I have done a post like this before, yet it’s something that i’m still prone to forget and with the Daily mail article – ‘Exposed: The sick truth behind the great ‘wellness’ blog craze’ – the idea once again reared its ugly head my way. I believe the article to be very one-sided, taking one individual’s experience and applying it it to the millions of people, me included, who hashtag things like #eatclean and #fitspo on their social media sites. Luckily, I believe that the majority of the health bloggers that I follow do advocate some sort of balance, posting pictures of their burgers and chocolate as well as their kale smoothies and steamed cod. I personally try to include my regular cheat meals in my posts, yet I also don’t post all of these, just like I don’t post every single on of my healthy meals. However, I know that most of these people have got to this point the hard way, after having already lived through the days of restriction and borderline eating disorders.
I have also seen the other side of balance, which has helped me get to where I am today. I’ve been the girl that was exercising twice a day and eating very little to fuel these daily routines. Instagram definitely fueled my love for health and fitness, however it also fueled a hatred for my own body that caused me to become a smaller version of myself, both mentally and physically, and has left me with an anxiety that I am still trying to overcome. I also feel like a bit of a fraud, as Celia Learmonth describes herself in the article, as I perhaps do not show the negatives of my life as much as I should. A few days ago I posted a picture of a baguette I ate, and I did eat most of, yet I did not discuss the anxiety and panic that was brought on beforehand, when faced with a plate full of heavy bread. I do eat bread regularly, yet the size and unknown-ness of it still scared me. I had not planned this meal out, it was a spontaneous decision by my dad and I said yes immediately (I have long since learnt the power of Yes in my quest for balance, from a year of ‘no’s’ and i’m busy’s’ when faced with meals out). And yet faced with a menu of sandwiches I still panicked, I still stressed to the point where I wasn’t even slightly looking forward to the food. Yes, I am scared of a piece of bread. present tense. That is a ‘sick truth’ that I am now free to admit on the very social media platform that caused this stress.
However, I would also like to talk of the other side of health blogging that the article does not discuss. It’s an amazing community, and I probably wouldn’t have got through as far to the other side without it. It may have been part of the cause, but it was also part of the healing and the recovery. I have made some friends for life through the account (@whatelladid if any of you have found this article from anywhere else!), and I have discovered a passion for food and cooking that I know will stay with me. I have found a love for fitness and for seeing the changes in my body (changes that are now also fueled by food!) to the point where I was considering doing a PT course (something that has recently fallen to the wayside in order to make time for travelling America and hopefully a masters in fashion journalism, another great love of mine that has long outlived this fitness journey). I can now see this journey for exactly what it is – a journey. I am not quite where I want to be, but i’m certainly far away from the sad girl who would judge the days happiness on what the number on the scale said. I am now over half a stone heavier than that girl, and yes I have bad days like every human, days where the amount i’ve eaten can bring me to tears (okay maybe that bit is not like every human, but trust me I’m working on it). But I also have fantastic days, where I love my body and the things it can do, and i’m thankful that I have social media to document these good days – where I feel confident enough in my body to post a picture of my abs or bum. I also promise to be more honest and to document the bad days as well, in the hope that I can show that it’s okay to be weak sometimes and to be ashamed of the way you handled a certain situation. This is a lifestyle but it’s also not LIFE. it is not the be all and end all. It is not an ‘impossible perfection’, as the article describes it, because I no longer strive for ‘perfection’. Hell, we’re all perfect in somebody else’s eyes, even if we can’t see it ourselves.
So yes I agree that there are dangers to be found. Like anything, it can be taken too far. Yet, there is also a lot of love and happiness to be found, and for that i’m grateful.