From time to time, folks — actual, responding people, not spambots — email me asking about a link exchange to their “health” or “fitness” site. Invariably, the sites include weight loss as an essential component. Usually, I respond with some generic “thanks but no thanks” message.
On one hand, this is fine and probably the strategy I will continue to employ most often, as:
- I’m not obligated to provide an explanation of why I don’t want to link to a particular… anything on my blog (aside from proper attribution of sources). If I don’t, I don’t.
- The “thanks but no thanks” requires little investment of time or emotional resources.
On the other, I toy with the idea of what would happen if I sent this letter instead.
Dear potentially well-meaning but misguided link exchange requester,
First, thank you for taking the time to lie to me, saying that you’ve read my blog. And perhaps you have, in fact, skimmed the titles and the tags and the pictures. But read it you have not.
If you had, you would have likely noticed that while this is a blog that talks about exercise and yoga and health and fitness, it is not actually a blog about “getting in shape.” More to the point, it is not a blog that dictates what shapes other people are or should want to be in.
I practice yoga because I love yoga. I run because I love running. I love them — at least most days — for how they feel when I’m going them, separate from any other effects they may be having on my body. And you know what? Those are good enough reasons to do what I do.
I reject the idea that we should tie physical activity to aesthetic goals — like weight loss, battling “trouble zones,” or creating 6-pack abs — that are never going to happen for some people. I’ve been practicing yoga for thirteen years. I have the same curves, the same bulges, the same “trouble zones” as I always did. I highly doubt that I’m going to develop a “leaner” body at this point, and that’s okay. Even if it does happen, that doesn’t necessarily need to be the point of exercise. In fact, for a lot of people, encouraging those aesthetic changes to become the point can be damaging. It’s happened to me before, and I will no longer be a part of that.
I’m not saying that my reasons for exercising are the only valid reasons for doing so. It’s not my place to decide what reasons or motivations are valid for someone else.
But it is my blog, and I won’t help to promote ideals that I believe are incompatible with mine.