HealthMinder Day Interviews: How Do You Handle Flack?

BlogHer Original Post

HealthMinder DayThis week, I thought I would ask our HealthMinder Day speakers a question that I've always wondered about those who write in the nutrition, exercise and fitness genres. I have avoided putting myself out there with new fitness or weight loss goals on my own blogs because I don't want people to poke at me if I should happen to fail (which I'm really good at when it comes to this topic). So I asked a few of our speakers this question:

Have you ever taken flack for health or fitness decisions (example, eating a second piece of cake or taking time off from exercising) when people find out your blogging niche? How do you deal with their comments?

The three speakers we interviewed for this question are speaking on the Dedication vs Obsession panel during the 2:45pm time slot on Thursday. We felt they might have something important to add to this topic and, of course, they did!

Renee Ross proves that people are good. I want her friends and followers!

Amazingly, I have been very lucky because my community supports my health and fitness related decisions. I am truly the Queen of "everything in moderation" and have never deprived myself of things that I enjoy. I have not received criticism for my struggles as I work to maintain my weight loss - even though I am my own worst critic and fairly regularly will berate myself for not being my "ideal" size. Both my victories and my struggles are very common and I believe my openness in sharing my story makes me relatable. I am thankful that I've received totally positive support from both my online and offline communities.

You can get to know more about Renee through her blog and on Twitter.

Stephanie Quilao points out that perfection isn't attainable anyway.

From day one, I’ve established that healthy living does not mean perfect living. A girl can have her kale salad and donuts. She can train for a marathon, and then take time off to frolic and rest. I follow an 80/20 plant-based eating philosophy which allows for flexibility - 80% healthy, 20% anything goes.

Striving for perfection is an exercise in futility and it’s not fun. Most importantly, what’s the point? I struggled with my weight and body image for a long time because at the core what I wanted was love and acceptance. I thought being thin and pretty would give me that.

I finally learned that the only place I could get love and acceptance was myself. No outer illusions of beauty or validation could ever fill what I felt was missing or broken inside. I had to fill myself with healthiness which also meant embracing the light and shadow sides of me.

I’ve openly shared my “messy middle” parts, the humanness that happens between the stress and success, and because of that I’ve found people to be supportive, helpful, and kind. Together, we’re laughing, sharing, and evolving our way into healthier lives!

You can get to know more about Stephanie via her blog or on twitter.

Gena Hamshaw has come up against some flack from the people she identifies with when it comes to food labels.

As someone who identifies with raw and vegan food, the flack I most often get comes in the form of people being surprised that my diet is as inclusive as it is. Unlike many other folks who favor raw foods, I drink coffee, eat tofu, enjoy steaming hot bowls of oatmeal, and savor many cooked foods. Within the raw community, this is often regarded as not only a betrayal of the ideals of raw foodism, but (believe it or not) a health liability.

I simply try to explain that my choices work for me. I also point out that, in my experience, they work synergistically with raw foods, helping to balance them, rather than undermining them. The whole conversation is a good example of how any label -- raw, vegan, healthy, or whatnot -- only tells part of the story. Food choices make most sense when placed in the context of an individual and his or her outlook on health.

You can get to know more about Gena via her blog or on Twitter.

I think each of these ladies bring three important points of view to this topic of conversation. I'm encourage by each of them to keep doing what I'm doing -- even if I, in my own words, "fail" now and again. What about you? If you identify as a health, nutrition, food or really any kind of blogger, how do you handle when you're called out -- online or off -- by people who want you to fit one label and one label only?

There's still time for you to register for HealthMinder Day, taking place on Thursday, August 2, 2012 in New York City. We'd love to see you -- and have some of these same conversations in person!


Family Section Editor Jenna Hatfield (@FireMom) blogs at Stop, Drop and Blog and The Chronicles of Munchkin Land. She is an editor, writer and photographer.


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