Actual-health-spo
April 15, 2015 7:41 PM   Subscribe

MotiveWeight is a submission-based Tumblr dedicated to showing healthy weight loss before and afters. Among the submission rules are: You must be using healthy means to lose weight. Your picture will not be posted if you are underweight for your height. And you can't describe your before picture as ‘disgusting’.
posted by showbiz_liz (82 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
I posted this because I looked everywhere online for fitness before and afters of ordinary people, and this was one of the only sources that still regularly updates. I've found it really helpful - there are some befores in there who actually look just like me, which makes the whole thing feel much more achievable. (And, yes, I posted it now because of the Fitspo link below!)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:42 PM on April 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh man, I'm loving seeing "-spo" become a productive suffix.

(Also holy shit I am so happy this thing exists.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:52 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


This would be less fat-shame-y if they accepted "underweight" people trying to gain weight, and if it still wasn't about "you have to lose weight to be healthy" and appearance-based versus an emphasis on health.

It's still about fat shame, and how fat people are unhealthy and gross and you have to lose weight omg

(Yes I am aware weight can cause health issues. However, the emphasis should be on healthy habits, not on the number on the scale)
posted by FritoKAL at 8:07 PM on April 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was about to say inb4 the regular mefi "this is still crap bla bla" thing, but heh.

My personal thing would be that... isn't BMI supposed to suck/be useless/etc? How are they determining "underweight for your height"?. I was that for almost all of my life, and i'm still pretty close to the line... but i look and feel completely normal, and i'm totally healthy. If they're going by BMI, if i gained some weight and lost it to even a few pounds below where i am now they'd reject me.

I don't know what to suggest, but this doesn't seem like an awesome solution. Especially when i hear an awful lot of smart/progressive/feminsty people campaigning against BMI being garbage.
posted by emptythought at 8:11 PM on April 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yeah the BMI is what you use when you need some quick napkin intel on whether a population is malnourished or overnourished or whatever, it is worse than useless on an individual level.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:22 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't think they are going by BMI, they don't mention doing so. it's just a rule to keep thinspo out of the blog.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:25 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's still about fat shame, and how fat people are unhealthy and gross and you have to lose weight omg

Plenty of the "after" photos are of people who could still be considered fat. They're not shamed or called unhealthy or gross. Do a lot of folks of all sizes want to lose weight? Yep. Is this site encouraging that? Yep. Is that shaming? Jeez, I hope not.
posted by ftm at 8:28 PM on April 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yes, it is shaming.

It puts the emphasis on appearance, and being fat. It makes the goal about the number on the scale, and about what you look like.

It does not encourage health habits, it only discourages a certain descriptive status. "Fat" "Weight"

Half those pics - I looked - don't come with stories about how the person changed their long-term habits or what they did. It's about "I lost 50 pounds"

Give me "I ran a 5k"-spo. Give me "I gave up soda"-spo. Give me "I got my black belt" spo.

Weight loss spo is fat shaming. Exercise-spo and nutrition-spo isn't.
posted by FritoKAL at 8:35 PM on April 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think a lot of this is highly subjective. I suppose, if all these women are actively submitting/consuming these posts, it's not really "shaming," is it?

I'd consider "shaming" to be unwelcome negative statements and attitudes, wouldn't you? These people are voluntarily participating in this culture - it's not shaming to them, it's "spo." Y'know, inspiring and whatnot.
posted by ourt at 9:06 PM on April 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Also see: Reddit ProgressPics
posted by upChuck at 9:09 PM on April 15, 2015


No, it's still shaming. It is in fact shaming because people are buying into the idea that a number on the scale is the goal, as opposed to ~being healthy~

This is Not Actual Health Spo because there's no checking to see if these people are being healthy. There's no discussion of exercise or diet changes, it's still just "I LOOK LESS FAT OMG"

Still not about health. Still about fat.
posted by FritoKAL at 9:40 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, do people need a panel of independent auditors to approve it before they can be happy about losing weight? I get what you're saying, but don't you think it's a little insulting to the people in this blog who say they feel better, stronger, happier, etc?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:50 PM on April 15, 2015 [18 favorites]


I don't mind people doing this; it's possible they're doing it unhealthily, of course, but also possible they're not. Nobody's forcing me to look at them or telling me what to do to be like them. And a lot of them don't really end up "thin" but just "average". Not models, not super skinny, just average weight for their height.

Half those pics - I looked - don't come with stories about how the person changed their long-term habits or what they did. It's about "I lost 50 pounds"
Give me "I ran a 5k"-spo. Give me "I gave up soda"-spo. Give me "I got my black belt" spo.
Weight loss spo is fat shaming. Exercise-spo and nutrition-spo isn't.


