Question of the Week: What gives me the right to write a health and fitness blog?

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

Last week, I wrote an entry about food snobbery and a lot of people disagreed. Honestly, I was pretty rude in that entry and I probably shouldn’t have accused anyone of being a snob. Of all the comments on my blog and Kate’s, the only one that stung was this one from Melissa on Kate’s blog:

I have a huge beef with people who write health blogs without credentials.

You know what? SO DO I. That’s why the comment stung.

All the other comments about how food is not just food had valid points and were interesting, but Melissa’s was the only one that felt like a pin sticking me in the butt.

What gives me the right to write a health and fitness blog?

I have a double major degree in Mathematics and Education, neither of which have anything to do with health, nutrition or exercise physiology.

The degree in Mathematics and my past work in a pharmacology research lab allow me to read technical journals, reports and statistics without getting muddled. I understand statistics and I understand how to lie with them. Too many companies out there are trying to lie with their statistics. Fortunately, I can see right through the lies and look at the numbers with clean eyes.

The degree in Education taught me how to write with clarity and teach subjects I know. After dealing with my eating issues for years, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. I’ve tried so many things that I can spot bullshit a mile away. My education degree helps me share what knowledge I do have with a clarity that most scholars lose over the years.

All that just sounds like bullshit to me.

Yeah, pulling out my degrees that have been pretty much useless my whole career sounds like bullshit to me, too.

Honestly, I started Starling Fitness because all my talk about my own eating issues was taking over my personal blog and I just wanted to separate them. That’s how it started, but it has grown into something bigger. Sometimes it feels way bigger than I can handle, so I need to keep reminding everyone.

  • I’m not a doctor.
  • I’m not a nutritionist.
  • I’m not a exercise physiologist.
  • I’m not even skinny.
  • I sometimes still end up bingeing to deal with my issues and that might never change for me.

All I can do is be honest with you about what I am so you won’t think I’m something that I’m not.

So, what gives you the right to write about health and fitness?

That’s the beauty of this medium. What gives me the right? I have a computer and I can put two words together. That’s the only right I need to start a weblog about health and fitness. Whether you read my words is your choice.

To the several thousand people who do read my words every day, THANK YOU. One of the things that took me back to Weight Watchers to deal with my bingeing AGAIN is the thought of not writing for you anymore. If I have ever helped you, please know that you’ve helped me threefold in return.


23 Responses to “Question of the Week: What gives me the right to write a health and fitness blog?”

  1. judy wyatt Says:

    I enjoy reading you every day! 🙂 And I’ve never once questioned your right to write about whatever you please.

  2. Mark Says:

    Looking at it from the other side, what do food bloggers (and commenters) really know about the sorts of food supply issues that they are so infatuated with writing about these days? Basically, it comes down to “I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

  3. B Says:

    it’s your blog- you can say what you want- and people can read it if they choose. It’s your opinion and your experiences- so it’s all good!

  4. Megan Says:

    When I visit a blog, I know that sometimes, I am going to get really good & useful information & sometimes, I am just going to get someone’s opinion. That is exactly what people get when they visit my weight loss blog. Also, Laura, it’s your blog! Write about whatever you want to write about… because we don’t have to read, if we don’t like what we see.

  5. Jay Jacobs Says:


    Hey, I’m still a fat guy selling fat all over the world and people like hearing what I have to say as well, why?

    Because we’re real and our readers are real to.

    They want the “real thing” and that’s why I wrote “1/2 is more”. the first diet book that pays for itself.

    So keep up the great work!


    creator : http://www.mypetfat.com

  6. Lady Rose Says:

    I had to answer that question myself when I started my blog – who the heck is some fat lady in NJ doing writing about getting healthy.

    I had a personal blog for about a year – but it grew, I grew (not in size, but in attitude) and so the new blog was born. I think life experience has a lot of credibility. As long as no one is claiming to be an “authority” or pretending to have credentials – than by all means share what you know and feel good about it.

    After decades of yoyo dieting, and after losing 80 lbs in the past year – I have the “right” to blog with F.A.T. attitude and share my experience and motivation.

    So keep up the good work here and Blog with Attitude!

