It’s been over TWO MONTHS since I wrote about “Tearing Down My Idols,” and in that time, I’ve done so much thinking and praying and coming to terms with what I was doing wrong and how I would fix it. Quite honestly, I was slowly starting to fall back into those habits that I’d tried so hard to avoid and I needed some time AWAY FROM THE BLOG to reassess what I wanted out of it all.

Blogging is unique in that it opens you up to all sorts of different people. I follow (and read) a myriad of healthy living, fitness and food blogs and while I love all of the people behind the blogs, I don’t always agree with THE MESSAGE they serve up.

More times than not, it is one of PERFECTION. Perfection with dieting and exercising and brushing your teeth five times a day.  We have to eat this and that to be this certain size.  We have to exercise 7 times a week, pushing hard every.single.time or we don’t belong in this community.  It’s all so ONE SIZE FITS ALL.  And that size is unattainable for most.

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This mentality sets people up for failure. My gums would be raw if I brushed my teeth five times a day.  My muscles couldn’t rest properly and my mind, my mind would grow very dark I let it obsess about everything I ate.

If I know anything about myself, it’s that I can no longer strive for perfection. I have to let God come in and be that perfect thing in my life. When I allow that to happen, the pressure is lifted and the only thing that matters is being vulnerable enough to change in His light. To change the things that matter.  The things that will ENRICH my life.

Not diets or over exercising or a perfect persona or the perfect house.

ULTIMATELY, THESE THINGS DON’T MATTER!

This is why I question the whole healthy living blogging community.  When I really examine, I see that, it is, in fact, NOT the healthiest.  And I think we’ve missed the mark on what matters, myself included.

Here’s how I plan to blog about what matters:

Write posts of importance.

I want you to learn something, either about me or how you can be a better person.  Not a skinnier one – a BETTER one.  Not all posts have to be statement pieces, but they should tell you about who I am, what I believe.  Presented in a non-preachy way.

Serve up a “FITNESS IS FUN” attitude.

People start and stop at the gym because they can’t find the right groove.  When fitness is fun (and we incorporate sports, competition and the outdoors into it), I believe people will make a LIFETIME commitment to health and exercise.

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Healthy competition with my sissy.

Show you pictures of cookies once in a while.

I want to practice and teach BALANCE.  Not rigidity.  And I eat cookies.  And brownies.  And pizza.  But I also have a six pack.  So I know that you can have your cake and eat it too.  I think STRESSING OUT about a diet and participating in these “food challenges” does two things:  1) it stresses us out – which can lead to weight gain and 2) it sets us up for failure by feeding this cycle of on again/off again dieting and binge eating.  I refuse to participate.

584

I ate this.  I did.

Blog with conviction.

If I feel the urge to blog about God, I’m going to.  If I want to write a whole post on my kids, I will.  Did you know that before I sit down to write, I pray about what I should write?  I don’t think that all of my posts are that significant (think rambly Friday crud, which btw, I LOVE writing!), but I do know that God is using my words in some capacity.  There’s a message in this very post for someone.

——-

So that’s my proposal.

In all ways, I am imperfect.  But my blog is an outlet for change.  And vulnerability.

200

I could pick out 10 things I dislike about myself in this picture.  But I won’t.  I had a PR in this race – my body is strong.

Above all else, I promise to take more breaks.  We preach REST, REST, REST when it comes to exercise, but rarely when it comes to our MINDS.  When I feel like taking a day off from writing, I will.

And I might just eat some ice cream.

No.

I definitely will.

QUESTION:  What is your biggest pet peeve with the healthy living community?  What are we preaching that’s missing the mark?

splendid…lindsay

  1. Bek @ Crave says:

    LOVE this (why yes I am going through all your posts- I’m new around here and have lots to catch up on!). I don’t read blogs that preach the perfect thing- actually what I love about your blog is that you promote balance, moderation and enjoying your life! Who could enjoy life without ice-cream?! This is very much the essence of my blog and how I choose to blog. I will admit though that sometimes I wonder..oh should I post that I ate that dessert? Will the reader judge me? I guess it’s also that sometimes readers are expecting perfection. Ps. Love the part about- yes I eat cake, yes i eat ice cream..yes I have a 6 pack. Be jealous people! ;)

  2. Melissa @ Fit 'N' Well Mommy says:

    Great post; very well said! Nobody is perfect and why stress yourself out trying to be perfect! Perfection is overrated. I try to do the best that I can, be the best that I can be, eat healthy foods most of the time, workout regularly and not beat myself up if I indulge in a juicy hamburger with fries or cuddle in bed, instead of heading to the gym. Life is too short to not enjoy it!

