or bingeing and purging is only a symptom! They stem from far more complicated and deep problems within a person’s life, and recovery comes from finding and dealing with whatever the real issue or issues are, not just eating more.

    I personally think you are helpful and inspiring! Thank you šŸ™‚

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 12, 2008, 6:57 pm

    anon – thank you! that means a LOT to me, because it’s something i worry about sometimes. šŸ™‚ i think you are totally right, it is so complex. i wish you tons of luck with your recovery! stay strong!

  • Anonymous November 12, 2008, 8:55 pm

    I think most readers seem to have a handle on things as do most bloggers. I, however, read blogs mostly as meal replacements. Not such a good handle. Also, if I’ve had a binge, I won’t read blogs that day because I’ll feel bad. Inversely, sometimes I’m able to attain a sick sense of triumph from knowing that I’m eating “better” than a blogger for a particular day, week, or month, etc.

  • Lida November 12, 2008, 9:05 pm

    I agree so much with what you say!
    For me, I have a passion for food, cooking, AND being healthy, and I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. Some of my favorite things to eat are the simple recipes that you never bother to write down, and then get lost forever. I also used to keep a journal and then stopped, and this is sort of like starting up for me.
    By the way, I love your blog, and I hope you check out mine sometime šŸ™‚

  • Anonymous November 12, 2008, 11:35 pm

    Hi see bride run!

    I was a little apprehensive about writing this comment but after some thought, I decided to write this.

    I am currently am struggling with an eating disorder, but also in treatment. Anorexia & Bulimia are horrible & I am really glad to hear you don't suffer from it :). I came across food blogs because of my preoccupation with food, one of the biggest symptoms of an ED.

    I read a few comments and agree with those who say you really shouldn't care how your blog affects those with an eating disorder. It is there own issue and they CHOOSE to read food blogs. If it impacts them negatively, they shouldnt look at food blogs! Not in your control! Anyways.. Enough with my ramblings..

    You really inspire me! I'm rather jealous that you can eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle and be HAPPY! I want to someday live a life like you and some of the other bloggers.

  • Emily November 13, 2008, 2:44 am

    I read food blogs for recipe ideas & also to keep me on track. On days when I feel like indulging for example, I know that if I flick to your site or one of my other favorites, I will make a better choice. Reading your site has also inspired me to get back to running, so overall, it has a really positive effect for me ~ Thank you!

    I enjoyed reading the other comments here too šŸ™‚

  • Sammie November 13, 2008, 4:43 am

    There are a few members of my family that know about my blog and have kind of given me that "weird" look when they see I take pictures of everything. They don't quite understand what it is all about – I blog for an outlet that is ALL my own because I love to write, I love to cook, I love to exercise and I love that there are others out there like me (I am the oddball exerciser to my family & to my in-laws). It's hard when people don't share the same passions as you. I don't get a lot of adult contact during the day as a stay at home mommy so when I get comments or questions on my blog I feel connected to our community – the blogworld rocks!
    I love to read other blogs to get ideas for healthy meals – sometimes I get into a rut and have a hard time whipping up yummies for my family. When you I see healthy & delicious looking pictures it inspires me to create meals that I probably wouldn't have thought to try.
    If by chance someone with an ED stops by my blog I want them to see that you can enjoy life with food.

    Thank you for bring up this topic – great discussion.

  • Caitlin November 13, 2008, 4:46 am

    i really appreciate everyone’s honesty — it means so much to me and i open it helps you by sharing it.

  • Anonymous November 13, 2008, 6:09 am

    I know I am late but just wanted to add:

    The blogs mentioned and all I have seen linked from yours, Caitlin, show a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits, so I think it is less harmful than “diet” blogging would be.

    That said, I think there are two “dangerous” aspects of the blogs.

    1. If you have an ED or are trying to recover I would never suggest keeping up with these blogs as those with ED already possess a sense of “obsession” about food as it relates to their body image. I know there are girls saying that the blogs helped them, and I belive them, but I would just think overall “accountability” for every morsel you ingest would be a dangerous thing for someone recovering, at least for the few women I know that have had an ED.

