I Root For Diet Bloggers To Fail

I don’t typically think of myself as a terrible person.

Nor do I think of myself as someone who is really against human vanity and hates it when people try to lose weight. Obviously, I’ve done stupid diets myself. But when I read blogs where women chronicle everything they ate that day, I root for them to just give in and eat say, an entire cheesecake. Hell, three entire cheesecakes.

When I read one (which I wil keep anonymous because of some lingering sense of playground decorum – I don’t want to tattle on them)  where a woman exclaimed “halfway through the day temptation reared its head! My husband brought me a vegan cupcake! I estimated that it must have 400 calories! That’s a third of my daily allotment!” And I sat there, hunched at my desk like Smeagol, muttering “eat the cupcake, eat the goddamn cupcake, eatttttttt itttttt.” I don’t want to spoil this for you, but she did not eat it. She responsibly cut the cupcake into quadrants and ate one of them and then put the rest in the freezer. And I literally pounded my little Smeagol fists on my desk in frustration.

Of course, she did the right thing. I mean, not the right thing in terms of the fun, cool, crape diem thing, that cupcake will taste like crap after being in the freezer for a few days. Still, the woman cutting up the cupcake is making responsible choices. You can’t argue with that. But I still sort of hate her and root for her to fail.

Maybe it’s because the text of these blogs is always relentlessly perky. Look for something like “I’m determined to be the best I can be!” and “I had a super-fun kale smoothie without TOO MUCH kale!” As though this business of dieting is fun, fun, fun! And making you, as a human, better, better, better! It is not fun, fun fun! It is not fun at all. It sucks really hard. If they were up front about the extent to which cutting a cupcake into quadrants sucks (hint: all the extents!) then I think it would bother me considerably less.

As would the fact that dieting is not about making you better, in most cases (unless you have been advised to do so by a doctor, in which case, it is about making you physically healthier). In most of these cases though, it seems to be about making your body more acceptable by societal standards. I’m perfectly willing to admit that sometimes I diet because of a secret nagging senation that if I am a size zero everyone will love me, but I do realize that is just the crazy talking. Being skinnier and being better: they are not the same thing.

But because diet blogs seem to be based around how you really shouldn’t put too much kale into your smoothie, it’s hard to read them while eating a grilled cheese sandwich without spitting chunks of gruyere all over the screen in disgust. We’re obviously not adverse to talking about dieting on thegloss. Because we do it all the time. But there IS something about blogs dedicated entirely to dieting that just seems a trifle self-congratulatory, right? I think the reason the bother me to the hilarious, ludicrous extent that they do is that the subtext is always “look at you, you fat pig, look at how I am doing things better than you.”

And, oh, goodness, that is depressing. That is enough to make me want to force-feed them carbs to show them that they’re not really better than the rest of us who see temptation and give into it sometimes like normal human beings. Of course, again, if a friend really wanted to lose weight, I think I’d be sympathetic, even supportive as long as the were doing it safely. But these people aren’t friends. They are strangers posting pictures of everything they ate on the Internet. And there is generally very little about their life outside of food that makes me root for them (although there is often some story like “I’m getting married and chronicling everything I eat!” which, frankly, only makes me a little jealous that they found a man who’d put up with behavior that crazy).

But maybe this is simply part of my own unwillingness to cut vegan cupcakes into quadrants. Maybe I just want to drag everyone down to my disgusting level. That is entirely possible! But that’s not the case, right? These people are just the worst? Tell me they’re just the worst, because this sandwich, seriously, it’s delicious.

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    • kel

      I think I’m going to go eat that salted caramel cupcake now.

      • Zimmm

        OMG there’s such a thing as a salted caramel cupcake? I must find one of these!

    • Eileen

      Me too.

      Not because I don’t want them to be thinner, but because you’re right – diet bloggers tend to be of the, “Eating as little as possible, and especially eating NOTHING DECADENT AND FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE NO MEAT makes you a better person” variety. Which it doesn’t, although it might make you a thinner person.

      Actually, I recently finished a really interesting book on the subject. It’s called Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa, and it’s by a Cornell professor named Joan Jacobs Brumberg (originally Harvard UP, 1988; updated and reprinted by Vintage Books in 2000). Though it’s meant to be about the history of anorexia nervosa (duh), it also talks a lot about the long, complicated relationship that society has gifted women and food. (E.g. medieval mystic female saints fasted way more than men; during Victorian times an appetite for meat was equated with an appetite for sex, so women gave themselves anemia pretending not to want any) I know I’m kind of a dork who recommends a lot of history books, but…yeah, I’m doing it again.

    • Jaime

      Wow – you must HATE Blisstree.

      • rita

        hahahahahah right?

      • Lisa

        Ha! So true?

