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October 7, 2010

The Hunger Diaries Forum

Since we posted our controversial article, “The Hunger Diaries,” your comments, concerns and opinions have flooded our inboxes, website, and social networks. Clearly, we’ve tapped into something. We view this as an opportunity to talk about one of the most complex issues facing young women today.

ipad with plate, silver ware, and water

Photo Credit: Stephen Lewis

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Sadly, disordered eating affects millions of women in the US, and we will continue to cover it with thoughtful consideration. We’ve been reading through each and every piece of correspondence we’ve received regarding both this piece and the greater issue at hand: women and our complicated relationships with food. We’ve created this forum designed to help accommodate your voices. We’ve not only highlighted comments and blog posts that reflect both your negative and positive reactions, but we also encourage you to add to the debate in the comments section, or by sharing your own personal stories with us by emailing hungerdiaries@hearst.com for possible inclusion here or in a future print edition. We’re making a commitment to continually address these issues both online and in the magazine going forward, and most importantly, hearing your side of the story. Now, sound off! We are listening.


Posted by: jhans
For saying what I've been thinking for ages. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but I think you hit the nail on the head!

Can't even recognize those blogs
Posted by: jcserendipity:
I read several of those blogs and can barely recognize them as they are portrayed in this article by Katie Drummond. To me, this appears to be a desperate jealous attempt to steer women back to buying printed magazines. It is the death rattle, if you will, of your declining industry. Not to mention the unbelievable hypocrisy of it all! How many thousands and thousands of women have been harmed by the rail thin models that have been gracing your magazines pages for all of these years? Talk about blame-shifting!

Posted by: runnerforever1
I'm a food blogger who definitely does not fit the "healthy blogger" mold. However, I've run across all of the above blogs more than once, and each time I've thought that these girls are pushing the limits of healthy living. It actually makes me uncomfortable to read them. It isn't healthy to pour salt on dessert. It isn't healthy to throw away cookies. It isn't healthy to eat a wrap with one piece of turkey on it. I'm a competitive ultramarathon & marathon runner. My food blog has things like pizza, chocolate chips cookies, and crock pot dishes. At the end of the day if I ate like some of these girls do I would be exhausted & unhealthy. I think we need to remember most of the people who are defending these girls are bloggers who have similar blogs. There is a whole blogging community that pushes the boundaries of "healthy." Most of which aren't that healthy. Having a blog where you photograph every meal & post it is unhealthy in and of itself. It is an obsession with what you are eating. Posting a recipe once a day? Healthy. Photographing every morsel you put in your mouth for the world to see? Unhealthy. Especially because as bloggers we're responsible to know and understand what our words do to our readers. Repeat images of half empty plates only makes some readers think "Oh, I need to eat that little." and the cycle begins.

Limited Research Katie Drummond
Posted by: Avocado1566:
In my teens and through my early twenties I struggled with anorexia and bulimia. I wish that I had a blog like The Healthy Tipping Point to illustrate what normal, healthy eating was. I'm fully recovered now, and in the midst of a graduate degree in holistic nutrition. I would recommend this blog for clients any day. Caitlin Boyd is a model of health, and her popularity stems from her creativity in the kitchen and sweet personality that is reflected through her words. Your research is limited. How many nutritionists, dietitians and doctors did you interview to prove your faulty thesis?

Respect The Power of Transparency and Informed Opinion
Posted by: smichm
As a blogger who knows many bloggers (some even "celebrity bloggers") I think it is very important for readers to have informed background on the side of the bogging business that they don't always have. You don’t always know the whole story on the bloggers – usually just their own side – and there is nothing wrong with having someone speak of a different opinion – especially an educated one like the one stated in this article. Like it or not, now, you have the power to make an educated decision as to whether you want to follow the blog/blogger or not. If you disagree with the educated and informed difference of opinion stated here, then that is OKAY. You are allowed to disagree. Put down you pitch forks and thank the editors and writers for helping to shed some light on the subject. What you do with that information is up to you.

Posted by: erin_S4:
I cannot believe how one sided and unrepresentative this article is! I'm an individual that has struggled with disordered eating and finding the healthy living blog community has helped me remember many times that I can be healthy and happy without putting myself through ultimately hellish hurtful behaviors. Shame on Ms. Drummond.

