My Response to Marie Claire

Six months before my wedding, I started Carrots ‘N’ Cake as a way to keep myself on track with health eating and exercise in preparation for the big day. It was a personal journal about what worked best for me.

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My wedding day came and went, but my love for sharing my life on my blog continued.

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Over the years, I’ve shared tasty treats.

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Workouts and training schedules.

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Major and not-so-major life events.

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And plenty of stories about my family.

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In the 2,681 blog posts that I’ve written to date, I’ve never once claimed to be a perfect eater or “health living” blogger. I write about what works for me, which I’ve noted time and time again on my blog. I’m not an expert on anything, except my own life.

If you haven’t heard already, the November issue Marie Claire magazine features an article entitled, “The Hunger Diaries,” where five other bloggers and I are highlighted. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to respond to this article because reading it once was more than enough for me. I really just wanted it to go away, but ignoring it wouldn’t do any good either.

In general, I see the article as completely one-sided. Many (if not all) of the quotes are taken out of content to fit the story’s argument. (CaitlinHeather, and Meghann all give examples of this truth-stretching in their responses on their blogs this morning.) I’m not going to go through the article and point out everything that is untrue because if you read my blog, you know the truth. On the flip side, getting totally defensive about this article would be a wasted opportunity to discuss some important issues in the “healthy living” community. I’m happy to see that there are already some interesting discussions going on around the blog world. In particular, I encourage you to check out Rachel’s post and weigh in.

I’m the first to admit that Carrots ‘N’ Cake is not the perfect “healthy living” blog. I do what works for me and, hopefully, it inspires others. I also realize that CNC may not have a totally positive affect on everyone who reads, and I never want to make anyone feel badly about themselves after reading my blog. I understand the responsibility that comes with blogging, but I hope readers will take responsibility for their own well-being when they decide to read my blog or other “healthy living” blogs. “Healthy living” means different things to different people and each of us needs to figure that out for ourselves.

For those of you who read CNC everyday, thank you for all of the comments, emails, tweets, and support in the past 2 days. It means so much to me.

If you’re upset about this article, you can contact the editor via e-mail at joannacoles@hearst.com. You can also comment on their Facebook wall.

315 Comments

  1. I just read the MC facebook page and it’s awesome…you all have so many people or your side they are probably having crisis management meetings right now and don’t know what to do…. that whoman who wrote the article is definitely getting fired!!!

  2. Hi Tina,

    I haven’t commented very often, but for what it’s worth I wanted to share the comment I left on their website. I honestly found the article offensive to your audience as well.

    “I read two of the blogs mentioned in this “article”, and I don’t find the information presented to be accurate of what I see daily on their blogs. I read healthy living blogs for the same reason I read magazines such as this one, Self, Glamour, etc. I like knowing the perspective of other women. I like getting new ideas for cooking, meals, exercise, tips. I have only found these blogs helpful, informative, and run by women worth respecting. Is it possible that this could spurn disordered behavior – sure. But only if the trigger is already present. Yes, I could not keep up with some of the lifestyles presented on the blogs I read. But I am me, and they are them. You cannot try to follow something verbatim – that is the responsibility you owe yourself as a reader. What really upsets me is – Marie Claire – you are in the same industry as these women. You post articles on how to eat, how to dress, how to have sex, how to wear your hair, how to be. I would never say reading your magazine puts me in danger of losing my own perspective on how to care for myself. I never saw your industry before as anything more than the business of helping women better themselves. To try to tell a woman in that industry she is hurting others is the biggest insult you can throw at her. To the journalist; you obviously have the right to write whatever you want. But to be fair you called these women out as championing self-obsessed unhealthy behavior. Marie Claire constantly features items that are unaffordable for most of it’s audience in today’s economy. Do you think this means you encourage unhealthy spending? Would you not be offended if there was an article written in the NY times about why Marie Claire might be putting you in danger of bankruptcy?”

    Word.

