The one question to ask when reading “healthy” advice

Inspiration for posts strikes me in the most random moments. Mostly when I’m doing something that’s already part of my daily life and never got my mind churning with new ideas before. Especially appreciated at times when I’ve sensed writer’s block coming up and got frustrated feeling like I will never ever find a topic again. Yes, it happens. Like I said: frustrating. Anyway, enough of that all because we’re all busy bees and you’ve stopped by to hear me thinking out loud not ramble on about blogger woes.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Back to where I found my topic, though: it was when perusing my Bloglovin feed, sighing and marking about a dozen posts as read. All offering me the best ever and only advice I needed to follow to stay on track this season.  It’s not a sole Christmas holiday season phenomenon: the number of posts offering “healthy” advice is [or it feels like that] is becoming almost unmanageable.  Feeling uneasy about the abundance of Christmas treats all around? At least two dozen posts will be around to ‘help ‘ you.  Not sure if eating another spoonful of mum’s cranberry sauce necessitates an extra 5 minutes on the treadmill? Don’t worry. Detailed Instructions are just a click away.   Or maybe you’re feeling all relaxed about the festive season and have been looking forward to grandma’s special cookies for months? You better believe there are enough articles out there to lecture and scare you away from the cookie tray in an instant.

Grandma's cookies

It might sound a smidgen dramatic but trust me: some of the articles that found their way into my Bloglovin’ feed lately were pretty shocking. Whether you’ve ever dealt with an ED or not I have a feeling a few of these would be enough to “verunsichern” you, too. What I’ve been doing to keep the feelings of guilt and tendency to overthink my every move is asking one question before reading on :

Is this targeted towards me?

Yes, it’s a simple question – but I’d make a guess and say it’s an easily forgotten one. The background here: if you’re reading this post you’re very likely to either be part of the healthy living blog community or at least interested in a healthy balanced life already.  Or you might be in recovery from an eating disorder.  Either way I’m convinced that even if these posts have an eerie attraction to you  with buzzwords like “healthy”, “do’s and don’ts” or “must follow” – deep inside you know if you’re part of their target group or not.  You’re eating whole foods, exercising regularly and your doctor gives you a green light at every check-up? Then you likely don’t need any article telling you to swap the mashed potatoes for cauliflower, limit yourself to one cookie or bring your own sugar- and fat-free ones [that leave you feeling unsatisfied ] or spend an hour at the gym while your family is watching Christmas movies in the living room.

All of these articles I mentioned have – in some form or the other – made an appearance on my screen before. Even if I didn’t search for them but just saw the titles in the side bar of a website or blog I was visiting. Yet as I said: Even if Christmas season is stressing you out deep down you know if  you’re in need of that – helpful or not – advice. Like I know I shouldn’t read [or at least not follow] any advice for “100 Easy Ways to Slash Calories Every Day” or  “How To Drop Five Pounds Until Christmas“. The tricky part is that you might not even mindfully seek for these articles.  Any kind of advice like that can pop up on a blog you probably started reading for that one great article about staying fit while working a desk job or for a great recipe. And then suddenly that trustworthy source tells you about the need to ditch the cookies.

Please notice I’m not judging any blogger or website for publishing these posts neither am I saying anybody who’s generally health-conscious should ditch any thoughts on nutrition or exercise and gorge themselves on all the treats and holiday roast. But chances are even giving yourself full permission you won’t because working out and eating nutritious food makes you happy and you’ll balance it all out.   There are people who are  for and find these articles helpful. But on the other hand there are many – like recoverers, people just starting out to try and live a little healthier, unsure about whether or not treats are included in a balanced diet [they are!] – that can be unsettled in their ways by this.

Christmas 2012 1

Don’t we all want to enjoy the holidays?  I remember many past Christmas days that I spent thinking about food the whole time while trying to eat the least amounts possible [a single potato? I’m sorry but … yes] and beating myself up about a lack of exercise. This is the season for tinsel,  kitschy decorations, cookie scent wafting through kitchens, listening to Michael Bublé on repeat  – but not for feeling guilty and second-guessing our every move or bite.

Now excuse me as I go spend some cozy time with Mr. Bublé.

Happiness inducing today: Did I mention Mr. Bublé yet 😉 ?? Even though he doesn’t fully get me into the Christmas spirit he’s pretty good at trying and making me sing along.

Stay in touch!

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Share whichever thoughts you have on the topic.  Possible ideas but by no means limited to:

Do you weigh up whether a post is geared towards you?

How do you feel about “healthy” holiday advice?

Has an article ever made you feel insecure about your intuitive choices?

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33 thoughts on “The one question to ask when reading “healthy” advice

  1. Brittany says:

    I don’t tend to read into other peoples holiday posts much, and I definitely try to eat the same as I do year round. Which means overindulging is just a normal thing for me. HA.