Posted by: patty3210
I am shocked by the defensive and exaggerated responses this article generated. Accusing an author of libel or defamation is an awful and disrespectful thing to do. Do you think that Hearst doesn't have a team of lawyers and fact checkers and would expose themselves to liability on such grounds? The outrageous and personal attacks may have something to do with the fact that the article doesn't actually have any errors to attack so those angered by the content have no choice but to voice their anger in the wrong direction. By using their blogs to generate income, these bloggers expose themselves to both praise and critique - the same way that this article's author is exposed to praise and critique. If you can't take the criticisms that are inherent in making yourself a "public figure" in the blogosphere, don't be a blogger, and learn to respect other writers who express differing opinions.

Really Disappointing
Posted by: Healthy29:
I can fess up to only being a follower of KathEats. However, with that limited view, I want to say that I love her blog for portraying a HEALTHY, WELL-BALANCED, ACTIVE lifestyle. I love that there are pictures on her site of healthy foods that look so delicious and colorful! It INSPIRES me to include even more veggies in my daily diet. In a country where an outsized proportion of the population is obese/overweight, it should be EMBRACED that young women are out there showing how rewarding and fun it can be to live healthfully. "Then there's the effect on readers. "The sheer number of food images and intense exercise descriptions can be particularly triggering to eating-disorder-prone followers," says Dr. Robyn Silverman..." someone is prone to an eating disorder, it is highly unlikely that Kath's blog (the only one I am familiar with) will be the final push. If anything, it may push someone to get off the couch and feel inspired to start working out! And KUDOS to that type of inspiration. Women's mags should be CELEBRATING the women who are out there trying to promote healthy eating habits, a love for fitness and a love for self. Marie Claire, this is quite the disappointing "bash" article!!!

Posted by: shubba
If you prepare dessert, pour salt all over it, and then blog about your experience, people are entitled and obliged to point out the negative influence you are having on society. Take Katie's advice before you irritate unsuspecting dinner party guests and anyone else who might inadvertently stumble across your terrifying world of denial and celery sticks. It's time to let go and discover a sense of humor about yourself. Don't photograph the process.

Posted by: aggiedgoodman:
I am completely shocked at the angle this article has taken. I have been following most of these girls since I started my own food blog 2 years ago. It has actually become a Sunday night ritual for me to check in on each of their blogs to get me in the right state of mind for my upcoming week. They motivate me to run and be active (which I already am), to make healthy choices (which I try to) and to keep things interesting in the kitchen (I cook everyday and it can get boring!). I see nothing but POSITIVE when I am reading these blogs. I get new ideas, motivation and inspiration. These girls are putting their lives out there in a way that is helping people. On a side note, when I was in college and for a short while post college, I struggled with an eating disorder. I am now 34 years old and a mom of 2 young children and have not had those feelings in over 10 years. If I had blogs like these to read when I was struggling, I can honestly say that they would have HELPED me NOT hurt me. I didn't have anyone in my life at the time to teach me about healthy food and exercise. These girls are real people and totally relatable. When I read their blogs I see balance, not extremes. They are enjoying life and taking good care of their bodies at the same time! Shame on you Marie Claire and Katie Drummond for trying to shed a negative light on something that couldn't be farther from negative. Let's be real...the models used in your advertisements are more than likely not living the healthiest lifestyles. Don't knock down "normal" girls who are just doing their thing and living their best lives and are generous to share it with those that want to listen and learn.

Posted by: sb383506
I'm honestly still trying to figure out my stance on this article, seeing as how I am not familiar with most of these blogs, but considering how much dialogue this article has sparked, it looks like the author did something right.

Posted by: mrs_coffee
I see you've angered the minions. You should know better than to print something negative about these women. If you've read their blogs then you know how self-important and self-absorbed they are. They revel in the blind worship of their followers. I have a few healthy living blogs that I read, but none of the "Big Six" are among them. I prefer people with a healthy attitude toward food and exercise. People who don't feel guilty for eating a cookie or some french fries. The defensiveness of the people in question (and their followers) speaks for itself, IMO.

Have to agree
Posted by: koerner77
While I do think that the article was somewhat mean spirited, there was a lot of truth in it. I used to be a faithful reader of all the mentioned blogs, and I had to stop for my own health and sanity. The blog authors may or may not have disordered eating/ exercise, but I think there is an unhealthy focus on food. As someone who has recovered from an eating disorder reading these blogs made me question myself and begin to obsess. I think that we would all do better to focus on living our own best lives rather than reading about and vicariously experiencing another person's.

Click through the next pages to view Facebook and Twitter discussions, plus blog posts from around the web. And don't forget to leave your own comments or contact us at hungerdiaries@hearst.com.

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