One Diet I Can Recommend

Susan Donnelly on a positive media diet.

Susan Donnelly on a positive media diet.

In junior high school, I started reading fashion magazines. 

It’s an awkward time and the magazines defined what and who we were supposed to be.

I loved the thick fall editions that arrived mid-August.

“This year,” I’d think, “This is the year I'm going to have the perfect wardrobe!”

I’d immerse myself in the magazines, decide what I needed to buy, and start shopping. Except that before I could finish, next month's magazines would arrive with confusingly different looks. I tried to keep up but was always behind.

One day, many fall editions later, I finally “got” the gerbil wheel I’d been on. I'd never get there. I’d never be that model in the magazine. 

That was the point - to always keep me wanting something else

Worse, I realized how it sucked energy and confidence out of me, every single month.

And I was voluntarily paying money for this?!?

I quit them all. 

That one, simple decision freed me from emotional weight I didn’t know I was carrying. It was so incredibly liberating!

But surely this isn’t true about running media…is it? 

Listen, just because you love running doesn’t mean some running media can’t suck your energy the same way.

Case in point: Last night, I got home from finishing a challenging 100-mile race to find next month's crop of running magazines (I get them for work). I flipped through one and immediately felt stressed about all the things I “should” be doing and embarrassed at how pitiful I and my 100-miler were compared to what everyone in the magazine was doing.

It’s the same message as the fashion magazines: “We’re the authority. If you want to be X (in this case, a “real” ultrarunner) this is what you have to look, be, and live like.”

As if you need something else on your to-do list!

It’s no wonder the top question from women is how to fit ultrarunning into their lives. We have full plates, we’re fitting in the training, and we're supposed to somehow make our lives look like “the trail running life” too??

Do yourself a favor. Look at the media you consume in any format - magazines, websites, videos, podcasts, who you follow on Instagram, whatever - and ask yourself:

“How does this make me feel?”

“Is this snarky, negative, or cynical?”

“If this had a one-sentence message, what would it say?”

Trade anything that makes you feel mean, drained, stressed, overwhelmed, or not good enough, for something that’s positive, inspiring, uplifting, informative, and empowering.

You can start small - one thing at a time is fine - but please start now.

I promise, this one simple action can make you feel better TODAY!

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