  3. Leonor @FoodFaithFitness says:

    You wrote what I have been feeling for a few months now. I don’t obsess over food and working out 5-6 days a week. I eat clean most of the time but indulge when I want and don’t feel guilty. I workout much less and….guess what? I haven’t gained a pound!

  4. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal says:

    This post rocks. I agree. Screw perfection. There is no such thing anyway. There is no way we can be perfect. Ever. Because that’s the whole point of improvement, is that we strive to be more, better, greater. But there’s more to it than just the physical part – there’s a lot about being happy. I try to focus on healthy living via eating and physical but also take a huge consideration into being happy. I post the truth about myself – when I fail, how it makes me feel – if I “cheat” purposely or not, how that makes me feel – and the truth is, sometimes it makes me feel good and sometimes it makes me feel bad. That’s what I learn from, it’s an individual thing and we have to be who WE feel makes us happy – not what the community says is right.

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  6. Allie says:

    I agree, it can definitely get TOO “healthy” up in here. I even feel guilty of doing the same thing myself, but I try to portray my life/balance realistically in my blog. Yes, I dedicate much of my time to working out (I have some major fitness goals), but I most certainly DO take my rest days and do my share of vegging out of the couch with a good book and not moving for hours. Great post, and definitely makes me stop and think about how/what I post–it’s not about perfection, it’s about enjoying life!

  7. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning says:

    Right on, sista. Love your thoughts- ALL OF THEM- here and agree with everything!!
    One of the things that bothers me about the HLB community is silly BS and “competition” to be the best, most popular blogger- and people trying to one-up each other. We’re all just people who happen to have a common passion- and should celebrate that!

  8. Natalie @ Free Range Human says:

    I love that you have the courage and conviction to be so honest. I really think that’s what we’re missing in the healthy living community. So many times I read different blogs and I get the impression that all I’m really seeing is the perfect facade that people are trying to put up. I want to know the real feelings and perceptions and struggles. I want to know the REAL people. I think when we put up the facade we’re doing our readers a disservice and setting them up for failure. Thank you so much for this post. I actually was dealing with this very subject today. I’m not having the greatest week, but I kept thinking I couldn’t talk about it on the blog because “that’s not what we do.” Again, thank you so much!

  9. Michelle C. says:

    Wow, wow, wow! Amen to everything in this post! Thank you for being so transparent. You will make a difference in your field and the readers of your blog! Thank you!

  10. Lisa says:

    LOVE everything about this post Lindsay! And you actually really made me think. Even if my friends are having food challenges, its probably best I don’t participate because I do tend to get obsessive and listen to those messages telling me to avoid certain foods and I can fall into that trap easily. So I should start doing what’s right for me and that’s living a balanced lifestyle!

  11. Meghan @ After the Ivy League says:

    Loving everything about this post. I’ve recently had a crazy schedule (grad school midterms, sister’s wedding, full-time job) on top of having a pretty nasty cold, so going to the gym has fallen to the sidelines lately. I had to prioritize other things like my health and schoolwork first. Past me would’ve been totally uneasy skipping the gym for that long, since it’s not a part of my “perfect” health plan. I’m very proud to say it’s been almost 3 weeks since I’ve managed to fit in some gym time, and I don’t look any different or feel any differently about my appearance. I do miss the endorphins though, and I can’t wait to get back to it!

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  13. Kristina says:

    THIS is one of the many reasons I love you! I feel bad for those I see “complaining” about blogging – getting upset with trivial drama, it makes me want to ask WHY are you doing this then?

    and the perfection thing. there are many ways I frustrate myself in my striving to be perfect… then there are others where I just do the best I can and feel good about that.

