Dear readers,

by Jemma Andrew-Adiamah on July 20, 2012

in Friday Feature Posts

Initially I was going to call this blog post “The honest truth…” but over the past few days when coming back to add to it, I felt like I was directly speaking to my readers and more like a letter than anything else.

Recently my mind-set about a lot of things in my life where my eating and fitness are concerned has changed. I have now altered my perceptions on what I want to achieve in these areas of my life like I have mentioned before, I’m now looking to be happy and healthy. I’ve spoken about this a lot recently, but have yet to go into any great detail.

Just to warn you this is quite a lengthy post so please bear with me. This post addresses my current journey to wanting to be happy and healthy, fitness goals and my changes that I have made to my diet.

When I started reading blogs I was overwhelmed with the idea that there are so many inspiring people out there who are able to enjoy wholesome and nutritious food as part of a healthy lifestyle without being restrictive, as I had been previously during my teens and early 20s. Feeling totally empowered I embarked on modifying by own diet so it full fresh produce, whole grains and lean protein; after which I decided to start my own blog as an outlet to share my new found passion and creativity with like-minded individuals.

Blogging has really allowed me express my thoughts and feelings with others about areas of my life that people in my social circle probably aren’t really interested in. I’m so grateful that I discovered blogging when I did as it has made me come to so many realisations that I never thought were possible.

Over the last 6 months there has been a massive decrease in the amount of exercise that I carry out each week. I used to workout 6 days a week without fail, with each workout lasting for at least an hour and a half. There was also the feeling of guilt and anxiety if I felt that I hadn’t committed my all to the workout. Looking back I can see that this could have been dangerous and something had to be done.

The amount of cardio I was doing was crazy and to think of the stress that I was putting on my poor body. Since starting my latest job in January, preparing to finish my PhD, planning a wedding, a relocation on the cards and the usual stress of everyday life I became constantly tired and exhausted with very little time for anything else. To deal with this I decided to give myself an extra rest day in the week and so far it has worked perfectly in terms of my tiredness. It was difficult to get my head around with working out less and admittedly I tried to compensate by eating less in fear of any weight gain. At one point I was also working out that little bit harder too.

I’m lucky in the fact that I’m not over-weight. My BMI is pretty much spot on for my height, if a little lower than where I want it to be, but that is something that I am working on. Recently I have started to embrace my body and have become proud of my curves. I’ve realised that it’s great to have curves and my previous workout routine suggested the contrary. Now I know that it’s not necessary for me to work out like mad. Instead my workout routine is based on gentle cardio, yoga and strength training which just works so much better for me right now. I cannot remember the last time that I ran more than 6 miles and I haven’t been on the treadmill for ages either. I’m really enjoying my workouts at the moment and for me that is so important.

Currently I am also in a great place where my eating is concerned too. Over the past few weeks I have been reviewing some of my older posts and have noted that in some respects that I was being rather restrictive, not in my portion sizes but in the range of food that I ate. All of my food was plant based, no dairy, and I have also given eaten meat although I still occasionally eat fish. Also, my carbohydrate intake was also low. Since then I have looked into eating eggs and white cheeses and recently enjoyed eating yoghurt too. I don’t know if I will ever eat meat again, but I am enjoying eating just fish at the moment when I feel that I need it. I’m now eating a great variety of food full of healthy greens, fruit, fats, whole grains, pulses and naughty treats too! Before, it was obvious that I was depriving myself especially with the healthy fats, but right now I am quite happy to eat lots of avocados, full fat coconut products and eat nut butter straight up from the jar in copious amounts. Geez, I was missing out!

In September it will be two years since I started this blog and as the months have passed I can see that as my healthy living journey continues my relationship with food is growing amazingly. I no longer over eat and seem to know just the right amount of food to eat to keep me satisfied and have gotten into the habit of eating only when I am hungry. It has taken so long to get this far but I am quite proud of myself that I have.

