The Honest Truth: Conforming to Social Media Stereotypes & Going Back to Basics

img_5573

Prepare yourselves, this one is going to be long. It’s long because I am writing to tell you that my Instagram has become something that I’m not, and I feel like a fraud.

 

When I started my account, I was doing bodyweight workouts, HIIT, running, practising yoga, eating natural, healthy food and caring about where my food came from. I stuck with this for a while but it wasn’t long before I started to conform. Suddenly, weightlifting women were everywhere, looking strong, some might even be considered ‘bulky’ and social media started to give the impression that if you don’t lift weights, can you even be a fitness blogger? Cue my weightlifting phase. Without much of a clue of what I was doing, I started using heavy weights. And yes, it changed my body, but not in the way that I’d planned. Don’t get me wrong, I love my body – not in an arrogant way but it’s strong, fit, healthy and capable. However, I started to gain quite a lot of muscle, and suddenly my arms began to feel too muscular – I’m still slightly self-conscious about them now.

 

The truth is, I preferred my own HIIT circuits, which were mostly bodyweight-based, sometimes with equipment and lighter weights, usually sweaty and intense. I was sacrificing something that I enjoyed doing to come across a certain way. I do enjoy my heavy weights sessions, but they made up the majority of my workout regime and I started to miss other methods of training. Please note that I am not saying that weightlifting is bad and I’m not going to stop weightlifting altogether – I’ll still do heavier weight-based workouts when I feel like it, but I’m going to be doing them less often and prioritising my own workouts instead, involving lighter weights, along with running, yoga, and calisthenics, all of which I prefer. I actually love cardio – something which has been demonised in favour of weights across social media. This is NOT me saying don’t lift heavy weights, this is me saying do what makes YOU happy, not what makes social media happy.

 

 

I ate junk food more often than I needed to, to show that I could rather than because I wanted to – that said, I do enjoy Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter cup ice cream, but the truth is, I prefer raw or dark chocolate to cheap, poor-quality milk chocolate and prefer raw vegan cake to your average cake. I’ll eat something ‘unhealthy’ if I want it, but it will be because I want it. Not because I want to show my followers that I can. I tried the artificially-sweetened protein bars that appeared on my Instagram feed and before I knew it, I wasn’t ‘doing’ me anymore. The original me, the me who focused on wholesome nutrition and REAL food, had fallen for these fads. I was eating things such as these disgusting ‘fake chocolate’ protein bars that I pretended to enjoy but actually left me really bloated due to their dodgy ingredients, purely to share with my followers and I was training regularly with heavy weights to fit a stereotype that didn’t fit me. I was neglecting my own principles in favour of something that wasn’t worth it. Again, I’ll have a bar if I want one, but it will be because I want one, and it certainly won’t be a regular occurrence.

 

img_9156

 

Furthermore, when I was new to Instagram, I remember seeing posey mirror selfies everywhere and hating them. To me they didn’t seem to represent ‘self love’ like people claimed; they seemed to resemble vanity and narcissism. But I saw how many likes these selfies got, so after plenty of internal struggles, I started to share mine occasionally. And before I knew it, I was posting similar mirror selfies purely for social approval, to gain likes, followers, attention. I would spend too long taking selfies, trying to make myself look ‘acceptable’, taking too many to find ‘the’ perfect one. It allowed me to criticise my body, it made me feel insecure and I hated it. And yet something stuck with me – my hate for selfies was still there, and after secretly hating myself for falling for this, I would delete my selfie only a few days after posting it, sometimes less. You may have noticed that all of my selfies have now gone from my Instagram feed, and I took pleasure in deleting them last night. I have never liked them, I have never felt comfortable posting them and it felt amazing to ‘clean’ my own Instagram gallery. I’m not condemning all selfies, I like to see the faces behind the food and I think the odd selfie makes an Instagram account more personal, it’s just that I find some selfies seem particularly posey and appear to be more attention-seeking than just checking in with their audience. I’m sure some people post them with good intention and they’re not all motivated by vanity or insecurity, but these particularly posey selfies are just not for me. You might find me posting one occasionally if there’s no photographer nearby and I want to check in with you in a more personal way, or share an outfit with you, but you won’t find me posting them with the aim of social approval anymore.

 

IMG_6871

 

This summer, the words ‘cutting’ and ‘shredding’ seem to be everywhere, with big influencers talking about how they are going to get lean or achieve their ‘bikini bodies’ for summer. I started to get caught up in it. I calculated my macros, I started to track my food on My Fitness Pal, feeling so motivated to become a part of this, to ‘get lean’ for summer. But this is a dangerous game and one that’s hard to stop. I have always called myself an intuitive eater, someone who does not count macros or calories, but eats sensibly and listens to their body. Again, this macro-tracking, calorie-counting phase was not making me happy and it just wasn’t me. Why was I doing this to get a ‘bikini body’? I have a bikini body. It’s the same body that you’ll see me with in winter. I eat well and exercise regularly all year round, and my body reflects that. So I’ve stopped my bizarre ‘cutting’ phase which was purely a result of various influencers on social media. I still have My Fitness Pal as I like to occasionally check the nutrients and macronutrients of particular food products (you may have noticed I have an interest in nutrition!) and I still weigh out certain food products like oats and yoghurt so that I know I’m getting the right portion size, but I will no longer be tracking my daily food intake – it might work for some but it does no favours for my mindset.

 

On a similar topic, my fitness tracker has gone from my wrist. I have replaced it with a classic watch that tells me nothing other than the date and time. I never wanted a fitness tracker because I thought it would make me obsess over numbers – I didn’t want to know or care about how many calories I burned, how many steps I walked or flights of stairs I climbed. I wanted to live my life not worrying about all that. Yet I was a fitness blogger, and a fitness blogger without a fitness tracker is rare. So against my better judgement, I got one. And I was of course, right. It became a nuisance, and I preferred blissful ignorance.

To conclude this post, I will no longer be posting things that deviate from who I am. My aim has always been and continues to be to inspire others to lead a healthy life, as well as documenting my own along the way.

So here we are. At the end of my post. How do I feel? Exposed. Ashamed. Proud. Relieved. I feel so happy to be going back to my principles and what I believe in. Laugh at me by all means but I feel emotional (eye roll, I know) and I feel a mixture of relief to announce this and get this off my chest, but also sadness at how easily I was swayed by social media. I truly apologise if you feel lied to, or as if I have been entirely false, which I haven’t, as this was not my intention.

I hope you all continue to follow my ‘journey’ (cliché I know) and stay up to date with what I’m up to as I take my approach back to basics and continue being The Wholesome Hunter.

 

Lauren x

 

Follow:
Youtube

5 Comments

  1. 2nd June 2017 / 8:49 am

    Absolutely love this post. Incredibly well written and I really relate to everything that you’re saying. Thank you x

    • Lauren
      2nd June 2017 / 9:39 am

      Thank you Ellen! I’m so glad you think so x

  2. Harpa Selim
    2nd June 2017 / 10:24 am

    Thank you for veing honest enought to write and share this post. I’m really happy for you that you have been able to recognise and tackle this issue for yourself and am excited to see what your future ‘journey'(it’s a good cliché) will bring!

    • Lauren
      2nd June 2017 / 10:33 am

      Thank you Harpa! Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your support! X

  3. Jeannie Hunter
    2nd June 2017 / 11:53 am

    An excellent post Lauren. You look lovely and are very fit and healthy so keep up the good work! Am very proud of you, (as you would expect!). X

Leave a Reply