Pinterest is a recent love of mine (as it is for many people), and I love filling my boards up with fun pins. I follow a ton of people, and I have a decent number of followers, and sometimes, I just like to lose myself, looking at what everyone out there has decided is pin-worthy. In the past couple of weeks, I have seen two Pinterest areas that really offer some contrast, and I kind of wanted to talk about them a little bit.
The first is the sheer number of amazing-looking food pins you can find on Pinterest. I started following Paula Deen’s boards when she joined Pinterest, and every single recipe that she posts is something that I would be happy to eat. From her fried pickles to her gooey butter cake to her chicken & dumplings, every recipe intrigues. Added to that are food bloggers and professional chefs and home cooks posting pictures of appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. If you are hungry when you go on Pinterest, it will just make you hungrier. And even if you have just eaten, it might trigger a powerful craving or two. In fact, the food I have seen on Pinterest has inspired three boards for me.
The first board, “Yummo,” just has on it anything that has looked good to me. It includes PLENTY of dessert recipes with some other stuff thrown in. The second, “Things to Try,” is not all food, although it is probably mostly food-related. It includes things that I think I might actually want to try. I think it has a LOT of cookie recipes on it. I happen to love cookies, and I have seen many interesting cookie recipes that might find their way into my kitchen this holiday season. The third board is entitled “Weight Watchers Points Plus,” which is pretty self-explanatory. It includes recipes that I think will easily fit into my Weight Watchers lifestyle. I have made exactly zero recipes from that board so far (and zero recipes from Pinterest, actually), but I am confident I will someday, probably while I am hunkered down at home this winter, avoiding the weather.
In contrast to all that food on Pinterest is the sheer number of health and fitness related pins out there. Some of them are really inspiring, like the quote that is the title of this post. When I am worrying about the fact that I am running in full view of other people at the gym for only one minute at a time because I can’t go much longer than that, I remember all those people who are not going to the gym today, and it does make me feel a bit better. I think it will make me feel even better when I successfully run my first mile in more than 10 years, but for now, it is enough to keep me going. However, there are also things on Pinterest that really could be a trigger for those people who have any sort of food issues at all.
Anyone who has ever used food as a punishment for themselves (or even as a reward) might find difficult images on the boards there. Quotes like, “A year from now, you’ll have wished you started today,” “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever,” and “You earn your body” suggest that those people who are not in control of their eating and who are not exercising are somehow inferior to those people who are. And for everyone who has ever had an issue with food (either overeating or not eating enough), this can be enough to send you to the “bad place.”
As someone who follows and believes in Weight Watchers, I also find a lot of questionable information out there, often in the form of fad diet information. The one that sticks out the most for me is the one that calls peanut butter a “naughty” spread. I have lost almost 70 pounds in the past 22 months (which is a slow, yet steady, pace), and I certainly did not give up peanut butter. In fact, I have five different varieties of Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter in my cabinets at this very moment. There are also pins that vilify entire food groups, such as cheese, carbs, meats, sugar…you get the idea. A balanced, sustainable eating plan contains a variety of foods, at least for me, and Weight Watchers gives me this. I even eat full-fat cheese sometimes! And bread! And I love them both!
This is not to say that I have something against Pinterest. I am just careful about what I pin. I won’t pin something that suggests that my worth is in whether or not I fit into a certain size, and I don’t follow boards that suggest that either. I don’t pin something that suggests food (or exercise) is a form of punishment, and I don’t follow boards that make me feel bad about what I ate or what I did or didn’t do at the gym today. But I do love some of the quotes I read on there, not least of which is the title of this post. And while my run today was slow, it was faster than Friday’s! And it was faster than everyone’s who stayed on the couch. And that’s fast enough for me.