Taking Responsibility

Only you can determine your self-worth.

Go with me on this one, OK? It’s about to get a little heavy up in here. (We’re taking a slight break from the running talk because, um, I haven’t really been doing much of it.)

More baby yoga. This is the appropriately-named Child’s Pose. Maybe it should be Baby’s Pose, but who am I to question the origins of yoga?

At the kickoff to 2013, I declared my lofty New Year’s Resolutions. I’m going to do a fishtail braid! I will use a crock pot! I will not get hit by a car and dang it, I will get back on my bike before 2014.

Perhaps the loftiest of all the goals was to spend less time online and to revise the list of blogs I read and people I follow on Twitter.

I know that sounds dumb. How is that a tough goal and why is it even something to “strive” for?

I’ll tell you.

I started reading blogs back in 2010. I found some healthy living blogs and eventually discovered more tailored-to-my-liking running blogs. I didn’t always identify myself as a runner, but I certainly never identified myself as a “healthy liver.” I was intrigued, though. I was also in a crappy relationship and I think I need some sort of outlet — some connection to people I might have something in common with.

With a few of my favorite run-bloggers. Smart, speedy, cool girls I admire.

I learned a lot from the blogs I read in those early days (and the ones I still read now, of course). I learned about exercise, I learned about food and I learned about what I did and did not want my own blog to be like once I started it up. In the true spirit of the cliche, by reading a bunch of these blogs, I found motivation and inspiration. And a lot of cute dogs.

Eventually, though, I got a little smarter. My mind expanded a bit more and I crawled out of the healthy living blog bubble I’d found myself caught up in. I diversified what I read, adding some great blogs, both by individuals and ones affiliated with print publications, along the way.

But I never filtered out the early blogs. I kept them in my Google Reader and I kept following them on Twitter, even though what they were posting about didn’t really interest me.

It’s nothing against those bloggers — they’re free to write whatever they want.

I am a huge advocate for reader responsibility. It’s something I preach (in my head, at least) but wasn’t something I practiced. Until now.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized what a negative effect many of these blogs — and some of the people or companies I follow on Twitter or Facebook — were having on me.

For a while, as I mentioned in that New Year’s Eve post, I would innocently “hate read” (ick, such an ugly and nasty term). I’d read a post, shake my head and then move on. No harm done, right? I didn’t leave cruel comments and I didn’t spend more than 2.3 minutes thinking about the post. But at some point, it became more than that. At some point, I got really angry about what people were posting — and I got angry about the comments, too. Posts about extreme exercise or teeny tiny portions of food were followed by dozens of comments about how “inspirational” that workout was, or how “delicious!” that “snack plate” for dinner looked.

My idea of a “snack plate.” Which is really a mixing bowl filled with cookie dough.

I always thought I worked out a normal amount — I’d run in the morning or go to a spin class at night and I took plenty of days off. Once I started reading these blogs, though, “normal” took on a new meaning. “Normal” was a minimum of twice-daily workouts. They were all doing it, so I started doing it, too. I was like the poster child for that saying about how if everyone else decided to jump off a bridge, I’d be right there with them, jumping and thinking carbs were bad.

And it never seemed wrong, because all the while I was having fun. I was losing weight (still working off that post-college stuff, you know?), trying new things and probably burning a ton of calories, though I never kept track. I never felt like I was trying to “keep up” with the internet sensations — I never thought there was anything wrong with what these people were doing, especially since many, eventually myself included, were training for big distance races.

Just out for a run…on a bridge…with a few of my buddies.

Soon, I found myself working out more days than I wasn’t, and usually embarking on my own two-a-days. You know — you’ve been here to read about it. I’d run in the morning, work a full day at the office and then hit up a strength or spin class at the gym at night. I loved it, honestly. And everyone was doing it. We were all bridge jumping in our spandex.

Even once I started training for the Hamptons Marathon, I never lost my desire to do group fitness classes. I kept “doing it all,” because it was fun.

I will never attempt to diagnose someone I don’t know — or even someone I do know — with an eating or exercise-related disorder. In the past I’ve had people I’ve never met tell me I was over-exercising or under-eating (uh, really?). Kind of crazy, right, since I don’t post my daily workout regimens or what I eat? But we all judge a little bit. I hate when people do it to me, of course, but I was doing it to other people based simply on what they were writing online. I can’t decide if someone is working out too much or eating too little. But I can decide how to react to it, and I can decide whether or not to have that present in my life.

One of my great lessons of 2012, right? “You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you react to it.”

And I feel like I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum now.

So this week, after reading a post about how brownies are bad, I knew I needed to make a change. Other people can write about whatever they want and plenty of people will be there to relate to it. That’s the beautiful thing about the internet — you can usually find at least one person to agree with you, even if so many others think you’re nuts.

Brownies are bad? DISAGREE. Strongly disagree. (Though the more people there are thinking brownies aren’t ideal, the more chocolate gooey-ness there is for Ali!)

I’m so happy to be able to cross “Drastically revise my Google Reader and Twitter lists” off my New Year’s Resolutions list. It feels good.

The nutritionists are gone from Twitter. They offer plenty of great advice, but they also make me feel badly when they’re preaching about green juice and I’m kicking my feet up with a bowl of ice cream (with crumbled Oreos on top, obviously) and a glass (or four) of wine. Major buzzkill, man.

