Healthy Living Bloggers (HLBs)

I consider myself something of a lifestyle/healthy living blogger.  And I am perfectly transparent in what experiences/education that I feel make me at all qualified to dish on all that I dish on.

Here’s what I got real quick so you guys know where I’m coming from.

  • Studied Psychology in undergrad.
  • Studied Social Work, focused heavily on health and weight loss.
  • Worked two full summers at a weight loss camp, spent time, after I got full-time work, at weight loss camp with my kids.
  • Worked for Fleet Feet (running specialty) for…well I never really stopped.  I backed off of full-time when I was employed as a Director at a local nonprofit facility….
  • I am Director of Group Fitness.
  • Been teaching group fitness for over 5 years.  Zumba® Fitness, Toning, Step, Cycling, Body Pump™.  You name it I teach it.
  • Also, I lost some like 35-40ish pounds I put on in college and while in a terribly volatile relationship.

This isn’t to say, like “la la la, I’m so fancy, I know all this stuff,” it’s more to say, I know some of what I’m talking about.  I still have bunches to learn, and I will never claim that candy, wine, and coffee never cross my lips, cause they totally do.  But I’m increasingly troubled by the rise of the “healthy” living blogger, or HLB, especially the sort that doesn’t work out, lost weight on potentially unhealthy and unsustainable methods, and then touts the weird crap they eat as healthy to unsuspecting followers.

Enter…well…let me know say her name, because I’m not here to embarrass anyone, but, she’s sort of what I described above.  Maybe a nice girl, but really in no place to be telling other folks what to be putting in their bodies to lose weight – and not because she hasn’t found success, but because what works for her simply may not work or be healthy for every body.

So the other day, aforementioned blogger posts a picture of a salad with what looked to be about 5 tablespoons of ranch dressing on it.

There’s nothing wrong with a salad, I think salads are amazing and awesome, but not only did she douse the salad in ranch dressing, but she very literally stated…

“The ranch is intentional…it’s a great source of healthy fat!”

And then when a follower questioned her on it, she then stated, ” The oil, eggs and cream found in ranch dressing are all healthy fats.”

Let me break it down for you really quickly.  Ranch gets like a D- from nutritionists.  It’s FULL of fat (and not the good kind), and even fuller of sodium.  There is not a nutritionist on God’s green earth who would EVER list Ranch as a healthy fat.  And FURTHERMORE the serving size is like 1 tbs.  Not 5.  Or whatever’s going on there.

All that to say, please, please, please, when you’re following HLBs, keep a few things in mind.

  • We’re human.  We lose weight, we gain weight.  We run a good race.  We run a bad race.  Some of us have suffered with eating disorders.  Some of us just like to write!  Please don’t look to us as the gospel.
  • Please be discerning.  How does (s)he  know what (s)he is talking about?  Did they do something idiotic like go on diet pills?  Do they look as if they have some sort of eating disorder?  Are they copious drug/alcohol users?  DO THEY WORK OUT?! No?  Probably not someone you need to be looking to for diet advice, and I think it’s important for us to recognize that in ourselves as the blogger.
  • Call us on it.  Do you see something on the blog that doesn’t seem right?  Doesn’t make sense?  Email us, leave a comment, or ask a genuine question.


On a more positive note, who are some of your favorite HLBs?

Happy & Hale

First off, let’s go ahead and thank the sweet Starbucks angel from above who made me an eggnog latte on the DL today.  I don’t know what Starbucks’ deal is, but for some UNGODLY reason, they decided that they needed to discontinue the eggnog latte in our market.

I mean, not to say that I don’t completely understand that eggnog, on its own, is a horribly disgusting invention, however, in a latte, that is the most wondrous thing that has ever been created.  It’s creamy, it tastes like Christmas, and in small doses, it doesn’t make my stomach hurt that badly.


So, shoutout to the sweet angel, sent by God at the Starbucks on Fayetteville Street. Hashtag blessed.

Happy & Hale 

So a few days ago, the boys from Happy & Hale came to the Y, where I work, and they, in partnership with a local organization, brought lunches for everyone.  The salads and quinoa bowls looked so beyond words, I decided that although I couldn’t partake in the food that day (I was teaching a class, and food + exercise at the same time is not encouraged), I would try and get down there that day.

Photo via Bizjournal
Photo via Bizjournal

Happy & Hale is a far cry from what you typically think of when you think of southern food. The south is great for a lot of things, however, nutritional health and well-being is not our strong suit. We have Bojangles, Cookout, and biscuits (which are delish in moderation). However, with the advent of Whole Foods, Trader Joes, local farms, and the influx of hipsters and lumbersexuals that we have here, Happy & Hale has been an interesting and successful business downtown.