Really? Because not everyone loses weight the same way, and who are you to decide what's healthiest for them? Some folks have disabilities or simply aren't athletic but still want to lose weight. Some people don't lose much weight through exercise at all. You don't know anything about the healthiness or non-healthiness of what these folks are doing. But you are prepared to judge them for it anyway?

I'm personally not in a position to shame anyone, in terms of fitness, and I find both the before and after pics somewhat reassuring. Human bodies evolved to function, not to look like chiseled statues, and it's nice to see bodies that are lumpy, scarred, and non-photoshopped.

I could do without the lap-band and bariatric ads Tumblr puts on the page, though, ugh.
posted by emjaybee at 9:53 PM on April 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I didn't notice the weight counts, and some of the entries don't have numbers. Even when they do, they come with notes that are exactly what I hope for: "This is very hard for me to post mostly because looking back on the girl at the left I can see the unhappiness in her eyes, the horrible habits and memories and I feel sad just looking at her. However without her I would not be the strong willed independent girl I am today which is who you see on the right. I have literally gone from the most unmotivated person who loathed the thought of exercise to someone who is full of energy and looks forward to her next workout every time.

I recently realised that when you're unhealthy, exercise hurts. Like, it's painful and distressing and hard. As soon as you have some stamina and flexibility, then it can become sweaty fun, but at the beginning it's just really painful to move an unhealthy body regardless of size. I had it in my head that it was a question of weight, but when I had stamina, scrambling up a hill and racing down a road was fun, even though I was twice the size of the other people running. Being healthy and physically capable is so different from dieting to hit a number, and a lot of the people on this tumblr seem to be on that path.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:54 PM on April 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Also, the thrill of being healthy when because of health crises, I lost a lot of fitness. To regain the ability to carry the supermarket shopping home after being too weak to do more than push them in a basket - it's part of the seductive idea of health=morality, that if you're sick (or fat! when fat is turned into medical illness, rather than just bodies), it's because you're sinfully lazy. Being sick for so long sucked, but getting that idea of health as something I could control completely knocked out of my head was an inadvertent benefit.

I love the range of bodies shown here.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:59 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


There are multiple people in the first couple pages of this blog talking about losing 40+ pounds in three months. There are multiple people talking about cutting out entire food groups, and about exercising for more than an hour on most days and skipping meals. And the moderators may have forbidden people from calling themselves disgusting, but they apparently allow people to call themselves sad and out-of-control and embarrassing. I appreciate that it's not thinspo, but if the idea is to promote healthy habits and avoid body-shaming, I don't think it's there.
posted by decathecting at 10:02 PM on April 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


Did you -read- the comments to the posts where people are dropping 15 pounds a month or only eating chicken, salad and soup?
posted by FritoKAL at 10:04 PM on April 15, 2015


Which is to say - those are not healthy activities, this isn't about health.
posted by FritoKAL at 10:08 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


chicken, salad and soup?

Those are the things I eat pretty much every day (plus eggs) because I hate cooking and I love chicken. It's possible to do it in a healthy or unhealthy way. The varieties available within the salad-chicken-soup universe are myriad.

Also, that same person did a ton of cardio.

I have no problem with this website. I think you are cherry picking to find things to hate about it. If you don't like weight loss, you don't like weight loss, but it doesn't mean it's evil or shaming.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:35 PM on April 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's not cherry picking when half the site is cherries.
posted by FritoKAL at 10:44 PM on April 15, 2015


Accussing people who have a problem with this of not liking weight loss is about as coherent as accussing pro-choice people of loving abortions . The problem is with the culture of shaming over body image which motivates this tumblr as much as any of those it claims to be better than. You don't need to cherry pick at all to see that this is just classic thinspo with the thinnest of veils over it, a handful of words thrown in to try and hide the obvious shame and embarrassment people have over the before pictures.

Relevant: Fat can be healthy, so don’t tell me you’re dieting for health reasons
posted by ominous_paws at 10:49 PM on April 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Weight loss is not shaming.
Everyone gets a body, everyone gets to choose how to manage that body.
Some people choose to lose weight, which is good for most people, and also a difficult task. When losing weight, its nice to have a supportive community of others that have taken on a similar goal. I see this as a supportive community. Their choices to change their bodies in no way require a viewer to meet any particular body goal or change at all.
Congratulations to anyone reaching a sensible goal.
posted by littlewater at 10:50 PM on April 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


Losing 40 pounds in 3 month is not a sensible goal.