I had to get rid of many “healthy living blogs,” too. Not because the writers are bad people — they’re not. They’re lovely young women. But their posts weren’t making me feel good about myself and some of them had simply changed direction or had babies, and that’s not something I’m interested in (though, hooray and congratulations, new moms!). Some of them make me feel like I’m overeating, under-exercising and practically binge eating when I’m not satisfied with a square of dark chocolate for dessert. I used to read a lot of these blogs hoping for meal ideas, but with your help (thank you again, sweet people) I’ve rediscovered some great food blogs and recipe sites, so I’ll be set there for a while.

More cookie photos…because honestly, I don’t know how else to illustrate this very wordy post.

I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other bloggers and internet folks, many of whom I’ve never met in real life. It’s hard not to sometimes, though. I think, for me at least, it takes a lot of discipline to be able to learn what your own body can and cannot handle with regards to meals and workouts, among other things. What works so successfully for one person and yields PR after PR may not work at all for me. I remind myself of that often. Our bodies are all different — and so are our lives.

Although I’ve kept most of the running blogs in my rotation, I had to scrap a few or at least resolve to only read them sparingly. There’s nothing wrong with a little “Mark All As Read” every now and then.

I was reading a lot of stuff from people who are amazingly talented runners, but they don’t work fulltime. I would wonder why they were improving so much while I wasn’t. But then I’d remember my job: My job that prevents me from having ample recovery time and doesn’t allow me to train the way I’d like. But it’s my job that I love, and I don’t think my hobby jogging is reason to quit it.

Those are my two cute coworkers on the left. They make coming to the office every day way too much fun. And I love them. Thanks for the photo, Erica!

I thought I was good at not getting caught up in the oft-addressed comparison trap. But maybe I’m not. So for me, the answer is going cold turkey. Cutting off the blogs and media outlets that are serving me ill more than well.

It’s not my place to say that I think someone is crazy for chasing a 20-mile run with a spin class and hot yoga (seen it). But it is my responsibility to say to myself that following that person makes me feel like shit. What she’s doing may be detrimental to her health or it may be great for it. I don’t know. Just because we read about someone’s daily life on the internet does not mean we actually know them (write that down). But I do know that witnessing certain behaviors isn’t good for me. I can’t blame that girl for posting about her activities — I do the same thing. I can blame myself, though, if I keep reading and letting myself be negatively affected. Blogger responsibility is an important topic, but so is reader responsibility.

The very best thing about blogging is the amazing people you meet. Like these three chicks.

Conversely, I would hate to think that people are here reading this blog and being negatively affected by it. I love you, but please, step away if this blog is bad for you. If the way I’m living my life isn’t positively helping the way you live yours, there’s no need to stick around. I’ll miss you, but take care of yourself.

As I wrote above: Only you can determine your self-worth. Don’t let anyone else make you feel badly about yourself or like you’re not good enough. You’re being the best you that you can be today, so just keep doing that. People always say, “No one is better at being you than you are,” and it’s cheesy, but hey, I love cheese. Emotional cheese, gouda cheese, it’s all good cheese.


So I’ll be me and you be you and everyone is happy, yeah?

To wrap this up, I want to highlight a few bloggers and Tweeters I’ve really been enjoying lately. These people make me feel awesome, and for that I’m so grateful. So I’d like to spread the love…

Fantastic Tweeters:

HAHAHA. You know the commercial she’s talking about, right? “I’m right here…AND I ALWAYS WILL BE.” Cue murder music and diamond ring…
  • @enthusiasticrun: Jocelyn is constantly sharing great links, news stories and other worthy bits of information.
  • @emmarosenblum: Emma Rosenblum is a hilarious writer and she gets bonus points for always being funny in 140 characters or fewer.
  • @lizheisler: Liz Heisler is so funny. I especially recommend following her when she’s in the midst of a “Dawson’s Creek”-watching marathon. That’s when she tends to peak.
  • @sarawinsor: So funny. So clever. So many wicked funny photos of her cracked-out dog.
  • @runbeyonddreams: Deanna is a mega-inspiring runner. She’s fast yet humble. Basically my dream woman, except that she recently got engaged. Missed my shot, dang it.

Blogs I’m Digging:

I so wish I could take credit for this…but it’s all Rate Your Burn. Those clever bitches.
  • Health on the Run: Lauren is one of my favorite people in this world. She makes me want to be a better person, a better writer and a better runner. Every time she posts, I can’t even bring myself to comment because she already wrote everything so poignantly. What more is there to say? Nothing. (Here’s a recent example of a post I really loved.)
  • Twenty-Six and Then Some: Last year, Page trained her butt off for an Ironman — and right before the big day, she injured her ankle and couldn’t compete. It broke my heart, but she’s recovered and back at it. I can’t wait for Page to crush an Ironman in 2013 so I can creepy-cheer from afar.
  • Rate Your Burn: This site is filled with reviews of NYC (and other area, but the New York ones obviously pertain to me most) fitness classes, studios and instructors. I’m obsessed. I never take a class now without scouring the reviews. Also, this post made me laugh uncontrollably at my desk one day at work.
  • Lindsay Runs: Again, I’m biased because Lindsay is a good friend of mine. She doesn’t post as often as I’d like, but Lindsay is a crazy-fast runner with an insanely wise head on her shoulders. When something hurts, Lindsay rests. When something looks delicious, Lindsay eats it. I love that she’s a completely normal 20-whatever-year-old and that even though she’s gunning for a sub-3:00 marathon, I can still relate to her.
  • Greatist: This site is a wonderful resource for all things health, wellness and fitness. My favorite posts are the recipe ones (this one is all about crock pot cooking!) and the ones with charts and visual things.
  • The Hungry Runner Girl: I don’t know anyone who doesn’t read Janae’s blog. It used to be cute, and then Janae went and had a spiky-haired little baby and things got even better. She’s just as sweet-as-chocolate-cupcakes in real life and everything she writes about Brooke makes me laugh. Plus, um, her husband is hot. Sorry…but true.
  • RoseRunner: RR isn’t afraid to write whatever she wants and I respect that — especially since I don’t always agree with her. Sometimes I’m like, “High five girl, totally on board,” and other times I’m like, “Whoa, I can’t believe she went there…” Whether or not I agree with her, RR’s smart and snappy posts always give me something to think about.
  • LV Runs NYC: Lora is a runner in NYC and she is dead-set on nabbing a BQ at this year’s Eugene Marathon. I’m excited to be following her [what seems to be very level-headed and gutsy] training in pursuit. Get it, Lora!

