An apology

DEE7D881-3233-469C-BE55-FA38D47677C7Something has been on my mind over the last few months, and exams and various things have meant it’s taken me FOREVER to get around writing this.

But over the last year or so, I’ve MASSIVELY re-educated myself about nutrition, about self-care, about the science of health and looking after ourselves. I’m so excited that Instagram is starting to have healthier advice from qualified professionals seep out there – from @thefoodmedic, a junior doctor to @rhitrition, a Harley Street nutritionist, and from there it’s trickling down to influencers and professional bloggers, and also out to the wider world – including your at-home-normal-girl-online (like me!) who just takes an interest but doesn’t work in the field.

This dawning realisation of how qualified advice is key, and of how to truly look after 12801480_10154017394389571_243980647230974058_nmyself made me realise something: even when I thought I’d recovered from eating disorders I was still obsessive, counting calories and macros made me miserable, I tried crazy tips and tricks I’d find online…  I was exhibiting damaging behaviours, but because I have always documented my journey on Instagram, I was sharing them. 

I am not an “influencer”. I’m just a girl online. I’m not a nutritionist. I’ve never pretended to be able to give advice in any official sense, but the problem with sharing our lives on social in the health and wellness sphere is inevitably there will be people who give something you’ve tried a whirl.

Social gives you a channel that if what you say reaches even one person, it can have an effect.

So I am writing this to say I’m sorry.

Obviously everything I’ve ever written is just my opinion and so I can’t be responsible for anyone copying or trying anything, I know that, but I still want to write this to make clear that moving forward I want to distance myself even more from the obsessive ‘weight loss’ and ‘clean eating’ online movements… clearly each and every one of us takes responsibility for our own health (unless you hire qualified practitioners who then presumably assume responsibility for any good or ill effects of you implementing their official advice), and I’m not under any ego-centric illusion that me essentially sharing my health and fitness ‘diary’ has changed lives…

12809559_10154022763194571_8624223923645781642_nBUT I am sorry for sharing things about my journey, my experience, any informal advice or tips when they were wrong (as I now believe them to be – obviously at the time I was excited by them, and believed in them! And there are evidently people who still do). I think posts of mine even a year ago mention macro counting. I’m sure that for certain people this works fine, but it’s not something I’d now want to promote personally at all.

It has never been my intention to mislead, but in genuinely believing stuff that was wrong myself, what I intended doesn’t matter – maybe I contributed to promoting unhealthy habits in the past entirely mistakenly. Trying to convince myself that obsessing about macros made me feel great might have made someone else do the same, possibly, and I’m sorry for that.

I’m sorry for sharing so much on #cleaneating in the past. (I think this movement started off as well-intentioned – to encourage increased consumption of whole foods, vegetables, and reduction of over-processed, super sugary products… but the way it caught on has led to the rise of orthorexia in recent years (see the book ReNourish, by Rhiannon Lambert, and also there are various documentaries you can watch on this) and it is tricky, to be fair, to find vocabulary to express these ideas without them being loaded and causing problems!).

I’m sorry for not finding the right path sooner, and for falling prey to pseudoscience and myths in the hope they’d be quick fixes.

I’m sorry that society hasn’t yet fully embraced sensible healthy living and still encourages diet culture.

Of course I’m still sharing my journey but I’m trying to cite sources, to seek scientific verification before I try things out for myself let alone talk about them in public online, and to constantly emphasise that we can’t take information we find on Instagram as correct without fact-checking from credible sources – and that includes not just blindly believing hobby bloggers like me!

We have all probably accidentally pushed material around in the public sphere that with hindsight we realise actually wasn’t the right thing. I don’t think there are many people out there who do this deliberately (maybe with the exception of skinny/detox/diet teas and body wrap products!) But I think we can all try to be more responsible about how we use social media and ground what we say in sources that aren’t dubious in origin!

I hope this helps, and let’s all do our best to join the revolution of evidence-based health and nutrition and counteract diet culture!

(And in the event that anyone comes out of this post feeling a bit blue about social media, have a little read of this where I’ve shared my musings on the dangers but also the AMAZING BENEFITS of social!)

B xxxxx

PS. You might also like to have a mosey of this post on boosting body confidence

PPS. all images here are of recipes which you can find on this site, or on my Instagram!

PPPS. As if I haven’t said it enough, I think we should ALWAYS SEEK ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS about diet, nutrition and fitness. The internet might be great for inspiration, but your health is the most important thing and you need qualified individuals to help you make sure you’re making safe and sensible choices for your body. 

Bloggers, randoms like me, instagrammers (who aren’t nutritionists and doctors, and even when they are, they can’t give tailored advice without seeing you in clinic!) and internet forums aren’t sources of info you should copy unquestioningly, or even at all. Use them to investigate, but always always always verify. Have I emphasised this enough yet hehe?!!!

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10 thoughts on “An apology

  1. This is a bold post that not many bloggers would have the nerve to post. I am very impressed. I will say though, you don’t need to apologize for “not learning fast enough”. We will always be growing and learning more. Always shedding old beliefs. You can’t be expected to know it all from day one. While us as bloggers have the responsibility to deeply check our sources, we can’t try to take on the persona of being perfect. This was an issue I had to tackle early on because it was making live a fake life. If you ever need any help, just let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It’s really hit me recently that we demonise all the stuff we know to be « wrong » and then I realised I hadn’t acknowledged and addressed my contribution to that or my accountability so I wanted to share something on it.
      And I guess you’re right, hindsight is a wonderful thing and we can only learn as fast as we do, perfection doesn’t exist! Really appreciate the offer of help, so generous – I definitely will!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very brave post 🙂 I think that the movement to try and educate people that just because they read something online (e.g. about the best weight loss diet) it doesn’t mean that it’s good advice or will apply to them in their unique situation. Although, I do feel like the term ‘expert’ is thrown around too much at the moment and just because someone is qualified in one area doesn’t mean we should believe everything they say – for example, PT’s talking about how to reduce anxiety- I feel that’s based on their personal experience and not evidence based. As a psychologist that annoys me. (<- my rant over).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true – I always try to make clear if I ever talk about anxiety for example that you need to see a GP or qualified health professional and can only give my experiences of what has worked for me! & equally if something hasn’t worked eg CBT that doesn’t mean it’s not valid for someone else etc. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes- I’m not against people sharing their experiences 🙂 I just feel that some people on social media use their ‘expert’ status in one area to give advice about everything.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Definitely! Or even if they don’t mean to they don’t make it clear which can be confusing at best and dangerous at worst! I love that the internet is such a great source of free info but it is scary how easy it is For people to be lead astray by « expert » advice that’s not grounded in any kind of scientific or theoretical respected background!

        Like

  3. Well done you for sharing this! So important to say.

    I had to do something similar on my blog about a year ago and its scary. But you have nothing to be ashamed of. By being honest and sharing with your followers your journey you come across much better and much more trustworthy. No-one has the same opinion forever (hell, even science changes its mind over the years!) and the best thing about blogging is showing and sharing that change.

    Here’s my similar post:
    https://www.theflourishingpantry.com/home/2017/3/24/how-to-kill-off-a-blog-why-yeast-free-isnt-the-answer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thanksa for sharing this lovely, can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the support – I guess we can only learn as fast as we learn and try to be as honest and responsible as we can on the journey! Xx

      Like

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