Weight is a symptom. The habit of treating the symptom as the most important thing instead of changing the underlying problems that cause that symptom is unhealthy.
posted by FritoKAL at 10:59 PM on April 15, 2015


Also yes, weight loss itself, not shaming. Bragging about it, talking about -unhealthy- weight loss and unhealthy habits (all oooooover that page), and the negative descriptions people on it use about themselves pre-loss IS shaming.
posted by FritoKAL at 11:07 PM on April 15, 2015


Sure, we certainly don't know what these people did to lose weight.
I think its hard to judge either way without a detailed daily diary of every user.
Some people will abuse their bodies. Some people will treat their bodies well.
There is no child protective services for our bodies or our health, and I don't judge anyone on this. But if someone you know needs help, then help if you can!

I have lost 19 pounds in one month. I easily could have put my picture here. I was postpartum, nursing, eating very very well and checking in with my midwives.
posted by littlewater at 11:07 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, we certainly don't know what these people did to lose weight.

The problematic things I am talking about are -about- what people did to lose weight because they posted about it, on that community. That was my point. We know what they did, and it wasn't healthy.
posted by FritoKAL at 11:13 PM on April 15, 2015


Tangentially, I've been disappointed that none of the weight loss "reality" shows I've come across begin with all of the contestants saying in unison, "We, who are about to diet, salute you!"
posted by XMLicious at 11:16 PM on April 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


We know what they did, and it wasn't healthy.

Like... eating chicken, salad, and soup?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:21 PM on April 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


Well, that show has seen a good few hospitalisations, so it might just end up as a waste of a pun...
posted by ominous_paws at 11:22 PM on April 15, 2015


you can't describe your before picture as ‘disgusting’

While I can understand the cultural circumstances that make it necessary to enforce a rule like this on Tumblr, I see it as a necessary evil. If the thinspo scene didn't exist, that rule wouldn't have to exist. I don't have much to say about the site, but I do want to present a viewpoint about the way people are "allowed" to describe themselves.

I'm currently about 18 kg (~40 lbs) overweight compared to my "target weight" (a BMI of 24-25 would work for my build), and actively struggling to not gain any more, and have been on an upward trajectory for years. I'm a 185 cm/~6'1" male, so I carry it relatively well and don't appear that fat with my clothes on, but I'm seriously concerned for my seeming inability to keep my eating in check. During a phase of unemployment some years back I was able to use 4HB to lose the weight, but as soon as I got back to work I was unable to keep that or any other diet going and it all came crashing back as my eating habits reset themselves.

My self-esteem is fine, overall, but I fucking HATE that aspect of myself, like I hate my procrastination and some other hate-worthy personal failings. If I was another 20-40 lbs heavier, which is perfectly within the realm of possibility if my current eating habits continue, I would sure as hell consider myself disgusting. Note that I have no interest in being "thin". I don't know what that would even mean in my case. I just want to be "not clearly overweight". I have no mental health issues that I know of, the weight is just a matter of animal desires not kept in check.

To hate an aspect of myself for being a weakling that can't resist the allure of too much shitty food is my prerogative. It's a combination of self-image/vanity and health; it doesn't need to be just one or the other. I will fat shame myself as much as I like, and nobody has any ground to stand on if they try to judge me for that. I'll call myself any horrible thing I want to. Hell, shaming myself is one of the only effective ways I've found to try and build a critical mass of motivation to drop the excess blubber. In fact, I'm planning on doing some web videos and the idea of my fat face on camera is so unappealing that for the first time in several years I feel a tiny ping of motivation to maybe go on a diet. I just hope I can keep up shaming myself hard enough and for long enough to get there.
posted by jklaiho at 11:28 PM on April 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I like the general concept, because fundamentally it's treating fitness like any other hobby. Lots of blogs cover people's model trains and their travel experiences and the restaurants they go to, so why not treat losing weight as another interesting leisure activity that some people engage in? Yes their are all kinds of social and health ramifications to losing weight, but it's OK to just ignore them if they don't bother you. Keep it simple: losing weight is like anything else people choose to do with their spare time and doesn't have to be fraught.

That said, the second post from today is truly nauseating (louisvillenoms) since that woman started at a normal weight, and ended up with a physical appearance that's impossible for 99% of women. If the blog is trying not to encourage anorexia... it's not working.
posted by miyabo at 11:42 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I had no idea chicken, salad and soup were unhealthy. Not sure how you get more healthy especially compared to the billion processed foods in a grocery store. Those three areas alone can easily contain a great healthy diet of the required macro protein/carbs/fat and micro-nutrients.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:44 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I could do without the lap-band and bariatric ads Tumblr puts on the page, though, ugh."

For the record, Tumblr doesn't put ads on your blog. Those are placed there by the owner.

"chicken, salad and soup?"

...what? If it was crackers and broth, you'd have a point, but it's protein and vegetables. I'm not sure what the problem here is.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 11:51 PM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


This thread is colliding with today's other thread on low class foods. We are so quick to judge the way others do or don't eat.