That’s it. Take good care.



114 Responses

  1. Ali, wonderful post. I’ve been culling my Google Reader on a regular basis (I had hundreds) and you’re right, sometimes, it’s just better to leave a blog. We have enough in our lives to not have to feel shitty after reading a blog.

    Go you!

  2. I’m a little late to the party, but I have to say how much I love this post. I have often caught myself comparing my workouts to others – feeling really proud after finishing 12 miles before work, only to read about someone else’s amazeballs 24 miler and then feeling like crap because of it. I don’t want to take away from anyone else’s accomplishments because hey – there are some amazing runners out there. But, if you don’t have a job (or kids, for that matter), it’s really hard for me to relate to you. And it’s even harder for me to not start comparing myself to you. So basically, that was my not-so-succinct way of saying this post is awesome and I love that you had the guts to put it out there.

  3. Thanks for writing this post! Practically everything you wrote is what I have felt while reading some of the nutrition/fitness blogs. I still keep up with a good amount of these blogs but have definitely deleted ones that I felt were tooting their horn just a tad too much. I also get the thing about the bloggers with babies. I have a 12-year old and and so passed that stage, so I am just as bored reading those blogs too. While I think substituting sugar for beets is great for making brownies…more power to those who prefer that, I still love brownies the traditional way. As long as I make up for it in exercise, I’m good to go!

  4. This is such a fantastic post. I get caught up in the comparison game as well..sometimes I forget that in addition to my hobbies I’m working towards a career, too!

    I love your positive, down to Earth, spirit!

  5. what’s sad is that so many of us can relate to this post! seriously now. why should i give two shits if i’m eating brownies and not working out twice (or even once) a day and other people are so damn good about being “healthy?” it’s all very pathetic, and i can’t say i’m not a victim too. oh, females. we are ridiculous. thanks for being so honest about something that’s not so easy to discuss. wine and cheese foreverrrr.

  6. I absolutely LOVE this. I read a lot of blogs, but I only follow the ones that I really connect with, the ones who write about eating like a normal person (not a bird), who enjoy a glass of wine (or four). I always appreciate a real voice, like yours. This is life, we don’t have to be perfect, and who decided this crazy standard of perfection anyway. Thanks for what you do. 🙂 – Lea

  7. This is a really great post. I struggle with “hate” reading some blogs and have been trying to break myself of the habit. It’s almost like trashy TV you know it’s of no benefit for you but you can’t stop watching. You’ve inspired me to go cold turkey so thank you and cross your fingers I can do it. Thanks again for such an honest post!

  8. Thanks for this post. As someone who frequently falls victim to the comparison trap, I’ve made the same realization about myself. Many of the blogs I read (and one in particular) are just not making me a happier person. I think I started making this realization after the 120th blog post I saw about protein pancakes. What ever happened to eating real pancakes? Since when is greek yogurt a “splurge” or a dessert? Although these blogs haven’t changed the way I eat, they definitely have negatively influenced my self-esteem. Like Lauren, I am trying to be kinder to myself and reading certain HLBs is not helping me achieve this goal. I appreciate your post and your insight. Thank you for being a positive role model for your readers.

  9. Thank you for writing this. I have been following your blog for quite some time, but I’ve never commented. This one spoke to me though. There is a very fine line between “healthy living” and women who obsess, self-loathe and do their bodies (and minds!) more harm than good. You are very wise to point out that the only person I can ever really be responsible for is me. I often read posts by bloggers who claim to have recovered from an eating disorder, but still post every meal and workout. That is concerning on so many levels, but I now realize that the best thing I can do, as a woman struggling with an eating disorder, is stop reading. And keep reading wonderful, empowering blogs like yours!

  10. Great post! It’s been a while since I’ve commented – but I’ve been keeping up with you :-). Totally relate to all-of-the-above. I went through my own “two a day” phase…and, like you, I enjoyed it (realizing it was slightly crazy). While sometimes I miss it, I feel like my 45 minute workouts are much more reasonable, long-term and still do the job. I haven’t blogged in a while (need to come back!), but I hope mine was one you could relate to (though my food choices were quite odd sometimes) :-). And I’m a HUGE fan of Lindsay Runs…miss my former coworker. Glad all is well!

