Today was muggy and humid and I was in a foul mood to begin with. Perhaps that’s why this NYT article on “internet weight-loss goddess” Lisa Lillien, a.k.a. “Hungry Girl,” got under my skin. Hey there, inner bitch.
[Actually, last time I allowed my inner bitch to take over the blog it was kind of fun. So here she is. Meanwhile, outer-nice-girl is going to eat rainbow sprinkle cookies in bed and get crumbs all over her chest.
…thanks so much for whipping the camera out, there, hubs.]
Anyway. I’d heard of the Hungry Girl before – seen a clip of her on Rachael Ray, perhaps – and found her unoffensive enough. Cool, I thought. Sounds like a health blogger who hit the big time. Good for her. It’s always heartwarming when one of “your own” strikes gold.
Except…not. There’s nothing healthy about the Hungry Girl. And no blogger behind this marketing machine.
As the NYT reports, Lillien is getting a $10 million book advance for a series of “Hungry Girl” books. With three best-selling recipe books under her belt, that makes sense. But who is the woman behind this, and what does she actually have to offer?
As it turns out, not much. A peek at the Hungry Girl website reveals, for example, some hot new content – a grocery list:
Our Summer 2010 edition of The Official Hungry Girl Supermarket List!!! We’re forever updating our now famous list to bring you the most fantastic new market finds — plus all the essentials — in one super-convenient list.
So what’s on the list? Processed crap, basically. Hey, did you know that you can buy 100-calorie packs of things? And reduced fat cheeses? Because that’s what this list will give you. Packaged diet foods. Along with – seriously? – Kix.
No wonder she’s hungry.
I was literally floored when I read this. Ten million dollars? You’ve gotta be f*cking kidding me. Not only is most of the food on the list nutritionally void – it’s also completely obvious. This is the most unoriginal, uninspired grocery list I’ve ever seen.
And then there’s the problem of – ahem – authenticity.
As the NYT article reports:
Ms. Lillien herself has no tale of catastrophic weight gain or massive weight loss to share, no fat-burning cabbage soup recipe, no clinical experience, other than having managed to lose about 20 pounds on her own in her 30s.
Ms. Lillien launched the site only after months of strategizing and branding. “Hungry Girl was never just a housewife sitting around blogging in her bathrobe,” she said.
Clearly this isn’t a health blogger who made it big. Not even close. This is a brand that was created and cleverly packaged (Lillien herself works in marketing.) And a whole bunch of people have bought the schtick.
So, why do I care?
Well…one, I think it’s incredibly sad that a millions of people subscribe to this drivel and think that eating fat-free hot dogs and Special K bars is the path to a healthy body. Really, just sad. Food is a wonderful thing that can and should be enjoyed in life. And it’s totally possible to do it in a healthy way.
And two? It pisses me off to see this nonsense drawing big bucks when there are so many amazing health bloggers out there who do it so much better. For free.
Bloggers with real stories, real voices, and real value to add. Bloggers who have truly amazing and creative ways to make eating healthier and tastier. Bloggers who have triple-digits weight loss stories. Bloggers who make you laugh and cry – who make you feel like you know them even though you’ve only ever heard their voice in your head, as you read their musings.
Bloggers who would never settle for fake diet food in the place of real food. Who post wonderful gems of widsom, experience and inspiration every single day, with no million dollar – or even hundred dollar – paycheck waiting.
Take my rant with a grain of salt, if you want. After all, it’s coming from the girl with cookie crumbs all over her face who drinks beer and/or wine every single night.
But you know what? I’ve managed to drop 15-ish pounds in the last several months. Just by cooking more at home, eating less processed crap, and relying on my blogger friends for great recipes, tips and inspiration. And never, ever going hungry.
So take that, Hungry Girl. I hope your book advance affords you many a 100-calorie-pack of fake cookies.
[And, um, publishers? If you want to send me – or my inner bitch – a multi-million dollar advance, just say the word!]
Today’s EAT: I just didn’t feel like cooking tonight. So the hubs and I ventured out to eat to an oddball of a little restaurant in the neighborhood that we’ve been dying to try: Hakata Ton Ton.
It’s like a tiny sushi joint hooked up with a Japanese tapas place. And crafted a bevy of specialty dishes around pigs’ feet. Which are, as it turns out, delicious.
Also delicious: marinated yellowtail sashimi, curried soft-shell crab and grilled pork belly.
My tummy was happy and my inner bitch was thrilled that she didn’t have to cook tonight. Because she was far too busy being cranky.
Today’s DRINK: You guessed it – yet another seasonal beer! I’ve been trying as many as I can find and haven’t run out of options yet.
Smuttynose Summer Weizen Ale. Which, according to the label, contains a “hint of chamomile.” Not sure about that, but it’s a refreshing and enjoyable beer, similar to Hoegaarden but with a less lemony flavor. It would be great with a burger at a BBQ!
Today’s RUN: First off – I so loved getting everyone’s input on my shoe situation yesterday. 🙂 Seriously, thanks. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do, but I ran in the Ravennas again tonight. It felt alright. Still very very stiff and a little sore back in the calf/achilles area. On both legs.
I picked up the pace a bit tonight. Instead of relegating myself to a slow slog, I ran at a normal easy-medium jaunt. Interestingly, my calves felt much better with a slightly quicker stride. I covered my normal 5-mile route in 42 minutes, and aside from the crushing humidity, I felt pretty darn good.
Today’s QUESTION: Where do you stand on “diet” foods? I generally avoid them. They’re overpriced and over-processed. I’d rather have a small amount of the real thing – or an occasional splurge on a food that I love – than half-ass it with an inferior substitute!