IF I were to get judge-y of someone else's weight loss, I personally think the exercise is much more dangerous. But I don't hear any of the critics here piping in with calls to limit mileage or risk your knees! Stretch your IT band!

The other thread ties food and shame. No matter what we do or don't eat, whether it makes us fat or thin, this culture shames it all.
(As an aside in the Hmong culture women eat chicken soup exclusively for a number of weeks or months postpartum. The shamed soup eater could be postpartum Hmong.)
posted by littlewater at 11:55 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Can we please not make equivalence of the objections to this tumblr to the shaming that overweight people are subjected to, if for no other reason than it is so obviously ridiculous to do so.
posted by ominous_paws at 12:05 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Did you -read- the comments to the posts where people are dropping 15 pounds a month or only eating chicken, salad and soup?


Wait. No dessert? Call the cops.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:24 AM on April 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Damn, ok, I swear I don't mean this is any sort of mocking way, but I am pulling an all-nighter in my office, and GOD this thread has me craving a salad with some chicken in it right now. I wonder what's open at 3:30 am...
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


It just arrived. Times like these, I remember why I like living in NYC.

I can't leave till it's 5pm in Nepal, so only three hours to go...
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:11 AM on April 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


Decathecting, I've lost 30 pounds in three months and exercise about an hour each day, and I'm doing that because I've discovered I like running and hiking, and I'm eating healthily because I can cook and choose what to eat and when to eat by myself. At some point on this new happier-healthier eating and moving plan (diet and exercise but without the weight-loss tone those have gotten), my body will settle on a plateau of a size that is healthy and happy for me. I'm not sure what that will be - size 12? size 10? size 18? but I'm working hard to be happy with that, not chasing a number.

Not all, but a significant number of these posts are really meaningful in that difficult balance like this one:
I’m truly realizing how beautiful I was in my before pictures and how they’re nothing to be ashamed of. In the befores I see a beautiful happy girl with a lot of hope for the future. In the afters I see an equally as beautiful, and stronger girl that learned that recovery isn’t always easy but it’s possible and worth it. I still miss my life in the before pictures but I’m excited to see what the future holds.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 1:32 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've started losing weight again after being laid up for a while due to injury and eating unhealthily because fuck it.

If one is significantly overweight, and makes a switch to regular exercise, like I cycle to and from work (1 hour) and go for a walk at lunch (45 minutes), you drop a shitload of weight in the first couple of months immediately. I'm still eating more, but because I'm more interested in what I'm eating, I'm cooking my own relatively healthy food. now. It's not the same for everyone but it's perfectly possible to drop a lot of weight in the first couple of months, then it slows down to a gradual drip or levelling off as muscle builds and fat deposits decide they're alright where they are.

It's not the same for everyone, but I got to a level of fitness (and concurrent weight loss) that I hadn't been at for at least 2 decades last year, in a relatively short space of time. No crash dieting, no fat shaming.
posted by Swandive at 2:28 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is "spo" short for "inspiration"?
posted by indubitable at 3:36 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


That said, the second post from today is truly nauseating (louisvillenoms) since that woman started at a normal weight, and ended up with a physical appearance that's impossible for 99% of women.

louisvillenoms states in her post that she lost half her original body weight. Assuming that she's now around 5'6 and 120lbs (low, but still in the healthy BMI range), that would have put her at 240lbs originally. I'm not saying that she didn't carry it well, but that is not a normal weight.

Also, it's true that BMI isn't the greatest way of measuring weight for individuals, since it doesn't take into account muscle mass or bone structure. But let's not pretend that the people losing weight here started off as bodybuilders. I see a lot of people bring up celebrities like The Rock as evidence that BMI doesn't work, which is pretty disingenuous: if you're actually one of these significant outliers, chances are you're going to have a pretty strict diet and exercise routine as-is.

Good for these women. I'm glad they look happy.
posted by littlegreen at 5:03 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is "spo" short for "inspiration"?

So I had the same question and google wasn't helpful but it turns out that "spo" has become short for inspiration by way of "thinspo" which is a portmanteau-abbreviation of thin + inspiration. So now "spo" instead of "inspo" has, according to tumblr/twitter logic, has taken on the full meaning, I guess? I dunno. Makes me feel like an old fogie.
posted by dis_integration at 5:18 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm a little torn; one one hand, these people are doing what they want to do, but on the other hand, they're not doing what I want them to do. Which, how do they think I feel about that?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:19 AM on April 16, 2015 [32 favorites]


I lost almost a hundred pounds in a "healthy way" a few years ago and for a time my body graced the top of ProgressPics on Reddit. I don't share the before and after photo anymore because I came to see it as a very personal piece of evidence of my eating disorder at the time, one that lasted long after I'd hit my totally acceptable goal weight. I went from very fat on the BMI to still fat, and I performed the feat in a medically-acceptable manner over a reasonable amount of time, but it was in in poor faith and a state of self-hatred. My diet is not something I want people to see and feel inspired.