  11. Best. Post. I. Have. Read. in a very long time!
    In the past month or so I also realized I was spending way too much time reading blogs that don’t align with my interest all that much.
    I have been re-vamping my google reader and love it!
    Real life is the best anyways 🙂

  12. Just so you know… I had a moment of PANIC today. I didn’t get a newsfeed from you and it’s Thankful Thursday. I entered aliontherun.com and it wasn’t you. it was a dead domain and my heart nearly stopped. I thought you were gone and I was so sad. Glad you didn’t go anywhere. 🙂

  13. Just got back from a relaxing vacation where I was analyzing my life (haha) and was catching up on my blogs and totally, completely cannot agree more with this post. I, too, was “hate-reading” some blogs and it’s just not emotionally healthy for anyone…and it’s not getting me anywhere besides disliking myself a little more every day. One of my 2013 resolutions is to be nicer to myself, and stopping to read blogs that don’t make me feel good about being me was the first to-do. You rock, as usual!

  14. THANK YOU!!!! I am so glad you wrote this post. I initially started reading running & other fitness blogs for inspiration, and then I finally realized that these wormen – who are accomplished there is no doubt – made me feel like poo because I wasn’t running 10 miles a day or eating perfectly. I felt so incredibly inadequate. Also, some of these girls present this perfect image, pefect wedding, perfect workout routines, but then every so often try write a post about how their life sucks..what??? Anyway, thanks again for writing this.

  15. Sometimes I feel like I am reading my own brain when I read your posts. I did the same thing with my blog reading this year because I constantly felt like I ate like a linebacker compared to everyone I was reading about. It feels so good to stick to my faves (YOU) and how dare someone say something like that about Brownies. You never make me feel bad about myself but you do inspire me with all that you do and what you have been through and I love you for that!
    BAHAHA I love the part about BILLY!

  16. BRAVO Ali! I agree with everything you said here. There are so many blogs that make me just roll my eyes. I think as bloggers we need to realize that trying to be someone else isn’t honest and is so pointless. I love your blog because you’re real, honest, and don’t create a fake persona for the blog’s sake.

  17. I have been reading a lot of blogs for years now, but this is the first time I have ever felt moved enough to comment!
    Yours has been one of my favorites for a while now , not just because we share the same name and both live in NYC 😉 , but because you are a talented and hilarious writer whose posts never fail to bring a smile to my face.
    Thank you soooo much for writing this post! It clearly means a lot to all the readers who commented, and most likely those that don’t too.
    As someone who is finally recovering from an eating disorder after seven long years, it is inspiring to know that there are women like you out there, especially in a place like NYC.
    And I think I might just go have a brownie (or two or three)!

  18. This was too funny bc i agree (as usual) but also, when you first premiered your handsome friend, I though he looked a lot like Janae’s husband Billy 🙂

  19. True story: Back in 2008-2010, I used to have a bunch of blogs in my google reader and pride myself on reading them as soon as they were published. Bonus points if I was one of the first to comment! But somewhere along the way…things got busy, some blogs started to irritate me (i.e. any blog that made me feel bad for eating food that wasn’t vegan, gluten-free, organic, low-calories, whatever). So I deleted my google reader and I haven’t been back since. I still read blogs from time to time (like this one!). But it’s more of a desire to see what my internet friends are up to vs. ideas for an oatmeal breakfast. Anyway, I like you. I like your blog. And I like brownies. A whole lot. <3

  20. Ali – boy do I feel ya on this entire post!! The self-comparison trap is a scary, weird world that is full of nothing but negative energy. I admit I’ve been on a “I haven’t read blogs is a solid month” kick and I hate missing news, but it’s nice to be in your own world, and your own world only sometimes. And yes, “Mark all as read” is a frequent button I push.

    But kudos to you! Expunge the blogs that don’t make you feel great — your time is too precious anyways.

    However, I have to admit that I AM upset with you: GET YOUR ASS TO CALIFORNIA ALREADY. Sheesh.

  21. I really like your post and admire your ability to stop reading blogs that make you feel bad about yourself. I can’t seem to stop but I’m working on it! I’m unemployed and injured so that might have something to do with my constant ‘hate-reading’ which is SUCH a nasty habit. Too much time is hard for me to handle. But reading blogs that make me feel bad about myself certainly makes me feel waaaay worse on top of the unemployment/injury stuff. Thank you for the reminder!

  22. Love this post!! I culled a lot of blogs where babies are the main feature recently, still like the women who write them but not quite as interested in ‘insert baby name’ did this morning… I am not at that stage. and thanks for sharing some blogs to add to my list now a few spots have opened up! I also feel happy if I get to the gym once in a day, how do people have time for 2 a day and still have a social life?

  23. I ate a brownie right when I got home yesterday — loaded with nuts and all — and then ran 4 miles. I approve of the brownie. So did the run.

    Thank you for not giving my blog the axe, and for naming it with such good company! I’m laughing that this will send some readers my way who are searching for a dose of “oh no she did NOT go there…”

  24. Thanks for this post! I’m new to the blog world and a runner. It’s so hard to navigate through it all because there is such a variety of posts out there. And some blogs that have a great decription that have me saying “Right On!” turn out to be duds after about 3 posts. I will be a selective reader and hopefully eventually a responsible blogger.

  25. I love this and I love that you are not afraid to eat! I realized after reading this that all my favorite bloggers love their desserts just like me (that’s a lot of love in one sentence 🙂 And thanks for the blog recommendations!