As a healthy living blogger and as the blog has grown, I do feel a massive weight of responsibility on my shoulders to my readers. To be honest I did feel some kind of pressure on myself to “keep up appearances” and project this image of a super healthy blogger who works out a zillion hours a day. In the early days it seems that the ideology of my blog “…on a quest for that healthy balance!” became lost, but now it is back with a vengeance and definitely an important focus in my life. In essence I needed to change things for myself and my own life as my previous lifestyle just wasn’t working for me anymore. I hope no one feels upset or let down, but in truth I personally think is far healthier to make changes like this for a happier healthier lifestyle rather than continuing to harm my body. The changes I have made have been working great for me and I have never been happier and healthier and in my opinion that is what counts.

Wow! This has become quite an essay, but I felt that this post was long overdue and I like to be entirely honest on my blog. If you made it to the end then thank you, and if you gave up thank you for taking the time and effort to read this very long post.

Have you changed you workout routine in accordance with your changing lifestyle?

How has your relationship with food changed over the years?

As a blogger do feel a sense of responsibility to your readers to uphold a certain image? And as a reader what do you have any expectations from the blogs that you read?

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Kat @ a dash of fairydust July 20, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Jemma,I so much appreciate this post,honestly.
You are absolutely right,NOTHING,and I mean really NOTHING is as important as your health and your happiness. Period.
I read your blog because I enjoy it; I enjoy your style of writing,the topics you talk about,I enjoy reading about what makes you happy and what upsets you. Basically,I read your blog because I want to get to know you better and because I think that you’re a wonderful person – REGARDLESS your workout routine or your eats.
You really don’t need to be worried about disappointing anyone by eating not as “clean” and whatever as other bloggers might do. In my opinion,a lot of people are much too obsessed with “healthy living” anyways; what they do – eating only fruit,vegetables and “clean” protein sources; no grain,no sugar and whatever – is NOT healthy anymore.
Please focus on yourself,Jemma,and do what’s best for you. You truly deserve it.

Lisa @ The Raw Serenity July 20, 2012 at 9:40 AM

This is what healthy bloggers are ment to write, so thank you!
I found after following some blogs I began to feel guilty if I didn’t exercise for over an hr every single day after comparing my workouts o theirs.
This is not healthy and as a health blogger it is a responsibility to share healthy advice to support people’s well beings not Disorders.
I thank you for realizing this and hopefully we can get a community of healthy-health bloggers x

Bronagh July 20, 2012 at 10:24 AM

I think this post sums up the TRUE meaning of being a ‘healthy living’ blogger… it’s NOT about working out for hours and depriving yourself of delicious food, it’s about being realistic and honest and living life to the fullest. I just don’t enjoy reading blogs where the blogger is intent on constantly pushing themselves at the gym/running etc and clearly not eating enough… I think most readers like myself just can’t (and don’t want to) relate to that lifestyle. I’m so glad you’re at a happy place now and I must say, I’m enjoying reading your blog more than ever lately :)

Jess July 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

It’s interesting the evolution the blog world in general goes through – the community as a whole seems to be becoming more relaxed about things. It’s just a shame that it takes one or two people to make everyone else realise that it’s ‘okay’ to ease off on things if that’s what would help physically and mentally.

I am quite ‘lucky’ in the respect that I never set myself up to be ‘healthy’ or a role model – I’ve had all of my failings out there from the very beginning, although perhaps in 2012 I have been more…fearless, in presenting my slightly controversial take on what constitutes a ‘happy’ weight for me, though I’d never push those aesthetic preferences on anyone else.

xxx

Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle) July 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Obviously I can relate to a lot of this considering the posts I’ve written recently, and I think Jess makes an excellent point about how, as a blogging community, we seem to be evolving together. I would never worry about keeping up appearances for the sake of the blog. One thing I’ve always maintained on my blog is keeping it real, even when I was working out too much but believed then it was right for me, I was just honest about that. That’s how people can truly relate to us and one thing I’ve learned is that we really are better inspirations for healthy living by sharing these struggles and realisations. xxx

