Above is a picture of me in 2009 and a picture of me taken about a year ago. In the first picture I weighed almost 200 lbs and in the second picture, I weighed 135 lbs. I have managed to keep off the 65 lbs I lost to this day and am much healthier because if it. This is not to say that healthier means weighing less, it just did for me. Plenty of people are comfortable, happy, and healthy at many different weights and I firmly believe that weight is no indicator of how healthy a person is.
I show you those pictures and tell you a bit about my weight loss journey because I want to help you understand that I somewhat know what I’m talking about when it comes to weight loss and disordered eating habits. There was a time, during my process, where I became obsessive with my food intake and amount of exercise. This is extremely common and happens to a lot of people who are trying to lose weight and change their life. Here are some great examples of the type of behavior that I’m talking about taken from another Tumblr user’s blog:
- She packed a cooler of food to eat on a vacation with her family and then decided not to sleep the night before so she could sleep throughout the entire daytime car ride and not eat. [link]
- She is careful to eat soup with a fork, but only the chunkier kind. She rationalizes that this is to cut out sodium but then, why wouldn’t she get a lower sodium soup or even make her own from scratch? I feel like it was really to cut out even MORE calories from her already restrictive diet. [link]
- She counts calories consumed and burned in the back of her head at all times, even when hanging out on the beach with her friends and making sand people. [link]
- She finds ways to add high-flavor, low-nutrition substitutes to low-calorie, high-density foods in order to get as full as possible while still semi-enjoying it and eating as little calories as possible. She does this even when the foods didn’t pair well together (cooked carrots and sugar-free jell-o powder anyone?). [link]
- Her meal plans consist of 1,000 calories per day. When people asked her why this was so low, she simply told them that she usually combines different 1,000 calorie meal plans together so that it’s 1,500 calories or more. I wonder why she didn’t just make 1,500 calories or more meal plans to begin with. [link]
- She felt that she needed to split a normal portion size because it was still too much. She writes about splitting a 6” Subway sub with her mom, despite the fact that that’s only around 150 calories for a full meal, maybe less. I know now that healthy meals should be around 400-500 calories for most people. [link]
And that’s only some of it. But here’s the worst part, the Tumblr that I got those instances from, that I compared to when my eating was disordered and obsessive, is a very popular weight loss blog. The girl that runs this blog seems like a very sweet, kind-hearted person, but I fear that she has become obsessive, just like I was, about her weight and weight loss.
Actually wait, that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that this blogger is now featured in Seventeen magazine as a role model for a healthy lifestyle. By doing this, Seventeen magazine, a global publication which reaches millions of young girls all over the world, has given impressionable teen girls a gateway into unhealthy, restrictive eating habits. Young girls already have enough pressure from the media and society to be thin and presenting them with an unhealthy disordered diet plan wrapped in a veil of healthiness is not only wrong, it’s dangerous.
The young blogger I’m talking about is Taralynn of Undressed Skeleton. I am not saying that she has an eating disorder (whether she does or does not is her issue and for me to assume anything is not only disrespectful, it’s extremely invasive). What I am saying is that her eating habits are disordered. This is reflected over and over again in her blog and although I can’t speak to what she does in real life, her Tumblr certainly speaks volumes. Perhaps the advice and entries are older and come from a more obsessive and restrictive time in her journey. If that is the case, I ask you to contact Taralynn and please urge her to update her meal plans to reflect a healthy number of daily calories so that they aren’t misinterpreted and to also adjust some of her language so that it isn’t as harmful. She does have the freedom of speech and is not required, of course, to do this. If I didn’t know her blog was going to be viewed by tons of young girls and could potentially act as a vessel for them to develop an eating disorder, I wouldn’t even be asking this of you or her. I’m also aware that she has quite a following on Tumblr and would love if you could reblog this message to get the word out.
If you could also please send an email to Seventeen magazine at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know how you feel, that would be greatly appreciated. In the end, most of the blame falls on them for not choosing their role models more carefully.
Finally, if you’re curious about my healthy (no, really) weight loss journey, please check out a post I made in my blog about it here: How To Lose 60 Pounds Like Now. And as always, if you have any questions for me, I’m an open book. :)