  26. And this is why you rock. I love the honesty and agree with a lot of what you said. I personally love food, like really love it (mmmm…cheese), but I’ve had moments where I’m like, holy crap, my calorie intake (if I bothered to count it) seems ridiculously high compared to some of these bloggers. Thanks for letting me know its not just me second guessing myself.
    Don’t fear all the HLB’s though. Even though we drink some weird sh!t, we’re not all about calorie restriction and doing two-a-days. I didn’t even know what the latter was until you explained it, which from the sounds of it, is a good thing. I’ll stick to my intense, but every other day-ish workouts.

  27. I’ve left my green monster smoothies (Winter only….muahhhh) and I’m distraught with my low calorie diet…my RD approves! She says add calories and love the way you work out! I’ve totally unfollowed ridiculous “nutritionists” etc. I only follow REAL people with REAL tips/recipes. Kudos Ali, this takes guts, gusto, and chutzpah!

  28. I don’t really know you, but I was recently looking for new fun blogs and someone recommended yours. And, I just wanted to say that I went through this exact same thing. I started to think something must be wrong with me — not at first, not consciously, but slowly. Just because whatever put out there on the internet didn’t mesh with my real life. So, you’re right, it was my responsibility to read what I want to read and to put back out there what I would want to see. You’re doing a good job of that 😉

  29. I do a spring clean of my Blogger and Twitter every few months but then again, I don’t religiously read all the posts on the blogs I follow. I love Rose Runner! Gives me a new perspective on some things.

  30. Great post! As a fairly new reader to running/healthy living blogs, I’ve learned it’s important to read every blog with a ‘grain of salt’– no blogger, no matter how open and honest (even you ;)), shares their entire life online!

  31. What a great post! I made a reso this year to stop eating “junk” food for one week a month in an attempt to be healthier. Didn’t work out at all mid way through my Jan week so I decided to scrap the reso. Blogged about my decision to quit it as well, professing that my love my tiramisu was too strong. 🙂

    I enjoy eating brownies and desserts too much to limit myself if not wholly necessary! In fact, planning to make The Londoner’s slutty brownies this weekend for my Long Run recovery snack. 🙂

  32. Thanks you for writing this. I often feel that a lot of what bloggers write is very sugar coated and this post felt so honest. You have given me the push to further remove blogs from my reader that I don’t like.

  33. I’m SO happy I’m not the only one who can’t read certain blogs or Twitters because they make me feel absolutely horrible about myself. I did the ED thing and I don’t feel it necessary to relive it everyday but thats how i feel some bloggers are getting now. Yes, I will have a full glass of wine a few nights a week, thankyouverymuch =)

    PS – 16 Handles is coming to Boston. Coolidge Corner to be exact. Thought you’d like to know!

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  34. It’s like you take all the thoughts in my head that have been circling for the past month and write them out into something so much more coherent and understandable than I’ve been able to comprehend myself. I nodded my head practically the entire time while reading this. There is something so freeing about unfollowing and deleting isn’t there? Who knew…we had the power all along 🙂

    Also, LOL about Janae’s husband. But seriously.

  35. I love everything about this post. I was recently telling my husband that as a SAHM, reading other mom blogs makes me feel like a failure because they portray every little thing as amazing and some days I wish that I had a freedom to just do one thing or one run uninterrupted, it doesn’t make me love my son any less, though they sure make me feel like it. I love your honesty and it makes me realize I do the same thing & I need to clean up my reader too.

  36. I feel this way sometimes not just about blogs, but about all social media. My life isn’t exactly where I want it to be right now, and it’s so easy to feel bad about myself when I compare my real life to everyone’s “highlight reel” on FB/Twitter/blogs/etc. I definitely need to spend less time on social media, for my own mental health.

    Also, I think there is something to be said for a diversity of friends, online and off. If you only hang out with people exactly like you, you start normalizing weird behaviors (overexercising, weird eating habits, privilege, etc). There is a lot of benefit to befriending people with different life experiences, and getting out of your little bubble.

  37. I’ve been ridding (is that a word? it sounds right?) my inbox of emails from places I don’t shop or eat and unfollowing the types of things/people you mentioned. The chocolate square for desert type pics KILL me. Where are the pics of real life where people eat half pints of ice cream after a meal of frozen pizza (whilst watching Dawon’s Creek, of course)? Perhaps I should start documenting my meals… I will appeal to the masses! I shall dust off the ole blog and write about how to run a half marathon (or even a marathon!!) without proper training and nutrition. I’m an expert!

    And thanks for the shout out. I feel famous!

  38. Awesome post! I only just got into reading blogs but I can still see what you are saying. I’ve found myself comparing myself way too much and it makes me feel beyond crummy. I keep thinking well these people are everyday people, blogging’s not their job. But everyone’s situation is different and I need to remind myself that regardless of their life and accomplishments, no one can do me like me.

  39. Great post. It is always good to clear away the clutter and negative thoughts so purging your social media feeds is a good idea. I think I might need to get rid of some blogs that aren’t my favorite lately too! Thanks for keeping it real.

  40. I agree- I immediately lose interest / can’t relate when people write things like “Enjoy a small square of dark chocolate as a naughty treat” and seriously – enough with kale.

  41. LOVE THIS POST. One of my goals for this year is also to spend less time online (and not constantly be checking things on my phone). I dropped all my hate-reads too, and I feel much better getting rid of some of that negativity in my life. It’s just pointless and a lot of those blogs just make me sad. A brownie-less life is not something I’m interested in. MORE BROWNIES FOR US!

  42. I really enjoyed this post. It reminded me about perspective and encouraged me to only read what motivates and keeps me healthy and strong. Ali – you’re awesome! Thank you.