    P.S. That 1st pic of you and Mal is super cute. 🙂

  3. HI Tina,

    I follow your blog daily and don’t usually comment much but, in light of everything that happened today, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your blog and all the hard work I know you put in to it. I look forward to your posts and anyone who reads even just a few of them will see what a wonderful, positive inspiration you really are!!!

    xo

  4. Hi Tina, I want you to know that I hadn’t come across the article until I saw it referenced here. I read it and could not believe that they were talking about you, carrots n cake and katheats. I’ve been a reader of your three blogs since discovering them this summer. and your blogs are nothing like what the article describes. I wanted to leave a comment at the end of the article but I am not inclined to become a member just to do so, which is what is required.
    I suffered with Bulimia through my mid and late twenties and finally, after my fourth lenghty stay in treatment was able to become symptom free. And I’ve been symptom free for over 10 years. I say symptom free because I have to continually check in with myself, reach out for help and surround myself with people and things that quiet the negative backtalk that seems to taunt me. ( I think of it as being similar to a symptom free alcoholic… always aware and vigilant to keep doing what keeps them sober) There are times when I have to excuse myself from conversations that certain people at work have because it is what we called table talk in treatment. Weight, diet food talk that is in one way or another negative or makes me return to that all or nothing negative thinking. Eating disordered thinking. This blog, and the others have in no way ever felt that that to me. They are not judgmental How much I needed that years ago. Never have i felt encourage to be anything other than myself, and semi regular 5K jogger who eats meat and struggles to work raise her boys, be a good wife and feel good about myself. Your blogs are something I use to remind me what intuitive eating is, which is what I continue to strive for. ( after having 2 boys and trying to get back to feeling and eating like myself …without the voice taking over)
    ANd don’t even get my started on the influence of magazines on women’s eating habits and body image. WIth all “love your body!” in red and “how to lose 10 lbs for the party this Saturday!” in blue ON THE SAME COVER! (HOW COULD OPERATION BEAUTIFUL BE SO DISMISSED IN HER ARTICLE? Operation Beautiful is the opposite of the way magazines make you feel. Operation beautiful tells you that you don’t need a glossy magazine for the answers. You are enough and you have your own answers)
    I would be profoundly hurt by that article, so I understand your reactions, but the article is absolutely without merit and without any of the kindness that I see over and over again on your blogs. Keep your chin high. And, thank you.
    P.S. I’m not one to comment. But the absurdity that you all are having to deal with deserved one

  5. Tina,
    I am so sorry this happened to you and all of the other inspirational bloggers. Your blog was the first healthy living blog I discovered in Health magazine about a year ago. Since then, I have been so excited about nutrition, fitness and healthy living. I have learned so many positive things from you and other bloggers, such as how to cook healthy recipes. Keep doing what you’re doing and thanks for sharing your brave and well put response with all of us.

    Lisa

  6. I always enjoy reading your blog and the other 5 blogs. to me, they are all very real. and i love the fact that great healthy recipes are shared and most of all i get to see what life is like on the other side of the world. it is also a constant reminder of everything in balance… (: so heck with Marie Claire.. and thank you for doing a great job with your blog… i will keep reading your adventures, especially since i’m from another part of the world and living a life totally different in culture and thinking (:

  7. I just wrote out a whole bunch of stuff and decided not to post it because I didn’t want to sound mean. All I will say is I think the Marie Claire article has some valid points. I used to be an avid reader of your blog and now stop in only occasionally. I guess I’ve just lost interest. I don’t think it matters much though because look at all the support you’ve gotten.

    Best of luck to you.

  8. I love your blog! I read it everyday and it has taught me to eat well and eat with purpose. Rather than seeing calories as something to avoid, I now embrace the nourishment! Keep going girl–you have a hugely positive impact on tons of people!

  9. It’s ridiculous that this magazine chose to publish an article like this. I believe that you promote a healthy lifestyle and when you take pictures of food, etc. it is not because you are counting every single calorie, etc. You have a passion for blogging and food and loving life and I truly enjoy reading your blog every day. Not once has it made me feel like you are encouraging unhealthy eating habits, etc. Keep up the good work!! I will continue to read your blog on a daily basis and won’t be picking up an issue of Marie Claire anytime soon.

  10. Obviously there are things in everyone’s daily lives they could be doing better. You post every day, multiple times per day, if you pick it all apart you can make it say whatever you want. I felt like the article was reality TV editiing in it’s finest. Ya know? Take a bit of this and a bit of that and turn it inot what you want. Don’t give it a thought. Keep being you!

  11. Hi Tina
    Fact of the matter is you’re encouraging people to be healthy and live balanced lives. I find the comments from a magazine like that a bit rich, just look at the size of models and celebrities they include in their magazines.
    I hope you continued to not be discouraged by this tripe. I won’t be reading MC again.

  12. Think of all the people that will read the article. They are all going to be curious.. and boom… then they come to your blog and read the TRUTH. Screw Marie Claire.. you rock! Don’t stop.. you have helped me and so many others find a balance in life!