Nicky@kabochafashionista July 20, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Oh lovely, big hugs to you. I totally agree with what Jess and Laura have pointed out that you can definitely see all of our journeys to what is really ‘healthy living’ for each of us. I can definitely relate to everything you say but obviously my unhealthy habits were an extreme of an eating disorder. I restricted too much, was terrified of fats and carbs at first and exhausted myself beyond belief with exercise, at one point doing over 3 hours of cardio a day – absolutely INSANE. Blogging has definitely helped me too, helped me to make my own journey and to find a healthy balance by at first being inspired by other people, but then to see how I was living wasn’t working for me, wasn’t healthy in the long term and now I have never been so happy. If I don’t work out for a week, I honestly don’t mind…like I haven’t this week actually! And I eat fats and carbs like it’s my job now, something that I would never have seen coming a couple of years ago! But I’m incredibly happy with how relaxed I am now. Life is too short and there is so much else to life than food and exercise and it’s just a part to make us feel better about ourselves..along with a lot of other things, family, friends, having fun and going out. It’s all about balance and that’s what healthy living really is :)

Nicole Marie Story July 20, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Gorgeous post.
It must feel lovely, being on the brink of entering into marriage with such a gorgeous mind and body. You will radiate as a bride!
You know my story, so I shan’t bore you with it.
Just wanted to say congratulations on your constant evolution to a healthier you. x x x

AnnaTheApple July 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

I think this is a great post. I really know what you mean about trying to find a real healthy balance. I still have a few demons that I have to fight to stop myself from feeling guilty for eating something not healthy or not working out one day or long enough. I’m fairly new to the blogging world and sometimes it can be really tough when you read other people’s blogs and they’ve worked out a million hours every day and then zapped up an amazingingly super-healthy meal. You just feel a bit like “jeeze, am I not doing enough?? What else can I do?” But, like you said, you have to find your own balance and grounding. Everyone is different. As long as you feel healthy that’s all that matters :)

Lauren (@poweredbypb) July 20, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Great post, I think it takes time to kind of find your own balance. I’m still searching for it, but hopefully will get there at some point. I know I am still doing too much exercise especially now I am busy with work, and I will be reassessing this in the next few weeks. It’s hard because I am marathon training so I want to do my best and train hard, but I need to find a balance between that and other things. I’m still struggling a lot with food, like there are a lot of things I won’t eat, or I cut out, and I know if I eat them I would feel really guilty. I have tried to stop counting calories over the last few weeks, and try to find the right kind of balance in terms of eating, but this is something I am still struggling with. I know I am heading in the right direction though. I think I’m a really bad perfectionist in all aspects of my life, and lately I have realised that I don’t have to be 100% perfect all the time, sometimes less than perfect is good enough, and I need to start remembering that and believing in it. Glad you have found what works for you.

runningcupcake July 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM

It’s weird- I never see myself as being a role model- I just ramble on about things and am surprised that people read! I think being ill meant that I could not do any exercise, but I still found things to write about, and I still had lovely comments even when I wasn’t going running or anything. I think really, people should blog for themselves, and if people want to read then lovely, but really if no-one reads it doesn’t really matter either.

sprint2thetable July 21, 2012 at 4:54 AM

I am so blown away by this post. I have felt the exact same way before. In fact, last Friday I wrote a post about how I was worried I’d get harassed since I’ve started eating fish again. Seeing all of the comments I got (and not one piece of hate mail, btw), I feel silly for stressing about it. but you are so right – we put pressure on ourselves to be a certain way when really people just appreciate honesty. This post is a prime example – I only love you more now! :)

Kailey July 22, 2012 at 1:58 AM

Honestly, I see some of these “HLB” promoting the very opposite – they are too strict, structured and rigid. I just want to feed some of them. Do what makes you HAPPY and Healthy!! It seems like you’ve found a great balance.

daisychain July 22, 2012 at 10:22 AM

I would quite like to stand up and applaud you for this post.

