I've been following Glamour's "Shape Up" Blogger, Margarita, since she started chronicling her diet and exercise habits in January. Apparently in euphemistic Glamour-speak, "Shape Up" means "weight loss," because Margarita has dropped quite a lot of weight in the past eight months through an incredibly strict diet and many hours of exercise. What's disconcerting is the anxious tone that has crept into her posts in recent weeks, culminating in a post about leaving her dad's birthday party early so that she could go to yoga. It's clear that she feels a great deal of pressure to keep her weight off, and I have to wonder whether some of that pressure comes from the fact that it's part of her job to talk about her diet.Of course, Glamour has never explicitly asked her to lose weight or forced her to participate in anything. And even though she writes a blog about it, there should be no value judgment on her choice to lose weight or not, as it's really not our business. However, Margarita has received a promotion since she started the blog. In her first days of blogging, Margarita was an executive assistant, and she's now an assistant health editor. "I'm tired of feeling that, if I want to, I can’t make it as a health editor or a fashion editor because I don’t fit the mold," she wrote. But it was only after she lost a good bit of weight that she felt "empowered" enough to ask for the promotion. Though the weight loss was never forced, one has to wonder whether the culture of the office is reinforcing the idea that her success is tied to her weight and writing about it. Even more than that, I wonder if diet blogs can be positive at all. It's good for women to have spaces where they can speak freely about their issues and feelings, but whenever we do posts about weight, discussion always devolves into people posting their heights and weights down to the decimal point. In fact, many commenters seem to think these discussions trigger their worst feelings about weight and self. Is it possible to write about your weight struggles for a living and emerge unscathed? Am I The World's Worst Daughter? [Glamour] Earlier: The Last Days Of Mademoiselle: Cocaine, Cigarettes & Calorie Counts
Looking at the pictures she posted in the blog you linked to, I applaud her decision to lose weight because it looks like she has positively affected her health and self-esteem. I applaud her willpower and self-discipline, because I struggle with those things and often fail. I feel, for the most part, this effort is positive and has yielded positive things and should be lauded.
I hope, though, that as she continues on her diet and exercise regime, she can relax a little bit. She's so pretty and healthy now, and I can imagine it would only be a GOOD career move (as a health editor and writer) to switch from weight loss to weight maintenence. Because the truth is, you should only lose weight when you're OVERweight. If you're in a healthy weight zone — and those are wide zones, not this idiotic notion of teeny-weeny-skinny-pretty we seem to slave under — then the real triumph is STAYING there. And you will be even more confident when you realize that you've not just lost the weight, you've kept it off. And with that pressure off your shoulders, hopefully you can really go out there and live your life to the fullest.