    …and so much of the “perfection” in this community is not that at all – it is dangerous and unhealthy and overdone. I pray for them.

  14. Erin @ Big Girl Feats says:

    I wrote about this topic on my blog today – related to wedding planning, but with the overarching theme of perfection. It’s SUCH a tricky, tricky trap. I am a perfectionist. I am a people pleaser. I have been trying to get rid of that mentality for a few years now and it’s hard! But like you said, if you are mindful of it and think about it and try to be kind to yourself, it gets easier little by little. Great post, Lindsay :)

  15. Jess says:

    oh my gosh — you literally took the words out of my head, the words I’ve been struggling with forEVER and you jotted them down here in the exact way I’ve been wanting to say it myself…just much MUCH more eloquently. Man, I dig you and your perspective SO SO much!! I couldn’t agree more with ALL of this. Which is why I honestly find myself pulling back from blogging a little bit more often lately…writing less, reading less, but observing a LOT. And a LOT of what I see? I don’t love. For all the reasons you state and more. There are some GREAT things about this community…the #1 reason I stick around is to find inspiration in phenomenal women like you. There are also some not-so-great things about this community…like the perfection thing, the comparison games, the competitive ‘thing’ that tends to happen. UGH. So where does this leave me personally? I’m not quite sure. But your post REALLY got to me tonight. THANK YOU THANK YOU. xo!!

  16. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance says:

    And that just goes to show how the enemy turns us against our own selves because I looked at that last picture of you and thought “WOW! She looks SO powerful and confident!” — Which you are!

    I’ll say it again, I LOVE these posts. They are totally applicable in my life at the moment, so there ya go– God’s using you to speak to ME! I had to literally cut back on certain blogs because of what they were doing to my outlook on my body/life/happiness/health/weight/pant size. Thank you for having the courage to speak your mind. You are a blessing and a light in this community!

  17. ELISABETH @ CHAARG says:

    AMAZING post. thank you for this. It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of life and forget who created it all —> God.
    I love how you pray before your posts. This is something that I want to take up.
    I can’t wait to start reading more of your blog!

  18. Jonathan Aluzas says:

    Agreed on the perfection issue. I think it’s a huge mistake to try to be a puritan; never eat a treat, never a glass of wine, never a day of sloth on the couch. Just DO YOUR BEST. Only you know what that is, and it will vary from day to day.

    Things about the fitness community that make me crazy:

    This notion of “I have it all together and you don’t.” People don’t want to hear that. We respond much more to people with whom we SHARE a struggle.

    Fitness is NOT always fun. I think selling it as fun or trying to convince people that it IS fun is a losing proposition. It can be fun, but sometimes it flat out sucks. I think it’s better to be honest with clients about the fact that I don’t want to train sometimes, either! But the message is that it’s something to do in spite of that. People feel like there’s something wrong with them when they don’t find it fun. In my experience, only a very small percentage of people ENJOY it regularly, but the reality is that we have to do it whether we want to or not. TRY to make it fun, but if it isn’t, do it anyway!

    It’s not about the looks. I know we all care about how we look, nothing wrong with that. But I want people to be HEALTHY, strong and vital.

  19. Calee (@chimes) — life + running says:

    I. Love. You.

    So true. This is something that I try to convey in my posts. I post about my interests, and try to post about things that are fun, not like “I did this workout and you should too.” My Twenties Hacker column is actually all about the attitude of, “See? Fitness IS fun.” and aimed at beginners.

  20. Courtney F. says:

    Great post! Actually Living my life is how I try to write on my blog. I am a Personal Trainer, but never really talk about it on the blog, because my family and God come before that little piece of who I am. (actually it is becoming a very small piece of me as I have transitioned my life towards my husband and daughter!)
    Anyway, this post needed to be written and God did put that on your heart to write! He is an amazing God!

  21. Amanda N says:

    I can say how much I like your workout tips and Tuesday Trainer’s etc but what really keeps me coming back and reading your blog is this post right here. Your honesty. Love the post and love that you’re imperfect …like the rest of us! :)

  22. Maria says:

    I used to have a “healthy living blog”. It was exactly like every other healthy living blog out there – not that there’s anything wrong with that, (I still read a lot of them and like them) but the problem was it wasn’t ME. It was a perfect version of me and that’s not who I am. I’m the girl who will more than likely choose the burger over the salad and consider a workout a short hike in the woods with my husband.