Living, Learning, Eating July 22, 2012 at 2:19 PM

This post made me super happy! That “super healthy” blogger, that “clean” eater, that overexerciser? To me, *that* is the epitome of unhealthy! I’m glad to finally find someone who thinks more like me about food and exercise :) Yay you!

Alaine @ My GF & DF Living July 22, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Thank you for your post. I love how open you are about your eating habits and food. I am so glad I found your blog because I feel like I am on your page about food and exercise. I enjoy running for stress relieving purposes but nothing over 2-3 miles. I also love desserts and could not give them up for anything. Thanks for posting! :)

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Thank you Elaine, I’m always completely honest on my blog as I feel that is the best way to be. I think that you have a great approach to your diet and fitness! :D

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Thanks lovely, I couldn’t agree more with what you have just said! :D

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Thank you so much!!! :D

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Oh Kailey I have definitely found what work for me now. It may Not be for everyone but I feel HAPPY AND HEALTHY doing it! :D

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Thanks Laura, you are a star! You are right everyone in the blogging community is really supportive and I shouldn’t have been nervous about posting this.

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I think you are so write. You should never blog for high statistics or comments, just be yourself and enjoy blogging for what it is.

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM

It is hard to progress and slow down a little when you have been working out so hard for so long. For me it was a gradual process. I’m sure you will find what works for you soon.

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM

I think it is natural to compare yourself to other bloggers and become influenced in that way. But really as long as what you are doing is working for you then you should stick to it and forget about the others. :D

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Thanks Nicole! Your kind words mean a lot! :D x

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Thanks Laura. I totally agree that it is important to be completely honest about our healthy living journeys during the bad and the ugly. I think people can really relate to us in that way and get a feeling that they are not alone in whatever it is they are going through.

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 12:01 PM

That is such an interesting thing to note Jess about the blogging world evolving together, you really do have great insights about theses things. I hope it continues to evolve the right way and doesn’t fall back on itself to promoting over-exercise and restrictive eating.

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Thanks lovely! I am so glad that you are enjoying my blog. I think you are right and excessive exercising and under eating really isn’t a true reflection of “real” peoples lives, definitely not mine anyways! :D

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I think there is definitely a revolution in the healthy living blogger community of portraying more healthier lifestyle habits. Hopefully it becomes a permanant fixture rather than just fashion.

Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes July 23, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Kat you are the most wonderful person, thank you so much! Your are so right that being happy and healthy is far more important than someones perception of you because you are not eating a certain way. x

eatinglikeahorse July 24, 2012 at 6:42 AM

It’s much healthier to work out in a way that suits you and eat what suits your body than to work out really hard every day, come what may and it shows what a brilliant place you’re in that you’ve found what suits you best, are doing it and feel better for it.
Enjoying exercise is what it’s all about, then it benefits your mental health as well as physical which is just as important. You’ve always been honest on this blog, it comes through in your writing, and that’s what people want… it’s your blog and you we like!
You look gorgeous and healthy and I’m so glad you’re in such a good place :-)

sonja July 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

I’m a little behind on catching up on blog posts, but I just wanted to comment on this post as a newbie to the blogging community. I follow different health food blogs for two years now, but only recently decided to start my own blog, just to be a closer part of this great and supportive community. I started to photograph my own meals and started to think over my eating pattern more thoroughly. I realised that, coming from a disordered eating background (I haven’t yet found the courage to share the full story on my blog) I have learned to appreciate whole foods, but that I still am restricting myself, not really allowing myself the occasional unhealthy stuff. But right from the get-go, this wonderful community, with voices like yours, make me realize that’s not what I want for myself, and not what I personnally think health should entail for me. I wonder where this blogging journey will take me two years along the way :-) thank you for your post.

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