    Health and Happiness, Lady Rose (founder of The Diet Pulpit and author of Just Do-it)

  7. kara Says:

    I post about fitness and running stuff and I’m not a coach or a doctor. First Amendment – freedom of speech /blogging. If people don’t like what I preach then they can delete my link from their bookmarks. I enjoy reading your site and comments.

  8. Mark Says:


    Besides what’s already (correctly) been said, I would like to add that there is legitimacy in a non-expert blogging about a subject they are passionate about.

    What I mean is that your voice is one of your own thoughts and opinions – it is not one that is integrated into any SYSTEM. And it is not one that is PAID for, or policed by any sponsor, or body of professionals.

    I think that’s one of the biggest reasons people love and respect many bloggers who can “string two words together” – they know they are getting an honest opinion from an INDIVIDUAL.

    Keep on writing.

  9. B. Says:

    I’ll second what Mark said. And say that there is the cult of the “expert.” As anyone knows who has gotten advanced degrees, you do learn something, but there are poeple who are just as qualified who didn’t get the degree and people who are unqualified who did. Your writing speaks for itself and I enjoy reading your blog.

  10. Kerry Says:

    It’s so much more realistic and inspiring to be reading the words of a fellow food-struggler. Honestly. Who wants to be preached to by the I’ve-got-it-under-control nutrition guru.

    Here’s my story in a nutshell. I’m an athlete, a full-out athlete. I run, swim, skate, play tennis, lacrosse, and many others. You name it, I’ve probably done it. I’ve always been very athletic. As many people know, athletes tend to eat much more, with little to no weight gain. A worry-free attitude develops, and you just kind of snicker at the incessant headlines of “lose weight,” “celebrity diets,” “look fantastic fast,” which are printed on almost every magazine cover at the grocery aisle. Well, I took that attitude too far. When I was younger, I never thought about food, until I was really, really hungry. Now, it’s a constant, persistent, nagging thought. And the occasional binges are thoroughly disappointing and degrading. I go to bed saying, “I will do better tomorrow,” and then end up going to bed the next night, saying the same thing. My binges start out healthy, and then, if I let them continue, they turn to unhealthy food. I don’t think I even know what hunger is anymore. Fortunately, I work most of it off, and I fill myself up mostly with fruit or other healthy foods. But the marshmallows, chocolates, granola bars, and ice cream always sneaks its way in. I still look pretty good, but the emotional degradation and knowledge that I could easily shed that little extra fat around my stomach is tormenting.

    However, I was very inspired to see your video confession. The words you said were like my thoughts spoken out loud. Few understand the struggle of a binger. Some would say I have a subclinical eating disorder. You fight and fight, or struggle by trying to stop fighting it, and yet sometimes you still fall.

    We can do it. And self-pity is the biggest downfall. By writing this, I experience the same self-therapy you do. In this writing I feel a little better relaying my problems to one who would understand.

    So, this “comment” ended up being much longer than I intended. But I wanted to let you know that you are more than qualified. By writing about your struggles, and the help you can give, you are healing both others and yourself. Keep at it.

  11. Mindy Says:

    I love this! Hey, I am not skinny, not always a healthy eater, (yes I binge) and I write a newsletter after getting a holistic nutrition certification, post cancer. I think we all need to dispell the notion that you have to look super thin, or be over zealous to reach people and help them be healthier. I have to tell you that I read alot on nutrition, but this site has really helped me today. I was looking for answers. Thanks! I used to be on WW too…and now am back at the weight I was at. I am in great shape but know I need to get to a better target weight and your writing on WW has inspired me to go back. Thanks again!

  12. Marty Says:

    Bless your heart, you make me laugh! Loved the post about the 5 Buck Workout – I had a treadmill in my kitchen for a year before I decided that I wasn’t going to get on the thing. It did make a nice pants dryer, though! And the Asparagus Flan (asparagus flan?!) who would have thought?

    Keep on blogging – I’ll keep on reading! I’m working on a cookbook that has tasty, healthy, lose-weight recipes – that don’t call for strange or hard to find ingredients. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m an eater on a diet. It’s working. 🙂

  13. Tammy Says:

    I’m a nurse and not a nutritionist but I love to write about what I have learned over the years of dealing with fibromyaglia, nutrition and women’s health. One of my biggest motivators to keep working out and becoming stronger is my blog. You are a charm! Binges can be a demon.