  2. GiGi Eats Celebrities says:

    Holiday advice….. Hey, if people wanna give it, who am I to judge? Do whatever you feel necessary. Your blog is your own, go nuts! People just need to make sure they have disclaimers on their blogs if they’re in fact NOT certified or have a degree in nutrition or whatever they’re promoting! I tend to just ignore ‘how to lose 10 pounds before the holiday’ articles though because um, yeahhhhhhhhhhh that’s no fun. This time of the year is meant to just be ENJOYED not stressed!!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      That’s the big trouble: There’s SO much advice from people with no qualification whatsoever but I doubt every reader will double-check as long as the post’s written in a catchy voice.

  3. Elsie @ Sharing Healthiness says:

    I am glad you wrote about this. It is crazy the number of posts that tell you to skip the cookie and at the same time to eat ALL the cookies. This clearly takes you nowhere. What should I do?
    I am fine with “healthy” holiday advice, the problem is that some of these posts are not that healthy when they ask you to sacrifice a lot of what Christmas brings.
    Ohhh Mr. Bublé! 🙂

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Exactly what I was going at. If the advice is scientifically based and actually promoting a balanced approach: fine. But a lot of what I’ve seen or skimmed were essentially suggesting restriction. Not cool. It’s totally possible to find the middle ground between steering clear of cookies and going crazy.

  4. Laura says:

    That is the one question I know I need to ask but the one question I always “forget” to ask. Deep down I know these articles are NOT geared towards me but I feel like my brain shuts off and I automatically click to read them.

    Must. Be. More. Mindful.

  5. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    Oh a completely unrelated note… My Buble’s voice is like honey and he has a Christmas special on TV today that I plan on tuning into. Mmmm yes.

    But I know what you mean about the holiday posts. I didn’t bother writing one because a) I don’t believe it’s appropriate to use the words “holiday” and “survive” in the same sentence, unless there’s a zombie apocalypse around Christmas… and b) about 100 other people have me covered. I do think that some people can benefit from posts like that, but at the same time I think that seeing the holidays as a food battleground is a bad mentality to fall into. Great post, girl.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      I already told you on Twitter but if Mr. Bublé’s the honey I wouldn’t mind being his almond butter …
      Well, I guess to some magazines cookies equal zombies around the holidays. Cookie apocalypse? Solution: eat ALL the cookies :D.

  6. Skinny Fitalicious says:

    Very insightful post. I agree there are too many survival articles all over social media for the holidays. It’s not realistic. If everyone would just realize that if they worked out and ate healthy (per their normal routine), then having a cookie or two during the holidays isn’t going to kill you. It’s seeing the forest, not the trees.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      “It’s seeing the forest, not the trees.” – Yesss to this. There’s really no point why anybody who’s conscious of how they eat and exercise all year should stress about holiday indulgences.

  7. Khushboo Thadani (@KhushbooThadani) says:

    Loved reading your perspective! Unfortunately Christmas (and just about every holiday) has been reconstructed into a time of year that we need to “fear” the abundance food and/or ramp up our exercise in order to compensate. Whether we like it or not, there’s going to be information & advice floating around that will urge us to restrict and then on the other hand, to let the reigns loose completely. I think we need to use our best judgement to find a middle ground that allows to enjoy the holiday fully…food or not!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Middle ground – that’s the key word. Despite what mainstream media wants to make us believe it’s totally possible to stay somewhere in the middle and not go overboard. It’s sad to know people fear the holidays when they should really be all about enjoying time with loved ones.

  8. Liv @ Healthy Liv says:

    Love this post! You have such a great perspective on holiday eating. The way we eat around the holidays should be simple, but we make it so complicated by making all these rules for ourselves!

  9. katalysthealth says:

    I do think that healthy holiday tips can be helpful, but only for those who haven’t struggle with an ED. A lot of people don’t realize that you can make substitutes on dishes to lighten them up or don’t even think about planning a fun family day out walking and exploring. A lot of those articles have some great tips for people. Of course for others, like say you and me, those articles can be triggers. I do tend to ignore them now, but I know that my sister always likes to read them for new and fresh ideas.

  10. Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating says:

    I agree, I feel like people need to be reminded to have more of a filter for the articles they read, the things they see, and hear this time of the year regarding “staying on track” and “keeping off the Christmas calories”, etc. That’s not what we should be stressing out about. It’s the holidays. They come once a year. Enjoy that holiday Christmas cookie your coworker brought. It’s worth it. 🙂

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      “It’s worth it.” – Absolutely, yes! Christmas time is short and stressful enough already – buying gifts, prepping and oh, hey, work doesn’t exactly get less, either – so we’d better make the most of it by enjoying whatever we feel like.

  11. The Cookie ChRUNicles says:

    I mark as read as well lately to most of those same posts. I am sure they help someone but I am not only tired of hearing about it but am just not interested. I have said it before – it’s almost like punishing yourself for having some enjoyment during the holidays or any time of the year through a good meal or party with food .

  12. kateliveshealthy says:

    Love this post! I have definitely experienced some disordered eating thoughts in my past and am learning to eat intuitively now. You have summed up my thoughts exactly on the abundance of those posts lately. Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      That’s great, Kate! I’m a huge proponent of Intuitive Eating – or really: just ‘normal’ eating because that’s the way we were born to eat before media messed with our minds. I hope you’ll enjoy the holidays, too!

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