Little late in the day, I know, but when a subject so close to my heart arises through media attention, I have to rise up and make others see my point of view, because I feel it is important to hear it from someone who has been in a self-destruction frame of mind.
Yesterday the Daily Mail posted an article ‘Exposed: The sick truth behind the great ‘wellness’ blog craze taking social media by storm and one online star battling a secret fitness addiction‘ which talks about Celia Learmonth, who is known as ‘London Fitness Guide‘ on social media. As part of her 20k followers, I have seen her posts daily and I suppose that I didn’t really consciously think that she might but suffering behind the screen. Social media can only ever show us tiny snippets of a person’s life. We can never really know what it is like to be them. It was so painful to read, that what may have started out to be a positive idea, turned out to be the worst thing for Celia’s health. The deceptive ways in which so many of us will filter, alter and crop out the ‘bad’ parts of our lives, in order for our feed to look perfect, beautiful and positive 24/7. Well, let’s just be realistic, there is no way anyone could keep up with the ‘idyllic’ lifestyle that is shoved in front of us. It is basically a fake world that we constantly fall for every time. It is great that a publication as large as the Daily Mail have brought this subject to our attention, but along with so many other bloggers, I do not agree with how the message has been projected.
When I first began my Instagram account, I was deep into anorexia, and took to following other eating disorder suffers as a way of comfort, knowing there are others like me going through similar things. But what I wasn’t aware of until it was too late, was that this became an obsession and a easy way to compare myself instantly, competing in my make up a game of who has the greatest eating disorder. Not only was I following all of these severely unwell people, I was driven my so many health bloggers who claimed to be living a healthy balanced diet, but clearly had problems with their confidence and self-esteem. So I started to cut out more and more foods in the hope for a better body. This is the devastating side to what is really an amazing network. Like so many good things, there will always be those who do not use it for the right intensions.
We are all individual people, and though we may be of the same species, there isn’t one singular way in which to become healthy and happy in life. Speaking from personal experience, I was never satisfied with myself until I became this perfect person who was unbelievable at everything she did. Every time I wasn’t successful enough, I would mentally punish myself constantly all because I felt who I really was isn’t good enough for this world. After going through a lifetime of self-hatred, and over five years of battling mental health issues, finding the beauty within myself that has been the most dramatic transformation of my life. Find love for yourself, and the positive will start to happen for you. It is this ethic that I will always stand by.
The article basically dubs all health bloggers as “very thin” people, who are hiding eating disorders. You cannot brand an entire industry from one tragic story. It is not really a question of whether or not the fitness industry is a good thing, more that it is what your approach is to it all. There are so many unbelievable people out there who share with us their growth and experiences through social media, that brings hope to thousands of people every day. Zanna Van Djik is one of the many people I turn to for positivity, and a true account of what it means to live a balanced lifestyle. She has responded to this same article on her website, which led me to feel the need to write one myself. Her attitude towards sharing her training and nutrition is to take it all with a “pinch of salt” because we are all different when it comes to approaching a healthy balance. What may suit Zanna, may not suit me, just as much as it may not suit you. We need to take the key lessons from these messages that our favourite bloggers share, that is to believe in yourself and have the confidence to become your best self.
Sure there are still days when I compare myself to others, and worry that my life will never be how I long for it to be, but instead of allowing those thoughts to consume my world, I have learnt to embrace what I already have, where I am currently at and how I can move forward, growing closer and closer to those dreams.
Unfortunately, we aren’t born with this attitude, it is something that each and every one of us must learn, in order to approach things in a positive manner for our overall health and wellbeing. So when it comes to the pressures that are surrounding you, view them all with a open mind, taking in the information but remain conscious of who YOU are. Don’t be taken in my the desires to be someone else, as you alone are worthy of finding your own happy and balanced lifestyle.
I truly wish Celia all the very best with her recovery, and hope that she will come out of this stronger than ever before. Though she claims that the compliments she has been receiving are false, I can honestly say from one recovering girl to another that what she has spoken out about and what she is doing for herself is tremendously courageous. It takes a lot of convincing of yourself to admit you need help, so to do this through the public eye is ever more commendable. I also want to thank so many other health bloggers who are always such inspiring individuals. All sharing the same passion to make a positive difference to themselves and others.