First, I checked out the menu online.  I thought it seemed a little pricey, but decided to splurge – plus the option was either that, or a Lean Cuisine because I didn’t pack a good lunch. #fail

I decided on the quinoa bowl, as I’d heard that this was one of the most popular things on the menu, and went for it.  The bowl was kinda similar to the salad bowl, and was packed.  Picture this.  Quinoa on the bottom.  Black beans, feta cheese, pico de gallo, onions, and some sick vinegarette were all included with some tofu for some more protein.

Lunch was DELICIOUS, and super filling.  Though I probably should have done without the onions (had to scavenge around for mouthwash after lunch), it was satisfying on two levels.  For one, it tasted good.  And there’s a lot to be said for that.  For two, it felt way better than shoving something really quickly while sitting in front of my computer.

If you didn’t pack it, where do you go to get your lunch?

Splenda and the Judgey Moms Committee

Okay, so yesterday, I’m not sure if you caught it, but a sort of funny study and the results were released.  And not funny, like HA HA, but funny like hm.  You get it.

image via
image via

Basically, the study was industry-funded.  Two groups of folks, all weighing on average over 200 pounds were divided, and folks who were permitted to drink diet sodas, on average, lost a little bit more weight than folks who were banned from drinking sodas all together.

If you are a complete idiot, you might read the study to say to “drink diet soda rather than water to lose weight,” however, if you are a reasonable human being who thinks critically, you might think just as I did.  The folks who went cold turkey off of soda had a bit of an easier time than folks who “stairstepped” their way off of drinking regular sodas.  Because for a lot of people, going cold turkey is really really challenging, and ends up screwing them in the end.  I am one of those people.

The rub was, the “judgey moms committee,” as I’ve dubbed them, got themselves all up in arms about the findings of the study yesterday.

The Judgey Moms Committee (JMC)

The Judgey Moms Committee is a committee of, well, judgey moms who like to get themselves all up in arms about many things, and then write really really angry Facebook posts about them, a lot of times, without reading into what it is, and getting the facts.

Topics that the JMC members get really upset about are not limited to:

  • Aspartame
  • Sugar
  • How to parent other people’s children
  • Judging other mothers negatively
  • The age at which it’s appropriate to stop breastfeeding, which is truthfully no one’s business
  • Gwenyth Paltrow (they usually either love her or hate her, there is no in-between)
  • Miley Cyrus

The JMC was out in full-force yesterday to speak out on this study.  So here’s what I say on the study, its findings, and diet soda as it pertains to health, wellness, and weight loss.

  1. Diet soda is not good for you.  Duh, but I really needed to put that out there.  I am not saying that it’s good for you, so be smart.
  2. Many, many studies are industry-funded.  So yes, the findings of this study should make you raise an eyebrow, however, the findings of a lot of studies should make you do that.  Do your own research, and figure out what may be best for you and your family.  Do the benefits of whatever this is outweigh this risks?  That is for you to determine.
  3. For the soda-drinkers out there….what kind of quitter are you?  Are you a cold turkey kinda gal/guy?  Or do you did a little bit of something else to motivate you through that?
  4. Though diet soda, and the things that it’s sweetened with are not at ALL the best thing for you, I strongly believe that diet sodas and artificial sweeteners can be a valuable tool to ease someone that’s not living the healthiest lifestyle, into a healthier phase of life.  I know, I know.  Insert your horrified gasps here.  But I believe it to be true.  Cold turkey is really hard and unsustainable for a lot of folks.  So maybe someone like me, who guzzled Coke like it was going out of style can benefit from Diet Coke instead.  After I graduated, and began teaching a ton of classes, I stepped it to club soda, water, and water infusions.  The same went for my addiction to sugar and sweets.  I started by cutting down the sugar I was eating and drinking, and moving to something like Splenda or Truvia.  When I was good and ready, I stepped it down, and now, though I admit I still enjoy my sweets, I don’t feel the compulsion to shove them into my face like I did before.  So while I’m not suggesting you go on a strict diet of Coke Zero and cheesecakes fashioned with Splenda, I think a little bit, especially in a time of transition, can really help you go a long way.
photo (1)
On the right is Coke-guzzling, non-working out Cher, from about 5 years ago. I actually got a little bigger after this. On the left is much-healthier, much better-feeling Cher, eating mostly clean with the occasional treat snuck in. I was busting out of the dress, which didn’t fit at one point, and now, it totally doesn’t fit. Shame though, that dress was cute!