  14. JonathanLegerSuccess Says:

    I think it is irrelevant if the Author has a list of credentials after their name. If the comment hits home to the reader then great. We all read this blog not only for information but for it’s lightheartedness, it’s candour and the fact it is written by someone unqualified who is prepared to spill their guts ( No pun intended ) about their journey is refreshing. I for one will continue visiting if only to give me a smile. Keep up the great work. Cheers.

  15. Lory Says:

    This was such a powerful post to me. I appreciate your thoughts. The great thing, as you suggest, about the blogging medium is an excellent tool for self-expression, but more importantly self exploration. I only discovered you today, but I can tell you you are appreciated. 😀

  16. mtbman1 Says:

    Usually a blog is about the writer’s experience. Often we synthesize information from many sources, apply them and report the results. We communicate what has and has not worked for us and how we come to certain conclusions. Readers are free to take what they can use and leave the rest.

    Blog on!

  17. Ammanda Says:

    I stumbled upon your blog today. I love it. I am on a similar campaign. I have only lost 22 pounds to date and it is slow going but so worth it!

    Take care

  18. Pat Says:

    You tell em!..

    Also, read this http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/02/25/the-science-of-fat-loss-why-a-calorie-isnt-always-a-calorie/

    Tim Ferris is a unique and dynamic individual. But has to be the most mentally strongest persons I’ve ever read about.

    But this latest post just has some startling thoughts to ponder.

    Excerpt: “So, I’ll say it again. It’s not simply a matter of calories, and anyone who says it is should perhaps give the issue a little more thought.”

    I’ve been doing the slow-carb diet for 5 days and dropped 8 pounds.

  19. thalassa Says:

    Sometimes people don’t have the diplomas but have the experience and the wisdom that comes out of it.I find that you have them both.THANKS

  20. Hugo Says:

    I’m qualified in fitness and diet, it took me many years to get to the level that I am. However I have no qualification in writing, english or journalism maybe I should stop writing too!

    I think you do a fantastic job and out of all the blogs I read yours has to be one of the most honest. It is nice to read a blog that cuts through the bull and brings an honest and educated review.

    Keep up the good work!

  21. Emily Says:

    I’ve stumbled across your blog several times in the past few weeks – and I think even a few times a few months ago. It’s obvious you’re not a professional fitness coach and don’t have “credentials”…but who cares? I’ve been inspired, challenged and educated by what you write.

    I find the best teachers are the ones who actually KNOW and have EXPERIENCED what they’re teaching. My most out of touch professors in college were the ones who had never had a real job. The best ones? The imperfect ones who may not have had theories memorized, but who had the nerve to say, “I don’t know…let’s find out.”

    Please, keep writing because it’s obvious you’ve inspired others. And like a few people have said, IT’S YOUR BLOG!!! Write whatever the heck you want in it!

  22. Kim Says:

    In some of your blogs you’ve cited individuals with PhD’s and they are quacks. A degree doesn’t say it all about a person. It says a lot but what says even more is a person’s commitment to ongoing research and personal development, as well as honesty about their own flaws. I like your blog and I’m glad I found it.

  23. Jo A. Says:


    I found this site about three years ago, and have recommended it to people online and off, non-stop.

    I posted the web address (link) on one of sites also, because you were so helpful to me.

    I lost my internet service for a brief hiatus, and I knew that your site was one of the first ones I missed. It didn’t feel the same if I didn’t stop by and read an entry from time to time.

    So, don’t worry about not being “accredited” in that little nit-picky area that everyone is talking about. What counts is that you are handling topics that no one is dealing with. That helps people like me out, because I am unable to handle fitness like others do, and am so happy that you make it easy to participate in fitness in healthy ways, and I don’t want to give up when I read your site. This is a highly motivational, and spiritually up-lifting place!

    Thanks for this hard work you do!

    PLUS, all the “writing” stuff you talk about makes sense, too.

    Jo A.

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