  43. I love you! Thank you for this amazing post. You inspired me to do a little Google Reader cleaning out myself. I have a feeling this will be good for my mental state and my productivity at work!

  44. This was SO well written. I can totally relate to every.little.thing you said. I have definitely felt bad about myself because of other blogs before and I find myself more and more deleting blogs that no longer relate to me (i have 3 dogs, not babies). And brownies being bad for you?! WHAAAA?!

  45. Great post. I agree completely. I have been guilty of thinking I am a slacker because other bloggers do so much. It took a long time (and a house) before I cut myself slack and realized that I can only be me. I can’t run 10 miles on a Tuesday morning and then make vegan protein muffins. But I can work all day, be a great mom and sometimes even get in a good run. I think that’s why it is so great that the blogger community has grown. There really is something for everyone. Thank you for writing this.

  46. You know, I think this is one of the things I’ve loved lately about your blog. I’ve always loved your running exploits but there was a time I was worried about how much exercise you were doing. I LOVE your point that just because we read someone’s blog we don’t know them – but we always think we do. I know I don’t know you and I never judged but I worried a little. And I’ve loved how recently, you seem to have found balance again and you seem so much happier for it!

    ! I gave up reading GOMI this year. I read it every now and again, felt dirty and soiled but always got lured back. I’ve not been on that site this year and I feel SO much better for it!! People can say what they like online, I can choose not to read it.

  47. Thanks for this Ali. I guess I am internet-naive and had never head the term “hate-reading” before your 2013 resolution post, but I realized I was doing exactly that on occasion. And I definitely don’t need to be doing that. Thanks for revisiting and expanding on such a great topic. I will say, I usually leave a comment or send an e-mail to a blogger just once before I stop reading their blog if they write things that are factually untrue or if they do a WIAW where they purport to list everything they eat and end up under 1000 calories for the day (which happens more than I could ever have believed) because I believe in speaking up when someone is publicly supporting dangerous habits. But I’m keeping it to one comment/e-mail and then taking myself out of the situation for my own good.

  48. I really enjoyed this post and found myself shaking my head throughout it. I can relate as both the overexerciser (been there – got me through a sad breakup) and as the one who is trying my darndest to do what is right for me and not let others opinions get in the way. Unfortunately for me, those opinions come from a loved one and people at my local gym. Thank you for the post and for letting me know I’m not alone!

  49. Best post ever! The only way I would be full or satisfied with a square of chocolate is if I used it to cleanse my palate after eating a bag of white powdered donuts.
    Eat on sista!

  50. You make great points and I love cheese brownies and cookies so awesome. I also love oreos and doritos – I no longer buy them because I finish them too quickly.

    I am newish to the blog world and appreciate the insight. I will keep this all in mind as I continue to explore blogs.

  51. Like so many others said, this post is such a great example of why I love your blog!
    I definitely need to clean out my reader too so I am so glad you listed some blogs on here that you love!

  52. Love this! I started reading blogs a little over a year ago to help with adding healthy recipes & habits. While I did find a lot I found more GUILT GUILT GUILT! OVEREXERCISE IS THE ONLY WAY! FOOD BAD! SUNTANNING GOOD! (this is what had me most confused as skin cancer isn’t healthy last time I checked). Anyways I love your blog. I loved your post about the knife skills class you took and I am hoping to take one this spring and your nephew is sooo cute! It makes me want to tell my sister to hurry up and push out MY new nephew because I cannot wait to meet him!

  53. This post is why I love your blog. You are right on. When I catch myself hate reading blogs, I try to weed them out on the spot, but I still have a few I’m lingering on because I’m just addicted, I guess! Time to get the courage to unsubscribe.

  54. This is one of the best things I’ve ever read. I saw a link to this post via Twitter today and am so glad that I clicked and read in it’s entirety. I feel like a similar thing happened to me, and the worst part I got down on was that I couldn’t keep up with “doing it all” and doing my job and going to school full time not thinking about how many of these bloggers didn’t work full time jobs or had a more flexible schedule.

    I’ve added a new resolution for me to do a big social media cleanup of what I look at and follow because there are some things out there I honestly don’t care to read anymore.

    You rock–keep on eating cookies 🙂

  55. Thank you so much for this. I think as women, we all have a tendency to get down on ourselves. We need more people like you to model ourselves after.

    Also, have you seen recipes for black bean brownies? I get so mad every time I see one. Like I get it, you want to be healthy but come on, leave the brownies out of it.

  56. Bravo! I love this post! I can’t tell you how much I feel the same way. I have recently “cleaned house” on blogs and who I follow on Twitter. The negativity I was feeling was ridiculous. Glad I am not the only kne who has felt the same way. Thanks for posting!

  57. I would agree–>a lot of it comes down to not comparing yourself. Because believe it or not I have read some of your blog posts way back with your workouts and think wow maybe I should be working out more/eating this not that, when that is not your intention.

  58. Great post, I am a big fan many of them as well! I also just cleared out my reader and twitter follow list of people that I like to converse with and say things that are meaningful to my life (and make me laugh, and post pictures of puppies, obviously).

  59. I love you I love you I looooove you. (buddy the elf.) I’ve never been able to talk intelligently about Reader Responsibility. Nor have I always applied it in my life, though I have felt the negative affects. Time for a clean out!

  60. Awesome post. I think what’s especially harmful is the “hate” sites that crop up on the internet about running bloggers/mommy bloggers, etc.