Consequently, I have a tough time looking at blogs like this one. I can plainly understand others' discomfort with it. We cannot truly know what is going on in their heads, but having been in their shoes in a similar cultural context, odds are high that it's not all sunshine and rainbows now that their body is more acceptable to the world.
posted by theraflu at 6:51 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am really sensitive to fat-shaming kinds of stuff, to the extent that I immediately shred all clothing catalogues as soon as they arrive in my home. I can't look at fashion mags, they uniformly make me feel like shit.

I have no such feelings after reading this blog- I feel inspired to not slack on my gymgoing, but NOT because ohmygod my stomachfats. I feel inspired because the posts reminded me about how much harder exercise USED to be for me, and how fun it is by comparison now. They reminded me that I do have a (vague) goal of getting that big thumbs-up from the doctor at my summer physical and of rocking a 5K later this year.

I dunno. I'm not trying to say it's impossible for someone to walk away from this blog feeling like I do when I've read some shitty anorexia-in-disguise diet article in Cosmo. I'm just saying that to me, it seems like a pretty cool thing.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:59 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Disclaimer: I'm not saying this shouldn't have been posted or that this is actual thinspo or anything negative or positive about this post or the Tumblr itself. This is my experience.

I saw this post. I knew I should have walked away. I knew this post wasn't for me and yet, after 30 years of an eating disorder and 8 years in treatment and 4 years without purging, my brain still wanted to see it. Not the healthy part of my brain, the sick part. And I did. It wasn't healthy for me. Again, just for me. It was triggering and I knew it would be from the second I saw the post and I looked anyway. There are some habits that are harder to kick than others. Thinspo is one of those and that's what this was for me.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:14 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I find it extremely frustrating to hear exercising an hour or more a day or eating chicken and salad being described as unhealthy.
posted by Metafilter Username at 7:29 AM on April 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


No one said that eating chicken, salad and/or soup was unhealthy. But eating ONLY chicken, salad and soup for three months without anything else in the diet is actually unhealthy.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:20 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unhealthy compared to what, exactly?
posted by Metafilter Username at 8:51 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Having some fruits and fats.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:53 AM on April 16, 2015


Having some fruits and fats.

I dunno, we don't know Thing 1 about whether that person cooked the chicken in butter or oil, whether she included cheeses or almonds in the salads, and what kinds of soup she was eating. And while I'm a firm believer that nobody ever got fat or sick eating raspberries, fruit is definitely mostly verboten on a lot of the keto or paleo diets this very site likes to hold up as The Healthiest Evar.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:00 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]




FritoKAL: "This is Not Actual Health Spo because there's no checking to see if these people are being healthy. There's no discussion of exercise or diet changes, it's still just "I LOOK LESS FAT OMG""

one, the blog is motivational, not methodological. two, the submission requirements seem relatively sane. In particular, I note point number 9:
9. Please try not to describe your before picture as ‘disgusting’…I received the following message (and it’s not the first time I’ve received such a message) which describes why I’m making this request: “I wish you had a rule for people to not say things like how disgusting the before pictures are, because guess what, there are people at that weight and they probably already feel bad about themselves and come here for motivation. I would hate to be at someone’s before weight only to read that it was horrible and disgusting.”
which seems to be supportive and self-body-sense sensitive.

three, this is a submission blog. People push content to this site. It doesn't pull from others.

four, there are a lot of narratives about people's exercise,diet, health and happiness:
From 261 to 176 so far. Working on my stubborn lower belly pooch and building muscle. I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I have made progress! You have to take it one day at a time. Enjoy the process. Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes and forgive yourself when you make them. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s and BE HAPPY.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of my struggles with body image, disordered eating, and unhealthy attitudes. I’m not going to give you numbers because those always triggered me. I’m not going to give you all the specifics of my diet and exercise plan unless you ask, but I’m always happy to help!
I have literally gone from the most unmotivated person who loathed the thought of exercise to someone who is full of energy and looks forward to her next workout every time. It’s not easy everyday, that’s not what I’m saying but to go from that to this is one of the best things I can say I’ve done ..
I am so grateful to not be in as much emotional and physical pain! Xoxo
So this is where I started my weight loss journey, wanting to be healthier. After about 4 months of watching what I ate, I started running and I haven’t stopped! The second picture was taken this year, at my current weight. To help improve my running times, I would like to get down to 135 lbs.
Again, inspiration is not methodology. I think a lot of the tumblr's picture captions are short and punchy because there's no implied relationship: Fitzombieslayer isn't offering to coach you through her fitness plan, or discuss the changes she made in her life to support herself -- she's saying "I'm doing better than I was" to the world.

