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Motivating or Destructive?

Posted Feb 10 2013 9:33am

I’ve just read one of the best blog posts ever. In this  post about “Blogger Responsibility”, Amanda has pretty much summed up my current thoughts on “Health” and fitness bloggers . If any of you have suffered from an eating disorder , self esteem issues or exercise addiction, it is easy to visit a blog and pick up on the worrying, familiar signs that once plagued your own daily life…….and no matter how “recovered” you are, they can still act as a trigger.

Since I had my little boy in September, I’ve found it very difficult to maintain a regular fitness regime. It’s literally a case of exercising when I can. Coming from someone who has always lived an extremely active lifestyle , this is something I continue to struggle with. A lot. I used to love challenging myself in the gym and blogging was a positive, motivating factor involved in this. I had the time to read fitness blogs, try new workouts and give myself new goals. All was well on the surface- exercise made me feel synthetically good about myself.

Then pregnancy happened. I was petrified that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the changes that happened to my body and to life in general.  I’m not going lie, some days have been tough. It doesn’t take much for those familiar, old though processes to start weaving their way through my head. “Look at your stomach now”. “You’ve lost your strength, speed, energy”. “Oh god all I want to do is have a workout”. “You’re fat”. “Will I ever feel good about myself again?”. I take long walks with my baby – 5, 6 , 7 miles of pushing the buggy, only to feel like I haven’t done enough…..

….Now that I’m a mum who has her hands full, I’ve seen the flip side to the “motivational” posts flying around the web. Distance, speed, CALORIES BURNED, pictures of flexed muscles….sigh…Honestly? If I see another bare midriff or flexed bicep I might cry! Such things are not motivating to me any more. They make my self esteem plummet and make me feel frustrated because I can’t just lace up my trainers and run….

So I’m with Amanda on keeping some things personal. Those blasted little numbers that creep into your head and become your virtual competitor in the gym? – yeah I don’t want to know. 12345 cals burned? Yeah…not healthy. I believe that the recovery from anorexia is phasic, with one of those phases involving exercise addiction for many sufferers. With a tendency for perfection being common in the anorexic community, you can see why this further leads to an obsession with being toned, fit and eating the “perfect” diet (orthorexia).  I was there once. Stuck in that blasted phase. Toned, fit, trapped by obsession. Looking at numbers, photos and being motivated by others who were trapped in the exact.same.phase.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a fine line between motivating and triggering ones readers when it comes to health, food and fitness. Furthermore, the reaction of the reader to a post will be strongly governed  by their current circumstances. Of course, we all write our own blogs for different reasons but if we are struggling as a reader then it may be that we have to step away from certain blogs altogether.

At present, I’ve got my usual little list of favourite blogs. I’ve read most of them for years and will continue to do so because they add sunshine to my day and a smile to my face. Written by women who inspire me, they continue to remind me what blogging is really about for me – friendship, health and happiness :-) Ooohh….and of course I need regular inspiration as to what to have for tea ;-) Titch , Laura , Christina , Jemma – thank you ladies:-)

All being said, although I still have moments where I struggle with the past, I am fully aware that having a baby often involves feeling like crap sometimes! And although I can’t indulge in my passion for fitness as much, my life and my heart have never been so full. I wouldn’t change it for the world and it’s amazing to feel a strong, worthwhile sense of priority in my life that doesn’t involve a set of dumbbells.

Love from Emma


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