    Was I more healthy when I had that blog? Probably, in terms of my diet and exercise, but was I happier? Not so much. Now that I’ve given myself the okay to write about whatever the heck I want, I feel like I’m portraying the real me.

    Thanks for always writing such inspiring and thought-provoking posts!

  23. Brittany @ Delights and Delectables says:

    I love this!! I wish that we lived closer!! :) You are such an inspiration. I get caught up in feeling inadequate after reading some blogs because I feel so “imperfect”. Then I realize that I’m falling to the comparison trap. That is my one pet peeve about the blogging community. Praise the Lord that you are so open and honest. I needed this today!

  24. Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries says:

    I love everything you write/do/stand for. I often find myself thinking “should I step away from this blogging community?” because it’s SO centered around serving up “perfection” for everyone to see. That’s why I try SO HARD to “keep it real” on my blog, because I want to remind people HEY! NORMAL PEOPLE LIKE YOU EXIST! I hate when I fall into the trap of comparing myself to other bloggers’ lives/opportunities/bodies/etc. It’s not healthy. So keep on keepin’ on, Lindsay. Yours is one of a small handful of blogs I read because you always make me feel good! :)

  25. Kate says:

    This may sound creepy, but I am going to say it anyway: I wish you were my mom. Or sister. Or cousin. Or best friend. Or just some woman in my life that I could relate and talk to openly about all of the things I struggle with. Because, you my dear, know exactly what I am going through. I may not be a regular blogger, but I have a blog and I follow blogs and I CONSTANTLY strive for perfection. Lately it’s been the “paleo” diet and how cavewoman I can be. It’s literally eaten me up SO much that this past week I went all the way overboard and gorged on so much sugar, candy, ice cream, gluten, etc.

    I can’t do labels. I can’t be perfect. I am just not made that way. Life sucks that way. So now, it’s all about balance. Your post today has given me the jolt to start living my life in balance. I’ve been wanting to, but so afraid of straying from perfection. Darn it, I am going to eat what I please, whether it be ice cream, bread, cereal, yogurt, etc because if I don’t moderate it, I restrict and then end up binging on it.

    Your post has inspired me to write a new post of my own soon. A post about everything that has been bothering me lately. Not to unload my life drama on you, but this past week was rough in LOTS of ways and the whole “I have to do paleo strict” thing just pushed it to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL of stressful.

    Whew. Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you for this. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out! Love your posts, love your humor, and love your cute, little family. :)

  26. Heather McGraw says:

    I love this. You are so right – it is really easy to feel like if you don’t eat perfectly clean and work out fastidiously, consistently, that you’ve failed. Nobody looks back at the end of his/her life and thinks “If only I had gone to spin class 4 days a week instead of 2”. Fitness contributes to holistic happiness, but the FIXATION on fitness does not.

  27. MegG says:

    Great post Linds. It drives me a little mad how the healthy living community seemingly is always striving for perfection; posting photos of women the way that Tamara described, I shake my head whenever I see those on pinterest. I have a friend and former coach who posts photos of women of all sizes exercising; that’s what I find inspiring, not some greased up nearly nude woman with some sort of quote about getting skinny.
    I’m guilty of comparing myself to faster runners who have better training regiments, people who seemingly never have set backs and I wonder why can’t I have that too? But then I shake myself out of it, and remind myself that this is my body, not their’s, and I’m living my healthy life, and my life is amazing in all of its ups and downs.
    I love your blog because you are true to yourself. I think the ways that you plan to blog about what matters are fantastic and a great example for many bloggers. Thanks for being you!

  28. Brianna Williams says:

    I love this post! I recently had to “fast” from all the blogs I read and in the process unsubscribed from all of them so as not to be tempted. But when the fast was over, the only ones I added back were yours and Katie’s (yesiwantcake) because both of you help me to be healthy in my relationship with God, which is the most important aspect of life to be healthy in. It is really encouraging to hear about how other women my age are holding up to all of the social pressure to be skinny and look a certain way, but through their relationship with God. Please keep posting like this!