I'd lost a lot of weight on optifast in the past year and I've had more than one person tell me that I was their inspiration for their own health re-assessment. If I just told them to do optifast, I'm not sure many of them would have continued on. What they saw was "Hey, boo is looking healthier. I bet I could do that, too." Whatever people did -- some of them did paleo diets, one did running, another got a personal trainer and a dietician -- was their own personal choices. Inspiration isn't always concrete steps and rote planning.
posted by boo_radley at 9:02 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


A salad is not just a bag of shredded lettuce and chicken is not just a boneless skinless chicken breast mashed into a bone-dry George Foreman grill
posted by Metafilter Username at 9:08 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Metafilter Username: "A salad is not just a bag of shredded lettuce and chicken is not just a boneless skinless chicken breast mashed into a bone-dry George Foreman grill"

Oh dang, man: my jam lately has been chicken roasted with fruit, and then using the jus to make wilted spinach. Oh man.
posted by boo_radley at 9:12 AM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


If anyone wants tips on insanely fattening salads, just IM me (or look up "recipes" + "Russian salads"). The word "salad" means anything you want it to mean.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:15 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


That said, the second post from today is truly nauseating (louisvillenoms) since that woman started at a normal weight, and ended up with a physical appearance that's impossible for 99% of women. If the blog is trying not to encourage anorexia... it's not working.

Maybe she was A normal weight, but how do you know what her normal weight is? Just because someone wouldn't be considered "fat" by a given cultural standard doesn't mean they are in shape, feeling well, or at the best weight for their bodies.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:16 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


The point of fatshaming being bad is not because they are shaming based on this arbitrary value 'fat', but because it is shaming women for their body and their choices. It is the same thing when you are shaming people because they didn't choose the body or make the choices you thought would be best.
posted by corb at 9:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


A salad is not just a bag of shredded lettuce and chicken is not just a boneless skinless chicken breast mashed into a bone-dry George Foreman grill

And this is how I know it is unlikely you suffered from an eating disorder. Because if you asked a room full of people in treatment, they would wonder what else a salad and chicken could possibly mean.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:52 AM on April 16, 2015


that's an unnecessary assumption about a lot of people.
posted by sweetkid at 9:58 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think in general telling someone who feels triggered by a thing that their feelings are wrong and invalid because your feelings are not the same doesn't really lead to greatness. Similarly, assuming that everyone's disordered thinking follows an identical path to your own, not very excellent. My experiences with disordered food issues read to most people as straight up uncomplicated alcoholism and drug addiction, which is a reasonable way to look at them superficially and from the outside, but difficulty dealing with food played a big part in both those things, and I would find it supremely vexing to have someone say otherwise based upon their own different experiences.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:06 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am sorry to hear that you've had an eating disorder, and I am just trying to say that salad and chicken can be prepared in a healthy and nutritionally complete way that includes healthy amounts of fat and fruit.
posted by Metafilter Username at 10:16 AM on April 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Geez. All the commotion! I am working on weight loss (about 70 pounds) in a healthy way for my own health and I don't feel shamed a bit by this site or others like it. It's very motivational for me!

I am a fat person and I just don't buy into fat shaming.
posted by harrietthespy at 10:18 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I started a pretty rigorous exercise routine 3 weeks ago, and since then I've also looked through a ton of Pinterest boards for motivation/inspiration. It's become something I do almost daily. A lot of the images floating around there promote really unhealthy body images, so I try to focus on images of strength-building instead of numbers. In fact what I love seeing the most (and wish there was more of!) are images where people of normal weight go UP on the scale but the after pictures are of lean, muscled physiques.

I'm all for people motivating each other. There are a lot of reasons to want to lose weight, not all of them vain, and sometimes weight coming off is a bonus to finding an activity you really enjoy. I love that feeling of "This is really fun, AND if I keep it up I could be in this great shape in several months! Cool!"

Thanks for this post.
posted by erratic meatsack at 10:23 AM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Sophie1: "And this is how I know it is unlikely you suffered from an eating disorder."