    If you don’t like a blogger, take them off your feed. That’s it.

  61. Thanks for the blog/twitter recommendations! I recently did a similar purge – way WAY overdue. I found myself falling into the very same traps and eventually feeling like “Who am I living my life for, internet strangers?”. Gotta do what’s best for #1.

  62. I couldn’t possibly post what I eat every day because then it would become clear that I have the diet of a 6 year old. And while I run, and have even considered hot yoga after a 20 mile run, I also take plenty of naps afterward, and definitely think that a run should be chased with a nutella bagel, or three. I had to stop reading healthy living blogs blogs too, and actually, it was the non-working people’s blogs that freaked me out more, because I was stressed about the time element. I realized I was trying to compare myself to a completely different lifestyle, and it wasn’t helpful to me, and if I met that person on the street, would we even have anything in common? Thanks for writing this – amazing post.

  63. You have said everything that has been building up inside me for SO long. I read that same blog (I think) and was just SO turned off. Why work so hard when you can’t enjoy the benefits of it?
    I really love this post, Ali.
    I am a SAHM to two little boys (2 and 4 mo) and sometimes WISH I had a full time job so that I can run when/however far I want and not have to always be on the go with the two of them. I guess the grass is always greener =)
    Thanks for your honesty.

  64. Such a great post, as always! Thanks for the suggestions of things to read and people to follow at the end. I love Rate Your Burn too!! It makes me not feel like a newbie in a different class.. like I have the inside track. Win!

  65. I totally agree with this posts, and now that you mention it, I HAVE known a few blogs that have made me feel guilty about not training hard or long enough. I’m a SAHM and thankfully get the time I need to workout however long, hard I like, but I am so NOT running sub seven minute miles or doing a million classes.

    I have been weeding out my feeder also, and sometimes just skip over posts that don’t interest me at all. So thank you for this post!

  66. I don’t have much to say, other than this post really resonates. I have been trying to clear out my reader for the very same reason. I don’t need to read anything that makes me doubt or feel badly about my training.

  67. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! As a new reader/blogger I am constantly trying to weed out / add in so that way what I read (and what I write…I hope!) is ultimately beneficial to ME in the end. Do I want to be stronger and healthier? Sure. Do I also know that I will NEVER be fast enough to Boston Qualify and I will NEVER drink a green juice instead of a meal? Yes. Love everything about that post (and thanks for the recos!)

  68. This is (IMO) your best post to date. Really hit home. You (and your blog) are my favorite! Thanks for keeping it so real with us.

  69. I started reading several running blogs last summer for inspiration when I started running. Honestly yours is the only running blog I’ve stuck with. You are so real and accessible (a compliment!) Your story is inspirational and you’re funny to boot. (Bonus that I won a super cute I Heart Sweat t-shirt from you at Christmas that I have been wearing every weekend.

    Thanks for being real.

  70. Rate Your Burn is one of my favorite sites! Their reviews are hilarious.
    I actually had a discussion with my husband last week that sounded a lot like this post. I started reading a ton of running and “healthy living” blogs when I started running and they were great at first, reinforcing the joy I found in exercise. Soon, they became less about joy and more about me beating myself up. In my head, my improvements in running weren’t anything to be proud of anymore. So what if I ran 6 miles for the first time ever, so and so ran 10 and then did back to back classes at Flywheel and then went to Bikram before noon. And god forbid I eat a bagel and don’t scoop it out. Thinking this way wasn’t healthy for me and I had to step away from the blogs that triggered those feelings of inadequacy. I’m so much better off for doing that.

  71. I had the same realization awhile back. I’m a working mom ( dietitian – don’t hate me!) and I do the best I can. Period. I stopped blogging a few years ago because really who wants to read about an average runner/dietitian from Ohio?! Trying to keep up with the healthy living community just wasn’t good for me. So now I only read blogs that I find interesting and non-threatening. No more self loathing after reading blogs! Keep up the good work!

  72. “I was reading a lot of stuff from people who are amazingly talented runners, but they don’t work fulltime. I would wonder why they were improving so much while I wasn’t. But then I’d remember my job: My job that prevents me from having ample recovery time and doesn’t allow me to train the way I’d like. But it’s my job that I love, and I don’t think my hobby jogging is reason to quit it.”


  73. I want to read more running blogs and I guess I am the only person you know who does not read Janae’s. Perhaps I’ll start.now. I too fall into the trap of reading old blogs out of habit even though they bore me and cause eye-rolling and rage. Also, I hope I am not one of your hate-reads!

  74. Great, great post. I think I read the same blog post about the brownies. I’m still upset about it. Maybe I need to do some deleting of my own!

  75. This post was so amazing. I loved it. I do way too much hate reading (with fashion blogs too!) and it’s toxic. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!

  76. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now, but I don’t believe I’ve ever commented. This post really hit home with me, so I feel obligated to tell you thank you. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others and feel badly about yourself and it’s just silly. I do it all the time though. Thanks for the reality check. Great post.

  77. This post totally hit home with me. I had a blog for about a year back in the stone ages (circa 2009) and this post explains why I quit. I read healthy living blogs for months and it was great at first but then I began to feel inadequate. I felt like I wasn’t eating enough kale, I wasn’t running enough marathons, and basically I just I wasn’t being healthy enough (if that is even possible). Now, that I am back, I ignore the blogs that make me feel that way aka the brownie haters and focus on the ones (like this one!) that are awesome. 🙂

  78. Awesome post! You totally won me over with YES TO ALL THE CHEESE. Seriously, though, I also just cleared out my Google reader. Constantly feeling like I just don’t measure up because I’m not taking a spin class every day at 6 am or I don’t run a 7 minute mile was doing me more harm than good. Cheers to you!