  29. Danica @ It's Progression says:

    YES!! I agree completely. We shouldn’t even be striving for perfection–it’s just about enjoying life and doing what we can to be healthy and HAPPY. One thing that I really really don’t like about the healthy living blog community is that everyone tries to put on this ‘perfect’ appearance-just like you said! Life isn’t about perfection. It’s about making progression and being present. It’s about making choices that are going to make us happier and able to live a fuller life!

  30. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats says:

    I completely agree, that as a community as a whole the healthy living bloggers have missed the mark. I think rather than leaving the blog world, it’s important for those of us who see this to blog about what’s really important, what’s honest and what’s NOT perfect. That’s one of the reasons I started my blog, to be someone that people can relate to, not idolize. I am imperfect and I believe that’s why people read my blog.

  31. Cara @ I Don't Believe in Diets says:

    Great post. I often think about how if you want to be a popular blogger you have to have a lot of type a characteristics, and type a’s tend to lean towards perfectionism. It is possible people that are not type A will succeed but I find it to be a lot more likely if you are type a. Just a theory though.

    I do appreciate honesty and often enjoy the blogs that are more about it!

  32. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Lindsay and thank you so much for writing this. I feel like I’ve been struggling with blogging and why I blog lately for similar reasons. I feel like I’ve been stuck in the rut of what I “should” blog about etc and not being true to myself. My biggest pet peeve is the working out 6 million times a day and every work is awesome!! My body is just tired sometimes you know? And I don’t always eat healthy. Just as much as I wish that we didn’t glorify “busy”, I wish that we didn’t glorify “perfection.”

  33. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast says:

    Aw, I love reading these comments. And I completely agree- I’m inspired by your honesty and vulnerability. I strive to be “real” but it is tempted to fall into that comparision-trap and want to prove yourself. Love how your spirit comes through in this post, so genuine and godly. Thank you for this!

  34. Ericka @ The Sweet Life says:

    Echoing the choir, amazing post :) I really do dislike when people blog about things just to have a post or when someone is constantly doing reviews, giveaways and not being personal! I do that occasionally but not most of the time. I see the care you into your posts and I try to do the same thing with mine. I often feel hesitant to post about God but when the feeling strikes, I do write what I’d like and it’s all good. I should start praying like you do before writing. I know blogging has reached many people — especially since I planned to go to Congo. I’m right there with you on all of this.

  35. Heather @ Heather's Dish says:

    could not agree with you more, and this is something that’s been weighing heavily on my heart lately too. blogging started out as something fun to do, a way to meet other women with similar interests and a way to express myself creatively. at times it turns into a “have to” and that’s not what God intends for it to be in my life!

    i think it’s time we make it something other than a one-size-fits-all – let’s take back blogging! :)

  36. Tamara says:

    My biggest pet peeve is the sexy, airbrushed photos of fitness models with inspirational quotes. Every time I see one I want to scream (and then go an eat a big bag of cookies, ’cause the look is so unattainable for me, why bother even trying?)

  37. Bonnie says:

    Great thoughts, Lindsay – I agree with so many of them! There’s a lot of competition in this “healthy” living community, but I think it’s because there always will be when things are overdone (maybe not overdone, but rather we’re overexposed? like we read too much and perhaps get overwhelmed?). SO many positives about this community, but we need to know ourselves and how we’re effected by the exposure. Thanks for sharing this.

    You continue to make me think and be an encouragement to me! For the record? I dived into my first bag of candy corn + wine gums + cookies n’ cream ice cream last night – all in the same night. And I simply enjoyed it! ;) Maybe we’ll workout together, be able to go to a great worship service one morning and end the day with ice cream together. …a girl can dream! ;)

  38. Katie says:

    You’re the best. I ALSO pray before I write my posts! It’s one of my biggest desires (prayers) to be used by God in everything I do. I think that’s actually why my blog transitioned from “healthy living” to “recipes + my life”…it’s just more palatable for me! I don’t want to think about/write about/stress about being perfectly healthy all he time. Happy Monday to you, my dear friend. You should have cake for breakfast.