  13. I love your blog. It inspires me on a regular basis. I love how you have handled this unfortunate turn of events. You have shown maturity, grace, and just how healthy you truly are…inside and out.

    As I’m sure I’ve said in the past, thank you for sharing your life with us.

  14. unfortunately this is what Marie Claire wanted. They have extremely low subscribers, compared to other big name women magazines. They’re riling up the online community in hopes to gain some kind of publicity… because sponsors dont care about content… just the numbers, the number of subscribers, the number of twitter followers, the number of facebook “likes” the higher the number, the bigger the budget, the more $$$$$. Thats all the magazine editors want… that for this month of October they stay afloat. Until next month, when they have to come up with another scheme to keep their jobs.

    I wouldnt worry too much, no one reads Marie Claire. Trust me 🙂

  15. Tina, CONSIDER THE SOURCE! Be honest and stay true to who you are and yes, you did get “out there” for a short bit, but hell, it’s your blog and you’re allowed to find your way, you came back and that’s really what matters, not what a magazine says looking for readership…

  16. Hi,

    Honestly, I’m really glad this article was written. Do I think the writer stretched the truth and was inaccurate in places? Of course. However, even though you have a disclaimer at the bottom of your blog about not being a dietician, you have a responsibility to young women as soon as you publish your entries. And I’m not so sure that message is always healthy.

    Being recovered from an eating disorder myself, I can vouch for the fact that it is the individual’s responsibility to censor what they read or do not read. I’ve had to ignore your blog because for me, it can be triggering. However, I also have the perspective of a mental health counselor now, and while I obviously cannot diagnose you, I will say the content of your blog can include eating-disordered behavior from time to time. Attaching moral value to food. Taking pictures of everything you eat. Etc, etc.

    I don’t know. It’s just an interesting dynamic, the way hundreds of women praise you every day via comments. I thought the article written by Katie Drummond was par for the course; when your blog is as well-known as yours, it’s going to get some criticism.

  17. Personally, of all the “Big Six” (?!) targetted in this article, your blog is the one I personally believe promotes the “healthiest” approach to life, and you are the woman I find most inspiring. I don’t mean to be awful but I think the article had some interesting points with regards to how people with disordered eating problems *could* find fodder for their problems in these blogs, but I don’t believe yours at all “paves the way for that”. People need to take responsibility for their own danger areas…

    And for me, your blog is a refreshing slice of life of someone I admire 🙂

  18. Your blog is amazing and you are completely correct. The argument was completely one-sided and they failed to even ask valid questions to yours. While yes, it is impossible for every person that reads your blog or even creates a blog have the right motives, the ladies they chose were ladies that obviously had very sucessful blogs and obviously had all the best intentions.

    I love reading your blog and thank you for continuing to share. 🙂

  19. i just sent an email to the editor. i’m furious FOR all you guys. i read your blogs nearly everyday and look forward to it. i think ya’ll are awesome & just keep on doing what you do!

  20. I’m not one for blind support of bloggers I follow. Having said that, I read your blog everyday and it’s an example of a positive responsible blog.

    I support you not because of who you are but because you deserve it. You have my respect and admiration. I can think of no higher compliment than that!

  21. Well-written and well-said, Tina. As one of your readers, I enjoy and am thankful for this source of information, the weekly inspiration and the sense of community you contribute to among bloggers. I see no reason to change up a good thing. Keep it coming. 🙂

  22. I know that you have already received SO many responses about this post, but I just had to say that I agree with everyone! Your blog is a true source of inspiration to me (and many others). To think that a writer at Marie Claire of all places, would even think to call your blog and the other healthy living blogs “dangerous” is seriously laughable. A magazine full of air brushed women and articles about how the Victoria’s Secret models stay skinny is what is unhealthy. I kid you not– on their “Fashionista Blog” they quote a Victoria Secret model in saying that she stays fit by “cleaning my apartment in heels.”

    I think that I’d rather read about a real woman who lives a well rounded, healthy life. Stay strong, you have a lot of support out there!!

  23. Don’t worry, Marie Claire is stirring the pot to upset people, with distorted and baseless information… It probably gives the writer some personal satisfaction for her own short comings. In the end it’s all, “words, words, words.”

  24. Honestly, I think you need to consider the magazine maybe had a little bit of a valid point. Obviously it was blown way out of proportion. I dont read your blog but I have glanced at other ‘healthy living blogs’ that dont seem to healthy to me!

