Have you ever wanted to sit down at your laptop and blog for hours and hours on end?
Thoughts come and go in such a fury. Like little twinges of electricity pinging to and fro inside that skull of yours, you just want to grab the sides of your head and squeeze for some peace and quiet? You wish you could just look at your computer screen and all those thoughts would magically vomit themselves into some cohesive blog post because you know your fingers can’t keep up with everything you want to say?
This happens to me all the time. If I could make money off of every word I truly wanted to write I’d be a millionaire in no time. And yet when I sit down, I find it difficult to grasp one idea and focus.
This blog post has no direction. It just has words. May they be cohesive and in order but if not, I say a big old “who gives a flying fuck cause I need to empty out this noggin of mine”.
It’s no secret I’m a part of a larger group of fitness bloggers out there known as Fitfluential. Who knows how many people are involved now (tens of thousands I suppose). When it was first being launched I felt a lot of jealousy over who was being asked to join. The big players (but people I was truly inspired by) were joining forces to talk about something I hold very close to my heart: Living a Healthy Lifestyle. Months went by and that jealousy grew. I wanted to play with the big kids. I mean I was sort of my own big kid on the playground (no matter how small my playground may be). I proverbially jumped around in that “pick me, pick me” sort of way and one day it happened.
Mimi and I were asked to join.
Like that little kid waiting to be picked for the dodge ball team; it didn’t matter to me if I got picked last. The fact that I got picked at all was awesome. Finally I was with the big kids. The story of Mimi and I losing almost 250 pounds collectively, falling in love and forging A Life Changing path for others to follow was amongst the masses that is Fitfluential.
Can I tell you a secret?
I don’t like it as much as I thought I would. Here’s the deal: It’s like I’m in the middle of an even bigger dodge ball game and there is only one captain. Thousands of potential kick ass dodge ball players all waiting around for that someone to tell them “okay kids, now we’re all going to totally LOVE this product right?” and every single of of us nodding our heads in agreement without even knowing what we’re agreeing too (knowing full well if we don’t we’re not getting picked).
I am an individual.
I see over and over again people losing the “self” in the process of trying to be with the “popular” kid. Blindly endorsing whatever is being thrown at them and not asking the questions that need to be asked. I understand the desire reap the benefits of what I’ve worked so hard to achieve. I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about my story reaching the masses. I want people to recognize me. I want magazines and news channels to share my story. I want the fitness industry to think about me when it comes to sharing their product via sponsorship, ambassadorship, or say “hey Tara, want to review our product”…
But I also cherish my integrity.
I cherish my thought process.
I cherish my commitment to the self.
So why don’t I just leave? In the beginning I was jealous of those that were being invited and now I find myself jealous of those that are leaving on their own accord. But I can’t bring myself to write that letter of “thanks but no thanks”. I don’t agree with the message that is Fitfluential any longer. Yes, there are individuals within the concept that I still adore and admire beyond comprehension. But in all honesty I adore them because they are unapologetically themselves and Fitfluential needs them more than they need Fitfluential.
Still I can’t leave.
I’m still that kid waiting to be picked for the dodge ball game (but really looking at the monkey bars). I’m still that kid wanting the recognition of the captain (but really wishing a few of us would just start our own game). Maybe this post is a passive aggressive wish that instead of me saying “Thanks but no thanks”, they in fact would say “Thanks but no thanks”…It’s like not wanting to break up with someone because you’re afraid of being alone but you secretly wish they would break up with you because being alone is better than the current situation.
Why am I talking about this now?
The big “thing” right now is all this talk of Diet To Go (and I hated adding this as a link because I DON’T ENDORSE THIS ONE BIT). In an attempt to drum up business they’ve “partnered” with Fitfluential and it is all the rage amongst the “pick me pick me” group of players. Touting it as healthy and easy and so delicious…
Just search the hashtag #diettogo / #mydiettogo to see for yourself.
It is no surprise that 99% of the “Oh Wow, this food is so delicious” and “look at my pretty picture of my tasty meal” (in this convenient plastic container) tweets are coming from (pick me pick me) those desperate dodge ball players. I try not to be angry over this campaign because I understand the need to jump through the hoops to be noticed and I’ve been involved in some really awesome campaigns myself with whole30 and UnderArmour but this campaign has me boiling over.
Just to add spit to the fire I decided to really check out the website to see if maybe I was missing something. The pictures being posted looked anything but delicious. The “contains soy” in a chicken dinner left a bad taste in my mouth as people proclaim the food healthy. The “I just ate dinner and it was only 200 calories” makes me cringe at how we are influencing the people desperately trying to make choices that lead them in the direction in which they so desire…
But I wanted to make sure I gave this campaign a fair peruse.
I filled out the information on the “how it works page”
- Height – 5′ 8″
- Age – 43
- Weight – 158
- Goal Weight – 160 (take note that I’m indicating I want to actually gain a few pounds)
- Activity Level – Very Active (6 – 7 times/week)
Is this a joke?
“Congratulations on taking the first step to reaching a healthy BMI”…I already am at a healthy BMI and I indicated that I am actually trying to maintain/gain. It clearly states that my “Daily Energy Expenditure” is 2500 (to maintain my weight with my activity level) and yet the company (that many people are turning too for weight loss advice) is advising that I eat 1200 calories (not net calories mind you) but in total…
As a weight loss story already made and always being told to anyone that looks to me for advice I have a responsibility. As part of a bigger group of fitness bloggers we, as a whole, have a responsibility. I understand the idea of getting compensated for a campaign. That’s what Fitfluential is there for; helping businesses profit but let’s be honest about the product being offered instead of just nodding our heads and trying to please the captain…
1200 calories is NOT appropriate. Thankfully I know this. One of the most important things about this journey of Life Changes is educating myself. The more I know, the more I am in control. The more I am in control, the more I am successful. I also understand the need for convenience. Mimi and I shop at Costco to buy meats/veggies/fruits/toilet paper in gross quantities because we have to sustain ourselves on one income. But you won’t find a box or packaged meal in our carts because while we need the convenience we believe in eating real foods (even if they come in a gross quantity).
The point of this blog post is to just put out there, that large masses of people moving in a particular direction doesn’t mean it’s the appropriate direction. This particular website is encouraging extreme “Calorie Restriction” not “Calorie Deficiency”. I don’t believe in calorie restriction at all and in fact part of my coaching/advising/sharing is to eat to fuel your body appropriately. For many people just starting out on their Own Life Changing Journey they’re going to follow the masses instead of slowing down and paying attention to what their bodies want ( real food). They’re going to pull out their wallets and buy into this notion that it’s better to buy pre-packaged meals full of frankenfood instead of trusting that they deserve to create truly mindful / healthful meals in their own kitchen.
I want to leave you with one last idea. Earlier today I was tagged in a Facebook status from my friend Karen Anderson with a link to the video below. Take a few minutes (it’s about 10 minutes in length) to really watch it. Pay close attention to how she describes her students and the process by which their relationship with the food cultivated. Our Life Changing Journeys happen in almost the exact same way. It starts chaotically trying to be every where at once and then slowly but surely when you are present everything around you changes…
Update: A few hours after writing this post I had a long talk with Mimi and we have both respectfully resigned from Fitfluential. We appreciate the support shown from this post (as with every post).