But that's one of the first things I learned in my treatments??? That "hey, that thing you thought was a salad isn't the entire universe of salads and other things can be salads and healthy too and let's talk about how your relationship with salads can be different".
posted by boo_radley at 10:23 AM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Exactly my point, boo_radley. Many of us who suffer/ed from an eating disorder or have disordered eating don't understand or can't grok that eating a varied diet is healthier than eating 3 plain items and sticking to them. We often need to be taught that. When someone on a diet site says that "I'm eating only salad, chicken and soup and I'm losing 15 lbs. a month." that is more than likely the unhealthy kind of lettuce, plain baked chicken and broth.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:28 AM on April 16, 2015


BTW, "let's talk about how your relationship with salads can be different" is a pretty sure sign of having been in treatment! Because don't we all have a relationship with salads!?
posted by Sophie1 at 10:32 AM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


It seems worth pointing out, albeit in a horse-has-left-all-the-barns-and-moved-to-Mexico way, that the "health-spo" framing which prompted a lot of the complaints in this thread comes solely from the FPP, and not from the blog itself. The blog itself seems to be unabashedly about weight loss, but with a structure and policy that shift the conversation toward people who are operating in basically non-disordered frameworks and focusing strongly on associated health benefits.

Of course they have no way of guaranteeing that contributors, in their hearts of hearts, are operating from a healthy place of self-love and zero disordered thinking. But there's very little actual evidence there that they aren't.

Many of us who suffer/ed from an eating disorder or have disordered eating don't understand or can't grok that eating a varied diet is healthier than eating 3 plain items and sticking to them. We often need to be taught that, so when someone says that "I'm eating only salad, chicken and soup and I'm losing 15 lbs. a month." that is more than likely the unhealthy kind of lettuce, plain baked chicken and broth.

I just really don't like that the starting assumption here is that a person none of us know at all, or have any more information about than a picture and a blurb, suffers from an eating disorder. We have no reason to believe that MORE than the alternative, that this person has a healthy relationship with food and has simply found a nutritional plan that works for her.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:33 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is it more likely to be the unhealthy kind though? That's basically what I was eating when I was trying a keto diet, and I only dropped it because I love bread way too much. Plus in the beginning when you avoid carbs you lose way more weight than you think is possible. So a few things come to mind about this:

* A lot of people keep this up with no ill effects
* A lot of people begin to vary up their diet once they got the essentials (nutrients, portion control) nailed down
* A lot of people are fine eating the same boring thing every day

None of these things are an immediate red flag for an eating disorder, IMO.
posted by erratic meatsack at 10:35 AM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


So I think it's possible people do different things at different times in their life. A long time ago, I did the 'salad in a sack, zero fat dressing, insert sadness here' salads. Now I have avocado and spinach and eggs and it is delicious as hell. So it doesn't have to be an either/or thing.
posted by corb at 10:45 AM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is great; my only quibble is, are all these people 18+? I know they're not doing nudity but some of these people look like teenagers and it makes me feel like a creepo looking at them in their skivies.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:33 PM on April 16, 2015


Because don't we all have a relationship with salads!?

Speaking only for myself: it's an FWB kind of thing
posted by Greg Nog at 1:34 PM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


In all fairness, the actual person who posted the chicken, soup and salad thing doesn't say she's only been eating those things. She says "I’ve been eating salad, chicken, soups and absolutely no sugar." I suppose you could read that as a comprehensive list of her food intake for the past 3 months, but it seems just as reasonable to read it as someone who is just giving an indication of their main dietary habits, considering that this is a brief post on Tumblr. Other than sugar, she doesn't mention cutting anything out entirely, and many, many people find that it's easier to give up sugar completely than to try to consume sugary things in moderation.
posted by lwb at 1:45 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


This whole thread is unsettling. Maybe a woman ate the right thing, maybe she ate the wrong thing. But she's being scrutinized either way!

The intent of the post is (IMO) to present a mosaic of positive weight loss and not to sift through these real live people searching for angels or demons.
posted by Monochrome at 2:03 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Greg Nog: "Speaking only for myself: it's an FWB kind of thing"

Friends with baconbits?
posted by boo_radley at 2:17 PM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


This whole subject is so fraught I don't even know how to approach it. Is there a way to talk about your own body, or any individual body, without casting judgment on other bodies? I'm getting to the point that I feel like I'm spiraling into a panic any time someone brings up the subject of weight loss or fitness.

I've lost a lot of weight recently, and I've also started working out regularly. I care a lot more about my fitness than my weight, so I'm frustrated that people comment on my size rather than my strength. I'm really proud of getting stronger, and wish there were more places I could talk about that. I'm part of a (truly amazing) fitness group on Facebook that actively discourages talk about dieting and instead focuses on good health and being a general badass in dealing with physical and personal challenges, whatever those might be. For every one member who reports that she's lost 20 pounds, there are ten others who post about running their first 10k, or competing in a triathlon, or just going for a long walk. But outside of that one private group, I don't feel comfortable discussing my fitness-related goals or efforts anywhere: I know that when I do, I'm making my friends with body and fitness related anxieties feel worse about themselves. Worse, I worry that I've simply internalized a lot of hatred about the way that my body looked and functioned when I was bigger: that my pride is misplaced and itself unhealthy.