    • Fabel

      Before the diet bloggers find this post & start commenting shit like “But kale smoothies really AREEE the best! You’d like them too once you train your palette not to crave empty carbs and gluten!!!” I just want to say that YES, these people are the worst & you pretty much nailed all the specific things that make them the worst. I admire their williness to stick to a diet etc. etc. but there’s nothing cheerful about cutting a cupcake into quadrants & freezing 3/4 of it because you didn’t want to take in the extra calories. It’d be one thing if she wrote with an awareness that this is kind of a terrible thing to have to do, but I can imagine the tone was something like “So I just cut them into quadrants and everything was solved! Yay!” And then the entire blog is like that, so it almost forces the reader into a position of being a remote devil-on-shoulder going “Just eat it!” So yeah, the short answer is: I totally relate & yes, these kinds of diet bloggers are awful.

    • Joelle

      I run a weight loss blog. And I agree, the perky holier-than-thou tones of most diet blogs are really irritating, especially if that blogger has reached their goal and continues to write about how to do it. So I agree to an extent.

      But all diet bloggers are not like that, we’re not trying to be a size zero, we’re not trying to be anything other than healthier versions of ourselves. Sometimes we do that with humor and sarcasm and yes, even cupcakes.

      I see your point, but the message that diet bloggers are trying to make themselves “better” by fitting into societal norms pisses me off. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, 0r fit or put on a dress that doesn’t have a couple X’s in front of the label.

    • rita

      I think the lady you described was hosting more of a “proana” site than a diet blog. Cutting a cupcake in to forths and saving the rest? That is the torture you put yourself thru when you have an eating disorder, coming from someone who suffers from one. I think like someone with anorexia (and bulimia for that matter, although I’ve never purged) but since I’ve been battling this since the 6th grade and have had a lot of ups and downs, I never really follow through with any of my ED thoughts. I love to eat so I eat, even if I feel guilty/ horrible,/fat after… I do not deprive myself from the joys of life, like a fuckin cupcake (and a vegan one for that matter!?!). Only if I happen to stumble upon a proana site on a bad day do I let myself fall because I think “well these woman are doing it, so why not?”

      All in all, I didn’t hate this article, I just wanted to bring to light the fact that a blog site and a proana site are much different and a lot of the women writing these are not mentally stable in the slightest.

      • Jamie Peck

        ding ding ding. This all sounds like disordered eating to me. Sure, I root for diet bloggers to “fail” if failure equates to not starving themselves. Where does dieting cross the line into disordered behavior around food? I don’t know precisely, but I think a good indicator is the degree to which one is always thinking about food…and I guarantee that blogger is thinking about that cupcake right fucking now.

    • Lisa

      Also, the solution to the cupcake problem is to just eat the frosting.

    • M

      I don’t so much root for them to fail as I root for them to enjoy their lives. Moderation! For me, moderation is my way to still occasionally enjoy life: I can have really shitty eating days but get over it, because as long as it only happens once in awhile it’s not the end of the world.

      Maybe my perspective is just skewed because after my years of severe eating disorders, now the closest I get to ‘dieting’ is portion control. And sometimes, ‘portion control’ kind of means eating the cupcake [or two cupcakes] instead of lunch. I am okay with that. I’m not saying it’s healthy, but it’s better than eating two cupcakes AND lunch. And no one can possibly convince me that eating a quarter of a cupcake while longing for the rest of feels better than eating the whole damn thing.

    • Ashlee

      I’ve unfollowed many tumblrs because they turn into “Thinspo” blogs, posting nothing but images of too-skinny women with captions about how they would kill for their bones to stick out that much. I’m all about To Each Their Own, but it’s sickening in my opinion. Of course there are parts of my body I wish were more toned, but I’m the girl who would have eaten the cupcake and probably asked my husband why he only got one.

      • MM

        I hate hate hate this about Tumblr.

    • aliclo

      I don’t think the vegan cupcake would taste like crap after being in the freezer for a few days. I think it would taste like crap because it’s a vegan cupcake.

      Boom, I said it.

      • Jennifer Wright

        No, no, they’re actually pretty good! Kind of dry, but the frosting is excellent at Babycakes. They sell shots of frosting. Shots.

      • Jamie Peck

        Babycakes is aight but the best vegan cupcakes come from Champs, or from my kitchen. BROOKLYN REPRESENT.

      • aliclo

        I’ll take you’re word on Babycakes and give it a try. Although I’m pretty sure every time someone eats a vegan cupcake Paula Dean sheds a single tear.

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    • Stephanie

      Dear blogwriter,

      I think I might just have fallen in love with you. Diet bloggers ere sad evil controlfreaks YES!

    • ashmoth

      I just ate a double-chocolate muffin. mmmm.

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    • Maggie

      I just finished reading all the comments posted. I have been fighting the urge to quit a strick diet. I have decided maybe a different approch may be needed. I am hungry and tired. Think I need a cupcake! Tomorrow I will look at dieting as just eating healthier.

      Maggie

    • Paige

      Love this blog! I want to know what woman has done a diet and stuck with it for the REST of their lives!!! Impossible. I have become a firm believer that anything with the word diet just sets you up for failure. I believe in moderation and healthy eating. I also found that using Fullbar is a great way to help me! Yes I give in and eat something decedant every now and then (canolis anyone) but I’m a woman I want something sweet preferably chocolate once a day!!!! And I found the double chocolate Fullbar to be the trick. I refuse to let go of my chocolate and this helps because lets be serious what diet really lets you eat chocolate ummm NONE!