  25. @Andrea: Very interesting! I just read her discontinued blog (ironic?!) and she does seem to have an obsession with uncovering undiagnosed eating disorders! My hunch is that she has some issues herself and is therefore projecting some eating disorder triggers onto everything she sees. It’s pathetic really. Women have the capability to manage themselves and their eating in a variety of ways, so we don’t need everything related to eating to be medicalized, thank you very much.

  26. I don’t read the other blogs mentioned in the article, but I can say that I don’t think you project a bad version of “healthy living.”

    However, it’s too easy for a person to see a healthy living blogger and emulate that person. That’s only a bad thing when the blogger isn’t so healthy.

    You’re not here to be a role model. You’re here to be you.

  27. Hi Tina,
    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and I love it. I’m so sorry that you are going through this.
    Kristin

  28. I have no probloem with the article, its called freedom of speech. I like this blog but it is very food obsessive, as are the other mentioned, which can be harmful to certain people. I can see that.

  29. Stay positive. Sorry you ladies have to go through this. You have a lot of support out there. I love your blog and wouldn’t change a thing about it.

  30. I think you are fabulous and that journalist wrote a horrible piece. It makes me sad that women who are not familiar with the blogger world are going to read it, and turn their noses to a fabulous community. I for one am grateful for the blog community. The “big 6”, which PS is just a silly way of referring to amazing individuals, have changed my life. Blogs have increased my confidence, helped me face and improve my distorted feelings towards my body, and I am happier being my crazy unique self 🙂 Without amazing bloggers like you, Tina, many women would continue on the wretched path of guilt, low self-esteem, and distorted body image that has been created by fashion magazines and the media. That’s just my two cents.
    On that note, I send a virtual hug from me and my Abby girl {Tina}. And my childish self sends a Ross from “Friends” inspired gesture to that journalist.

  31. I have been reading your blog for some time now and love it. You eat healthy meals (and it’s REAL food), you work out even when you don’t feel like it, and most of all you’re HAPPY! That’s a healthy living blog to me!
    Plus, Murphy is so damn cute!
    That article was just trash

  32. Very bizarre and one-sided article. The author seems to have a personal vendetta against healthy living blogs. I see this as very irresponsible and biased journalism.

    I came across the (rather more neutral) take on this article on Jezebel, and posted a response there. I’m reposting it here, because I mean every word I typed.

    Rock on, Tina!

    I read a number of these blogs, have interviewed Caitlin Boyle, and have met a few of these women who comprise the alleged “Big Six.” (I’ve never once heard of them being called this). I’m pretty shocked by the rancor in the Marie Claire article. I know that healthy living blogs were incredibly instrumental in helping me overcome my five-year battle with anorexia — and these “Big Six” bloggers display, in my mind, some of the healthiest, most empowering viewpoints when it comes to leading happy and self-determined lives. These blogs are really NOT about calorie counting; they’re about living in ways that make the writers *themselves* feel happy and healthy.

    I like to cook, I’m an avid runner, and I care about where my food comes from. These blogs speak to me, and they’re not peddling bullshit how-t0-lose-weight-just-to-fit-the-paradigm advice.

    This is just my opinion, but I stand by it.

    Read more: http://jezebel.com/5655194/healthy+living-blogs-maybe-not-so-healthy#ixzz11VAACgy9

  33. I’m usually a silent reader. But this really hit me. The article really got to me.
    I just really don’t understand how they can talk. Their magazines portray women (mostly famous) with unrealistic resources as far as maintaining their bodies. Most of us have to reach to friends and family to support for our healthy living guidelines and motivation.
    You never claim to be a doctor, dietician, or expert. Or obsessed with food. And why I really enjoy your blog is because you are a normal person with realistic goals (you still each chinese food and cookies when you want). And hell, that’s what life is all about. Enjoying everything in moderation.
    They are throwing their opinions around, and trying to turn it into a marketing ploy. It’s not like these companies created your blog; since you got readers, they saw an opportunity to reach people interested in their product. Who wouldn’t?
    They are portraying women and your readers and not having a brain and sucked into the blogging world for advice and fortune. What about women that worship magazines like “how to please your man 101”? or photos of unhealthy models?
    I’d take your read any day.