I want to love this? But I don't know if it's possible to have a sane and healthy conversation about fitness if that conversation is driven by weight loss.
posted by libraritarian at 3:18 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I liked it! I have often been fat, and have a pretty fat family with terrible food issues. And I am currently working on some healthy eating including salads and salmon and things! I did find so much of this inspirational (except the part where I will never be as young again as many of these young folks!) How wonderful they are taking control of something they felt was out of control. How wonderful they choose to share it with the world.

I think, if you don't like it, or it triggers you, that is unfortunate but I don't think the actual Tumblr is to blame. If you are not getting anything positive out of it, then don't look at it (or argue with people who have a different experience)? Because I have to agree we do not know how healthily or not healthily these folks are eating. It felt to me that most are progressing in a positive fashion and I see no reason to assume otherwise. I can agree that some appear to start from already thin and go even thinner. But it is not for me to judge why or how. (And those seem to be a small minority of the total anyway.)
posted by Glinn at 5:41 PM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


My body changes, often quite rapidly, when my diet/life routine changes. Sometimes these changes are just changes, but sometimes they are clearly reflective of my choices. (Every time I move back to or visit America, I gain 10+ lbs in the first month, because I'm eating out of other people's fridges and drinking instead of exercising and cheese.)

These are choices that affect more of my life than the circumference of my midsection, but it can be hard, day-to-day, (for me, at least) to judge my level of tiredness, crankiness, and/or happiness. Are these pants even actually tighter than last week or did I, like, wash them?

For me (and I don't have a disordered relationship with food or exercise, so I know this isn't the same for everyone), the number on the scale is a reminder that, oh, you've been eating yucky food and reading metafilter all day, even though you're unemployed, you need to get up and move your body and you'll feel better. Or it can be, oh, you've been out running with your girls and reaching your fruit and veggie goals, like a champ. Yes, the number on the scale is a symptom and a coincidence of genetics and environment and a little note about where I am. It isn't the boss of me.
posted by MsDaniB at 10:50 PM on April 16, 2015


But I don't know if it's possible to have a sane and healthy conversation about fitness if that conversation is driven by weight loss.

Thats fine and all, but then the conversation about fitness would be something like how fast someone can run a mile, or how high they can jump, or something else objective.

People want to show off progress, and the most universal way is to talk about pounds they shred because thats what EVERYONE else will understand. Saying that you shaved 10 seconds off your forty is impressive as hell, but not as impressive as showing a pic that shows someone having massive weight loss. And thats what lay people want to talk about.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:10 AM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


The fact that there are people who think that

chicken, salad and soup?

is an unhealthy way to eat is part of the reason we have an obesity crisis.

Chicken, salad and soup are what humans are supposed to eat. Chicken contains some fat. In caveman days, fruit would have been an occassional, short-season treat. The main diet would have been greens and veggies, and whatever protein could be caught, such as birds, fish, insects, eggs.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:48 AM on April 17, 2015


Chicken, salad and soup are what humans are supposed to eat.

I wouldn't say this at all. Actually, part of the reason humans are so successful and widespread is that we can thrive on a huge variety of diets. Inuits eat a huge proportion of meat and animal fat compared to the global average; the Hadza people of Africa get a huge proportion of their calories from honey; Jains are basically vegan. And all of those diets work.

This is why paleo kinda drives me batty - because it's based on an idea of what people might have eaten before agriculture, without actually researching the diets of currently existing hunter/gatherer groups.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:26 AM on April 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


Someone mentioned that they wish the blog showed people recovering from being underweight, and this post today struck me.

"I posted this a while ago but deleted it because I was self concious. But I want to be proud of how far I’ve come. Both of these bodies are normally healthy bodies. But only one is a strong body. On the left, I was in the pits of self loathing. I was weak, with very little fitness and a terrible diet. Somewhere in between these two photos, I was underweight and sick and killing myself with a disease I’m still not sure I’ve fully escaped, but one which I’ve overpowered. I have no photos of myself from that time and I do not wish to see my dull eyes pointy ribs. On the right, I am a runner. I am stronger and faster than I’ve ever been before, and I’m still getting stronger and faster today. Here’s the kicker: I weigh 3 pounds less on the right than on the left. THREE. Not fifteen or twenty. 3. It’s not about weight loss. It’s about strength. It’s about a healthy state of mind. I should have been perfectly happy with my perfectly fine body of 2 years ago, but I am thankful for the hell I went through that led me on the path to finding running- my truest love and deepest passion."
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:36 AM on April 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


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