Some of you may have seen the latest article from the Daily Mail Online titled:
Exposed: The sick truth behind the great ‘wellness’ blog craze taking social media by storm and one online star battling a secret fitness addiction
The article focuses around my friend Celia and her struggles to find balance in the fitness world and blames this on social media, namely instagram.
First things first, I want to say that I have a huge amount of respect for Celia for being so honest and open. It takes a lot of courage to share a story like that, and I think that her intentions are great – to show that she is not perfect and that balance should be prioritised. However, I think that the article as a whole is completely one-sided.
The article describes fitness bloggers like myself as ‘thin’ with ‘faked and photoshopped selfies’ who are ‘hiding eating disorders in plain sight and encouraging their followers to do the same’. These are bold statements and huge generalisations that are not to be taken lightly.
Fair enough, on social media there will be and are girls who are unbalanced. Girls who train too much and eat too little. Girls who do not promote a positive message. It is inevitable when millions of people use social media every single day. However for every one of these girls, there are ten who are sources of positive inspiration. The article portrays fitness bloggers and social media influencers like myself in a completely negative light. When in reality the online fitness community can be, and is, incredibly supportive and motivating in a healthy way.
Many bloggers, including myself, consciously try to promote balance. Heck, I just hosted ‘The Balance Event’ where guests ate ice cream and drank vodka. We show people the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. We show when we have an amazing training session, but also when we missed one. We show delicious nutritious salads, but also chocolate bars and pizza. We show that fitness is not the be all and end all, and that you can stay fit, healthy and strong without being restrictive or obsessive.
I, and many others, openly talk about social media and the images portrayed on there. We warn our followers to take our content with a pinch of salt. We admit to using filters, flattering lighting and tensing. I regularly do ‘reality check’ posts where I show myself not looking at my best. In fact my most liked picture is one where I show how different my abs look with and without the effects of lighting, tensing, angles and filters.
There are so many girls, thousands upon thousands, who share positive messages and fitspiration. Girls who show balance and remain realistic, achievable and relatable. I love the fitness social media community. I use it to find new recipe ideas, exercises and workouts. I use it to motivate me to get fitter, healthier and stronger. It provides an incredible support network for those trying to better their health and connects people from all over the world with like minded individuals.
I understand that the Daily Mail like to cause controversy and that their content is intended to shock. But I feel like the dramatisation and one-sided nature of this article required a response; one from someone who is an active part of the online fitness community. I would love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to drop me a tweet, Facebook message or instagram comment and join in the discussion.