  34. Just wanted to weigh in on the article discussion. I’ve had an eating disorder/been in recovery for 6 years. I’ve been reading blogs for a few years now, and I’ve learned so many things – from healthy recipes to yoga asanas, to day-to-day life tips. Your blog has been an interesting and helpful mix of food and life. Personally, I believe that we as readers need to take responsibility for ourselves and what we read. If I read a blog and get triggered by it, it’s my issue. I know not to read that blog.

    I totally support your blog, and was appalled by that article.

    ~Erika

  35. I have been reading all six of the aforementioned blogs for well over a year and a half and I’ve never commented. I’m doing so now because I want to show my support to you guys – I thought the article was one-sided and the magazine definitely missed an opportunity to have a great discussion about bloggers and healthy living. Carry on, be strong, and keep up the good work! 🙂

  36. Wow, talk about bashing & turning things around to fit their story eh? First off, let me give my condolences on your eating disorder. I can see from the pictures you’re gaunt & close to falling over from lack of food. You obviously just take pictures of all the food you order & then toss it out.

    I can’t speak for the other bloggers, I’m not sure if I’ve even read the other ladies (I may have) but I do know that there is nothing “wrong” with you, your style of life or your blog. As one man attacked you saying your “eating of sweets isn’t very healthy” & I commented to him that you never claim to be the queen of health, just someone who shares her attempt at a more healthy AND realistic lifestyle. I giggle at your love of sweets (It is SOOOO me) but I also am inspired by your honesty that you don’t always say NO to everything. I also love how you share new things (at least to me) and show REAL life situations. YES you are addicted to working out (is that really a BAD thing?), but some addictions are good for you. You were very real when it came to your injury, very responsible & definitely proved you aren’t truly “addicted” in a bad sense. There’s nothing wrong with getting a “good high” from being active. More of us should do it! When I’m working out I feel wonderful!!! I crave more. It’s not exactly like a drug addiction.

    IF it helps any… Marie Claire isn’t exactly the type of magazine I pick up anyways. I pick up Clean Eating, Healthy Living, etc. and magazines that are for REAL people. Maybe that’s their beef? They really aren’t a magazine that’s too ‘real’ at all!

    Stay the way you are!

  37. Tina, I just want to say thanks for all the great ideas over the (well 6months i’ve been a reader) That article is aweful. my journey to health has been bumpy but its been so helpful to see people that are on the same path and realize its doable and fun.
    And as a fellow bostonian its always fun to hear about new places to try out

  38. thanks for your blog, i enjoy it.

    i’m probably only repeating the above comments, but the article was definitely one-sided. nowhere in the article was the subject of personal responsibility mentioned.

    while the article does bring up some points that are good topics for discussion (and i believe were brought up on rachel’s blog as you mentioned), it did so in a completely judgmental, one-sided way. for example, i do think it is a valid topic of discussion, or consideration, of how responsible a blogger is to her community, how much self-reflection does a blogger engage in to “check herself,” but ultimately, these are only considerations.

    personally, as a former bulimic, i’ve had to stop reading some blogs, not because they in and of themselves were promoting unhealthy behavior, but because MY response to them was unhealthy. as a recovering bulimic, it is MY responsibility to self-evaluate and check-in with myself – while the media and our culture certainly fostered an environment in which my ED could survive and even thrive, no single outside influence “caused” my disorder. my struggle came from within, from my own inability to cope with life: whereas some people latch onto alcohol or drugs or whatever, i used food. I’ll say it again, in a different way: no blog is going to “give” someone an eating disorder. it isn’t something you “catch.” could someone who’s struggling be triggered by a blog that focuses on food and exercise? sure, of course. but on the flip side, someone could be inspired by the same blog (as many of your readers have mentioned above). the bottom line is personal responsibility: marie claire took a sensationalist, “blame-game” approach in this article, which was wrong (and, as most have pointed out, extremely ironic in a magazine full of skinny models and diet plans).

  39. I only just read the Marie Claire article this morning. Its so outrageous its almost funny. If it werent so mean it WOULD be funny.
    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, and though I dont always comment, Im always around, and I have to say, I’ve never seen anything that I consider to be negative, or triggering.
    As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, I understand how everything can be twisted around to fit an unhealthy goal. I used to take advice from my nutritionist as weight loss tips. Doesnt mean that was her intention.
    You cant control what other people do, and if someone wants to see your blog in a damaging light, well thats their business. Its clearly not your intention, and for this article to rip healthy living bloggers apart the way it did is disappointing. I expected more from such a large magazine. I mean, this isnt the Enquirer we’re talking about, but it sure feels like it.

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