    2. The working-out aspects of blogs. I think it is awesome that you are such an avid runner or that Kath gets herself to the gym or runs every single day (this raises the question about taking a break but…). The harm I see coming frmo this though is I know several women with an addiction to exercise and viewing a blogger going non-stop only makes the mind feel “guilty” for taking a rest day. I know on other blogs people have even posted that their body felt in need of a gym break but they read that the blogger got up at 5 a.m. to get to the gym so “I can too, there’s no excuses.” I have seen this mentality be detrimental to women I know.

    That’s all, just my two cents.

    PS- I love your wedding hat from the other day SO cool.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) November 13, 2008, 6:17 am

    anon – good points! i think what i’ve learned from your comments and the other 60-something comments is that i have to keep doing what is right for me, and i can’t live my life or write my blog wondering how that will effect other people. happily, i think i maintain a good balance between living and being healthy, so i hope my life ends up being an inspiration, not a determint. i do think i’m going to be more mindful of calorie- and weight-talk on the blog, because although its fine for me and others to think about it in a healthy way, i don’t want it to ever become the primary focus of the blog because it’s not the primary focus of my life. thanks for commenting!

  • ferfer85 November 13, 2008, 7:41 am

    I will be participating in a pilot study for a Digital Food Diary at a major cancer research center. It seems that the professionals are starting utilize the equivalent to food blogging too. If I find out any results, and they let me, I will share what happens.

  • Catherine November 13, 2008, 11:09 am

    Great question!! I started my food blog because I’m obsessed with cooking and I love to write. I also agree with you’re point that it’s sort of like telling the story of your life.

    In the future I hope to create a cookbook full of recipes that I have tried out on my own. I like the idea of this blog because it keeps track of all of my recipes + pictures in one place so that when I’m ready I have all the tools there to put it together.

    I also find that it brightens my day – reading comments, checking out other blogs… it’s like you have a whole network of friends you’ve never met!

  • kirsten November 13, 2008, 1:59 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    This is a really great post. I never had an eating disorder but I was definitely on the track to one a few years ago when I obsessed over everything I ate and every minute of exercise I did. Reading nutrition/fitness blogs actually helped me to get back on track and to stop giving my self such a hard time for eating normal amounts of food or for skipping a workout. I am starting my own blog now to try and stay motivated but I haven’t been taking pictures of everything I eat because I don’t want to begin obsessing over it again. I do think that if you have a healthy relationship with food (which you definitely do) then its great to post pictures of your meals. It gives me good ideas on what I can make. I think you are a great blogger and I really enjoy and am motivated by your blog. šŸ™‚

    thanks,
    kirsten

  • ttfn300 November 15, 2008, 3:07 pm

    great post, i starred this one so i could read more comments before posting, but i like what i’ve heard. I started with the more recipe-type blogs, and looking for healthier recipes i came across others, and more and more through comments. i do browse too many. but i don’t mind those with lots of food pics, as I get some great ideas. I’ve shyed away from that, but kept the focus on my love for cooking. I keep meaning some other althetically-inclined posts, but they haven’t come yet. I’m not always great at getting my thoughts out, but i’ve found much inspiration through others.

  • Cristina December 10, 2008, 1:00 am

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Deborah

    Term Life Insurance

  • Ally July 19, 2009, 9:32 pm

    I only recently discovered this huge network of food/fitness bloggers, and I've become a little bit hooked!

    Not only do I find them informative and entertaining, I have found they've been a useful tool in helping me live a healthier life. I find I've become a lot more aware of what I put in my mouth. I've also learned the power of savouring food more. Plus, Caitlin-your enthusiasm about working out and running really rubs off! I like to read your blog before I head to the gym, because it really gets me psyched up!

    Perhaps most telling-these blogs have inspired me to write my own. Yes, to some extent I think these blogs can make you think about food more than usual-but if it's thinking of food in terms of health, taste, and nutrition, what's wrong with that?

  • Ally July 19, 2009, 9:34 pm

    Sorry for the double post, but I just saw this:

    'It takes a much stronger person to be in control of their food intake than not to.'

    SO true. It's easy to not do anything and eat whatever is there. Getting off your butt and moving, or buying different and healthier foods requires more effort every time.

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