  79. Thank you for writing this, Ali. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve fallen into the “hate read” (such an awful phrase, and yet so true) and comparison traps myself. I know I’m a much happier person when I do what works for me, and not what works for anyone else. And yes, sometimes that means a plate of brownies and a glass of wine are an acceptable dinner.

  80. LOVE this post. DO NOT LOVE whoever is talking shit about brownies. Hello. Have you TASTED a brownie? What’s not to love?!?!? And none of those “black-bean-but-I-swear-it-tastes-like-the-real-thing-brownies”.

    Anyway- love the honesty. SO, SO, SO true. Glad you’re making choices to improve your quality of life— or at the very least your quality of free-time-blog-reading. Good for you!

  81. Not all nutritionists will tell you to drink green smoothies all day every day and that cookies or brownies are bad. Just the ones who don’t really know what they’re talking about or have food/eating problems of their own 🙂

  82. I love this. I’ve fallen in to the “this is what other people are doing so I should too” trap in the past and it lead me down a dangerous road to an eating disorder. Thankfully I kicked that one’s butt. It’s so important to focus on who you are and not get trapped in who you think you should be or feel you need to be. Only you know what’s right for you.

  83. Thanks for sharing this – I’ve been feeling the same way recently… And then I realized that I should feel awesome about my 10 mile run and delicious post-run nachos and beers, not guilty that I didn’t run more miles and add in some extra workout, before eating a square of chocolate and an apple as a “treat.” I may have to follow suit and refresh my Twitter & Reader.

  84. Great post Ali!! I started blogging over the summer and originally tried out my own blog as a “healthy living” type of blog- falling into the comparison trap, I would post about the food I ate.. I QUICKY realized I hated that and it was boring to me and that usually I didn’t eat that well so I would feel guilty about that bag of potato chips I just ate. I like to eat- and I like to run I sometimes throw in different types of exercise that I enjoy, but for the most part I also find myself following running type blogs instead because its more interesting to me. I’m also excited to check out some of your recommendations so thanks!

  85. I will agree with the comments re: FB. I hide people. And I thought we could be friends until the cheese comment. I am a freak that doesn’t like cheese. I thought it was crazy was a reader tried to diagnose a blogger with disordered eating because of her love of watermelon. They should see how many carrots I eat. For me, it has to be about balance. I like to go to the gym and workout because it is the only time I get out of the house (work from home). But I also like to dive into a tub of movie theater popcorn or a bottle of wine.

    You should be proud of recognizing something in your life that needed to change and making the change. Whatever that may be.

    The Kidless Kronicles

  86. I don’t have any wise or even particularly interesting words to add to this….only that this post is wonderful, honest, and one of my favorites that you’ve written (and I’m not just saying that because of the part about me — even though that was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me and I’m still blushing! Thank you!!)

    I love that you’ve not only owned up to something you were doing, but you also took steps to change it. I need to follow your lead in this case, since most of the blogs I subscribe to are ones that I “mark all as read” every single day….or read for the wrong reasons. Obviously a sign that something has to change.

    Thanks for being so inspiring!!! (Sorry…I had to…haha)

  87. great, great post Ali. it made me think a lot… not only about what i’m writing, but about what i’m reading. i agree with the idea of, if i’m not reading it to better myself, i really shouldn’t be reading it.

    thank you so much for that. cheers!

  88. Years ago, I realized the power of de-friending people I hate-read on FB and that made me a much happier person. I have yet to get there with blogs, but nutritionists in general are not my favorite people. Balance, people! Bring on the chips and salsa!

    1. I totally agree about de-friending on FB, it made me soooo happy to not hate-read anymore! I am trying to get there with blogs but my Google Reader isn’t saving my deletes and they are all still there 🙂
      Great post Ali!

  89. Yes to everything. I, too, just cleared out my Reader, and it’s for the best. I found myself dreading (dreading!) reading some of the blogs I had in there every day, and once I realized how RIDICULOUS that was, I immediately stopped. Nicely done, Ali.

  90. THIS. POST. IS. AMAZING. And I’ve noticed this theme in a LOT of posts around the blogosphere lately (including my own!). I think the running/healthy living blog world can be amazing. It can be inspiring, give you meal/exercise ideas, make new friends, etc. etc. all the good things you said already. But it can also be SO toxic. I find myself comparing my training/eating to everyone else’s, and being jealous I can’t have the same routine when I’m working full-time. And I feel guilty when I kind of hate running or when I’m shoving cookies into my face or when I just plain DO NOT want to run a marathon. And I think I saw that brownie post and I really need to stop reading that blog, too. Thanks for posting this!!

  91. Whoa. Are people on the internet talking smack about brownies? Wrong. So very wrong.

    In all seriousness, what an important topic.

    I am guilty of a fair bit of hate reading too and I really want to kick that to the curb. Sometimes, when I’m stressed, it’s almost “therapeutic” to let my bad energy out on people on the internet (even if only quietly, so they never even know). But I do realize there’s nothing really good about it and I’m losing huge karma points over it. So, inspired by you, I too will try to clean up my Google Reader. Any brownie-hater will go, for starters.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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