  39. Nicole says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for this. I had been feeling the EXACT same way the past few weeks… thinking to myself “Do any of you ladies even KNOW how good cupcakes are?!?!?!” So, thank you for eating ice cream. And ps, you are beautiful and I can only see a strong, healthy, pretty woman in the above picture. Thank you for your honesty :)

  40. kelliann says:

    I ADORE this post and I think I will read it again and again. Balance has to be the name of the game, or BURNOUT will take over. I am learning the hard way – but what’s a good life without constant learning?
    We ALL belong in this community. With ALL of our imperfections!
    THANK YOU!

  41. She Rocks Fitness says:

    This post nails it on the head woman! I LOVE it and have been feeling the same way lately. I think that women especially in the blogging community are way too obsessed about food and eating “perfectly” 100% of the time. That’s not real, that not life, and that’s just not FUN. It’s become too obsessive and it’s sad. Let’s be real…Thanks for sharing!

  42. Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale says:

    Linds — Thank you. For every single word of this and every letter of every word of encouragement you’ve sent to me. I’ve had some MAJOR realizations since Friday (about my ED, exercise, and life in general), and your words of support frequently came to mind. Reading this post, and knowing that others (bloggers and non-bloggers alike) face the same problems with regards to perfection and treats and exercise, has been liberating. Here’s to being genuine and loving ourselves for who we are in the moment and not prescribing to some make-believe (because they are) inventions of what our lives “should” look like.
    Best of luck with your endeavours. I truly believe that you’re more inspirational as a non-perfect being than you would be as a perfect one. :)

  43. sarah @ sarah learns says:

    this.

    i have taken a major step back in the healthy living blogs that i read regularly and have replaced them with other blogs of various types that definitely leave me feeling *good* *happy* *non-judged* and that *excite* me to read!

    yours is one of the “healthy living blogs” that i have stuck with through that change. thanks for being different! :)

  44. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen says:

    Thank you for being honest. I try my hardest to be honest all the time, but I do get caught up (as I’ve blogged about) in trying to fit some mold, or be the “best” or keep up with all of the bloggers out there who run faster, look better, and actually COOK meals instead of just throw stuff in a bowl and hope for the best (which is what I typically do…every single night).

    I’ve written two posts naming myself an outcast in the blog world, and the first “Sweet Blogger High” I still find very timely: http://www.thesmartkitchenblog.com/2011/01/sweet-blogger-high.html

    The second, about being a Blog Loser is kind of funny to read, especially as now I do love running and I don’t eat meat (although I am a meat-loving vegan so I’m not sure where that puts me)…and it might be a little bit snarkier than I intended, but it speaks to some of these things: http://www.thesmartkitchenblog.com/2011/05/loser-like-me.html

    I’m not trying to pimp out my blog. Just, if you have a second and want to read about who I USED to be. (And in some ways still am. It might be time to print a retraction or update…)

  45. Lee says:

    Awesome post, Lindsay! I think that a lot of healthy living blogs only show the blogger’s “healthier” side of life, leading to a very unrealistic portrayal of the person.

  46. Danielle says:

    I have I told you I think you’re awesome?! You are such an inspiration to me as a blogger because of your honesty, openness, and willing to admit that things are not perfect! In fact who is perfect?! I think we always feel so much pressure to fit into this perfect little mold when in fact all we are searching for is acceptance for not being perfect! Love this!

  47. lindsay says:

    friend, i wish we could live closer. I wish we could meet and pray over each other, over other. Because i have felt that heaviness on my heart lately. Until last night, last night at church. The sermon was convicting but it was also freeing. Talk about how much God truly loves us for US, perfect in eyes. I am taking your advice, such wise advice. quality Content, Fun, Faith, and realness.

    <3

  48. Cait @ Beyond Bananas says:

    I fell into the comparison trap when it came to workouts and meals. Now – I just don’t post about all of my workouts and all of my meals like I used it. Heck – I barely post at all. My blog has lost a lot of readers – but I wasn’t blogging for the readers – so whatever it is… IS!

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