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I read a lot of health/fitness/nutrition blogs (shocking I know).  I like to see what other people are finding out about their health, and I like to learn as much as I can.   Plus it’s a good inspiration to see what other bloggers are doing, especially those that have been around for awhile.  I have blogs that I follow regularly, but I also like to search new blogs.  Lately I have noticed a sad trend among some health/fitness blogs: a lack of respect.  That’s the topic I wanted to address today, as it is something that must be said.

So what exactly do I mean when I say that some blogs have a lack of respect?  I am finding that more and more people are taking the “my way or the highway” approach to how they eat or workout.  They believe that their particular lifestyle is THE perfect lifestyle and that if you don’t follow along then you are doing something bad for your health.  How discouraging!  I don’t doubt that whatever lifestyle they have chosen is perfect… for them.  For them to say though that this is how everyone should be, however, is ignorant.  They have no idea how another person’s body works or where a person might be in their health journey.  SOme of these people will even go a step further with their convictions and make others feel that they are horribly damaging their health if they do not eat a particular way or follow a certain exercise program.

When I see this on a blog or in an article or even in a status update on facebook, it really upsets me.  I feel that as a health blogger, I have a responsibility to encourage anyone who reads my blog to pursue better health, in whatever way works for them.  When you alienate people by saying that eating Paleo or Vegan is the ONLY way to eat and doing CrossFit or yoga is the ONLY way to workout, you’re discouraging those who have tried those lifestyles and found that they don’t work for them.  You’re essentially calling them failures, and no one wants to fail.  Many would rather give up and continue with their poor health choices than feel like a failure for not being able to squat 350 lbs or eat only vegetable for every meal.

On the flip side, I am really excited that so many people out there have found something that truly works for them.  I know that it can take a lot of trial and error to find that perfect balance.  I know how exciting it can be to finally feel amazing both with your eating and your exercise routine.  I know that you might want to tell EVERYONE how amazing you feel and how great it is.  I have been there, and I have fallen into the trap as well.  When I first started running, I thought to myself, “This is FANTASTIC!! Everyone should feel like this!”  But I had to slowly realize that not everyone was as excited about running as I was.  I had to learn that not everyone felt running 6 miles in 40 minutes was an accomplishment and that is OK.  I realized that other people felt that lifting really heavy weights, or conquering a new yoga pose, or making it through a spin class was what gave them the feeling of great health.  I learned that while I might thrive on a plant strong diet, other people couldn’t reach their optimal health without meat.  We won’t all describe our ideal health in the same way and that is perfectly fine!  The one thing that is important is that we do what we need to reach our ideal health.  For me, I love running, kettle bell workouts and practicing yoga.  I eat a mostly plant based diet and I am working on not beating myself up for having a treat every once and awhile.  That’s my idea of a healthy lifestyle.  It might not be yours, but I want you to feel encouraged to find what does make you feel the healthiest.

If you do run across a blog or article or even a person who makes you feel that you are a failure because you aren’t doing exactly what they are doing, please don’t feel discouraged with your own journey.  Finding your optimal health is a very personal journey so try to understand that no one will be able to tell you exactly what to do.  We (as in us health bloggers) can give you advice and tell you what has worked for us, but in the end you should try multiple diets and multiple exercise programs to find your perfect balance.  And when you finally do and feel that rush of excitement, remember to channel that feeling into encouragement for others who might be struggling to find their way.  A sense of community and support among the health world is what is going to help us get more and more people at their peak performance, not narrow-mindedness or alienation.  Respect.  Give it out freely and I can bet you will get much more in return!