Tell me what you think about all of this buzz?! Who else loves club soda the way I do?

The Biggest Loser

I, like so many of you, woke up yesterday morning, and after logging into all the social media accounts, was bombarded by news of ‘The Biggest Loser’ finale.

For anyone who may have been sleeping under a rock, here’s what went down.

Rachel Frederickson was named as the winner of TBL on NBC at the finale on Tuesday night.  As of all accounts, she was looking fantastic during the finale episode, and in the months between that episode and the finale, Rachel managed to lose a decent amount of additional weight, and appeared, by many accounts “shockingly thin” at the finale on Tuesday evening.

TBL via YouTube

Off of her previously 260-lb frame, the former athlete dropped 155-lbs, and nearly 60% of her body fat percentage.

via NBC

The responses following the finale ranged from what seemed like genuine concern, to downright evil.

Here are a few of my thoughts on Rachel Fredrickson and her weight loss.

  1. First and foremost, I honestly feel/have felt conflicted about the situation since the finale.  Is she too thin?  Did she lose too much?  Is she healthy?  And the reason why I feel conflicted is that there’s really no way to know what’s going on in her head.
  2. Admittedly, Rachel seemed a little disconnected when she gave this interview to Reality TV World, however, it’s perfectly acceptable that she might be considered she’s been in weight-loss land for the better piece of a year.  She never directly addressed questions regarding whether she’d lost too much, but does she have to?
  3. When you lose weight, sometimes you lose sight of what you look like, or how other people may perceive you.  You see the same girl in the mirror every day, and though she’s becoming stronger, maybe smaller, and fitter, it’s hard to gauge when you’ve gone too far.  So, it’s entirely possible that as she’s been locked up in weight-loss land, and really has no sense of what’s going on.
  4. She obviously developed an eating disorder when she was doing the show.”  That may be, but that’s kind of a terrible thing to say and speculate on, especially considered that none of us have watched her throwing up her food, overexercising, or completely starving herself.  Yes, she appears extremely thin in the photos, and there is no denying that.  However, that’s a a really, truly serious thing to speculate on, and that’s really between her and her doctor.  And finally….
  5. I think we forgot something.  Rachel Frederickson is a human being who probably isn’t a hermit and read and heard some of the things that were said about her.  At this point, she’s gone from probably being criticized for the better part of her life.  She was a fit athlete who blew up, weight-wise.  That couldn’t have felt good.  She worked down to what she felt like was a great goal weight, and is now being criticized for where she is.  Would she look beautiful perhaps at 120?  Maybe?  But again, that’s really between her and her doctor, and not necessarily for me to say.

Like I said, I feel horrible for her, and I truly hope she feels strong, happy, and healthy.  Now, tell me, what do you think of Tueday’s finale?  Have you ever felt criticized for your weight?  How you you think this will change TBL in the future?  



After the crap I put into my body last night, (the sweets and the alcohol), as the result of a holiday celebration, I decided to drain some tofu, sauté some green beans, bread the tofu with a few bread crumbs, and just keep it simple for dinner. What’d you make?

I broke my scale.

[Insert joke here]

But no really.  I was rushing around yesterday, and I knocked my Weight Watchers glass scale over.  It was leaning up against a wall so it wouldn’t sit in the middle of the floor, and when I was rushing out the door, I knocked it over, and it made a horrid noise.  I quickly put it back in its home, and didn’t think anything of it before I rushed off to teach another class.

Fast-forward to this morning, after I snuck in a really quick run.  I decided to step on the scale, pre-breakfast, when I noticed that the digital numbers weren’t computing.  In fact, the little window was blank.  So I kicked it.  I turned it over and scrambled with the batteries.  Nothing.

I think, if you’ve ever lost any amount of weight, or if you’re watching your weight, or if you work in a gym with insanely beautiful and fit chicks like I do, you tend to get sucked into the scale.  It’s especially annoying when you read one of those articles in like People’s Bodywatch section that give an actor’s height and weight.  You start to compare.  Well, I’m 5’8″ too, but nowhere near 110 lbs.  Am I missing something?  No, I’m not missing anything, that could be a lie, or it could be true, but I’m in phenomenal shape, and my body looks good.  Who cares about her number?


It’s not a problem for most of us, but you have to tell yourself that no, stepping on it every day or multiple times a day isn’t good for you.

So in short, I broke my scale.  But for now, I don’t think that’s a bad thing – in fact, I think I’ll take a little while to replace it, and give my mind a break from obsessing over those numbers.