It comes as a surprise to many that I don’t read MailOnline. I’ve never really had much desire to nor do I have any interest. There’s no particular reason, it’s just that if I have a spare few minutes it’s usually spent on Instagram or looking at my favourite blogs InTheFrow, L.E.M, Core Kitchen and Frock Me Im Famous. When I’m asked by friends “OMG did you see on sidebar of shame that….” No, I didn’t actually. It’s the same for me with women’s weeklies or gossip magazines, I just don’t really bother. Now that’s not to say I don’t judge those that do, obviously each to their own.
Recently in the blogger stratosphere there was a huge surge of people Instagramming and Tweeting a response to a MailOnline 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” – (did you manage to keep up with that long title)? For those who didn’t see it, the article went in to depth about Celia; a fitness blogger who is so obsessed with exercise and toning her petite body that she’s become sick – she rarely eats enough calories in the day and her health is at serious risk. She doesn’t have periods and she’s become obsessive and anxious over not being able to look like the Victoria Secret models etc.
To pre-warn you, what I’m about to say will be controversial…
Overall, the article was (quite) well researched and articulated Celia’s problems to the extent where you did feel sorry for this poor girl who has quite simply let her blogging lifestyle take over her mental and physical health. It’s important to note that this is just one case that they’ve reported on out of thousands of wellness blogs that exist. What’s annoyed people – and me – is the way the article insinuated that there is a sinister truth behind ‘the wellness blog craze’ in general. The article even cruelly suggested that a certain ambassador of a protein-shake company (I know who) “appeared muscular in photos but in real life is incredibly frail” (she is tall, has a naturally slender, athletic figure and eats a healthy diet to keep strong and fit). The article said that she “struggled breathlessly to get through the exercise class”. I’m sorry, do people not lose their breath and struggle to get through an exercise class sometimes? The article suggests that all wellness blogs in this ‘craze’ are made by weak, frail women with eating disorders and exercise obsessions when that simply is not the case.
Most wellness, diet and fitness blogs today are smart, well thought out and promote messages of eating well and having a clean, healthy mind and body. The MailOnline’s connotations elude to the fact that wellness blogs are bad and offer poor role models to todays society which in my view is not right at all. Surely we need to be doing all we can to educate people to the pro’s of clean living and exercising at least three times a week?
“There’s a hashtag #fitspo similar to #thinspo”…
What particularly bothered me about this article was the comment “there’s a hashtag #fitspo (a portmanteau of fitness-inspiration) similar to #thinspo”. To be clear, ‘thinspo’ (thin inspiration which the MailOnline state ‘was banned by Instagram for being a signal used by girls with eating disorders who refuse to accept they are unwell’) is used by girls who yes, want to be thin and are using images as inspiration to get thin. Not good. Fitspo however, is completely different. It is used by millions of dieters, Slimming World members, personal trainers, celebrities and people like me who struggle to maintain a certain weight and so look to images of athletes and strong minded individuals for motivation to stay fit and healthy. Fit is life saving, essential for concentration and for good physical condition so why are they slamming the term and hinting that it’s just like #thinspo? No it isn’t. Take Sunday Times Style for instance, they spent lots of money, time and effort in launching their incredible #fitnotthin campaign, proving that fit and thin are totally different. Search the hashtag #fitspo and you’ll see lots of quotes encouraging people to head to the gym, take the stairs, drink those two litres of water… pictures telling you to get your sleep, buy those new lovely pink leggings for exercising, even images of muscular people, runners and people pushing weights.
Look to the side of this article to the ‘sidebar of shame’. Headlines screaming “Anthea Turner, 55, looks youthful and fresh-faced as steps out in public for the first time since Botox and a boob-job confession” (right, so the 18 year old impressionable girl sees this is going to hate botox and boob jobs? no way). Or how about “Emily Ratajkowski shows off ample cleavage and lots of leg in plunging pale pink gown” (wow, doesn’t she look great, shall we all go out and get our assets out). Did you see that “Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo vows to make his mother proud after being confirmed as the ninth celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing”, (MailOnline I think there’s lots of other things news worthy that’s he’s done to make his mother proud).
Personally, if it wasn’t for the likes of Core Kitchen and the go-get-em attitude of other wellbeing and fitness bloggers, I would find it difficult to get motivated. I’m not saying that’s the only way to get inspiration but for me, it’s quick, easy and enjoyable. I love reading about advice on the best recipes for lactose intolerant people, or the best way to have a low calorie high protein chicken and leek burger made at home. Back in the summer, thanks to the inspiration I found on wellness blogs, I cut out chocolate, alcohol and excessive binge eating. Instead I opted for working out three to four times a week before work, upping my salads and protein and getting a lot more water and sleep. The result? I felt better, looked healthier and had more determination and organisation. I felt fresh, awake and something which I really struggle with – I felt happy.
What it comes down to ultimately is not slamming ‘wellness crazes’ but educating people – especially younger generations – on how to not accept everything they see on the internet, teach people how to interrogate information and compare sources (as commented by a reader). Showing people how to use this filter can encourage people to make educated choices and seek a better life for themselves.
What do you think about wellness and fitness blogs? What did you think of the article on MailOnline? Comment below.