Yesterday I was dicking around on the interwebs while a friend sat next to me and read. I had just commented on one of my favorite blogs, KERF, and found someone who professed living in the same geographic region as me. I clicked and found myself looking at her food blog.
My friend leaned over to see the pictures better. She said someone she knows has a food blog as well. "I don't know, I just think it's weird to take pictures of everything you eat. It seems like ... borderline. You might have a problem there."
Which got me thinking - are food blogs an expression of an eating disorder?
... in most cases no, but in some cases yes, I think (come on, did you think I was going to give you a straight answer?). I read several food blogs, including KERF and Tastespotting. Kath is one of the most positive, upbeat writers I've ever encountered; she loves to prepare good-tasting, nutritious food and isn't preoccupied with calories or carbs or whatnot. There are recovery bloggers I follow who periodically post pictures of their foodage. For these writers, it's not a pathology so much as a tool for improvement. They take photos to hold themselves accountable. It's more intimate, more concrete than checking boxes on a meal-plan sheet (y'all have been there, I know). Seeing food, I think, serves as a reminder that hey, this tasted good. I don't have to hate myself for eating. For someone who's been limiting her- or himself to a spartan, no-frills, bare-bones* diet, it facilitates thinking of food as pleasurable and fun again.
For some bloggers, it's a way to share a hobby - vegetarianism or veganism, eating whole foods, creating recipes, or photography. For others - and here's where it gets tricky - it's an online, public food journal, kept for the purpose of losing weight. I know that food journaling will NOT be pathological for the vast majority of people who do it. Food journaling can be a very helpful tool in changing your diet, and if you want to share your experiences with others, more power to you. I'm not entirely comfortable with the "lose lose lose" mentality of some bloggers, but that's the world we live in.
Food journaling can also be a ticket to Crazytown. I can see someone beginning a blog with the intention of dropping a few pounds and then using it as a way to continually decrease intake. Just a little less than yesterday - that's awfully familiar. I haven't seen any pro-ED blogs like this - I'm not out looking for them, of course - but I imagine there are a few. Actually, there are probably a heartbreakingly large number of them.
Like I said, the vast majority of food blogs are a fun way to engage with like-minded others. People in recovery can benefit, too, by fixing their relationship with food and eating. I just hope that pro-ED bloggers stumble upon Kath's blog, or several others, and realize there's a different way to live.
*Cliche Olympics, that was