The Elephant in the Room: On Being an Overweight Health and Fitness Blogger

The Elephant In The Room
I'm an overweight health & fitness blogger. 

There we go, I've just said out loud the very thing that's been holding me back from talking about my blog to strangers around the swimming pool on holiday, or even the medical staff taking my blood when I took part in a pre-eclampsia study a couple of months ago. 

You see up to this point, I've felt ashamed to call myself a health & fitness blogger, in fear of being judged for the weight I'm currently at. I've skirted around what I do and even told people I blog about lifestyle or mental health. It's not massively far from the truth, as I do cover mental health and mindset, but as my blog's name gives away, I focus on health, fitness and body confidence.

I'm sure that many people would think that to have a passion for health and fitness, I should be thin, right? Eat all the right foods? Perhaps even aspire to be a PT? Take gym selfies for my Instagram. Well I'm not, and I don't. My BMI puts me in the overweight category and I'm still working on my emotional eating, although since leaving behind a very emotionally draining career in Social Work, I've made huge improvements in this area. Nevertheless, detangling my eating habits from my mental health is a bigger challenging than reversing pre-diabetes. 

Helping my 1 year old son jump waves on holiday this month

So if I'm such a 'work in progress', why is 'someone like me' blogging about health & fitness?

Karen Oliver Beyond The Bathroom Scale
The life changing progress I made
before launching Beyond The Bathroom Scale
What people don't see when they just look at my appearance and judge me for my blog topic of choice, is that I'm no longer obese, I've reversed pre-diabetes and hypertension, I've dramatically improved my physical fitness, I've taught myself to cook and a lot about the basic principals of nutrition and perhaps even more life changing, I've conquered my life long battle with disordered eating (both food phobia and binge eating; growing up watching my mum struggle with anorexia totally screwed up my relationship with food.) Even when it comes to emotional eating, I'm now a lot more mindful of it and find myself turning to food for comfort much less frequently, with the exception of times of crisis when my time, thinking space and willpower have all just been drained to the max by other issues. 

After achieving all of this, I was bound to develop a passion for talking all things health and fitness. I've witnessed first hand what a difference focusing on your health, both physically and mentally, can make to your life. 

For me, I would find a health blogger with a back story or perhaps even an ongoing struggle, far more motivating to read about than I would of someone who hasn't gone through any of these issues and simply posts loads of gym selfies while telling everyone who is overweight that they're just lazy or not committed enough. 

Karen Oliver Beyond The Bathroom Scale
First alcoholic drink in goodness knows how many months... years, perhaps, since I'm teetotal 99% of the time!
If you're the kind of person reading this to look at me and think I'm not "committed enough" to my health and fitness, because I'm still overweight, then you have zero comprehension of the sheer strength, determination and psychological transformation it takes to overcome two eating disorders. For me, that far outweighs (pun not intended) anything the scale says. 

So that, dear reader, is why despite being the elephant in the room (metaphorically, and to some people, literally) I still blog about health and fitness, and feel so passionate about it. 

This blog started with me documenting my weight loss journey, and it will continue with me documenting my research and conversations with experts in nutrition, exercise and psychology, as well as my personal experiences along the path of tackling my health mindset.

I feel particularly passionate about debunking fads and diet myths, I love tracking down qualified experts for opinions and research, and then sharing it with my readers. 

I also like giving a nod to the body confidence or #bopo movements, because I strongly believe you have to accept your body and yourself in order to be successful with making lasting physical changes to improve your overall health. 

My most recent passion is for the mindset and mental health aspect of our overall wellbeing, hense my new website over at www.healthmindset.co.uk, which will be the home to The Health Mindset Programme, launching its first course this Autumn. In this programme, I'll be drawing on the skills I developed in my professional background (psychology and counselling skills within a social work setting) and adapting them, with the help and research of health experts, to suit the needs of busy women in need of motivation, time hacks, help with emotional eating and body confidence. If you like the sound of this programme, you can join the waiting list, below.

In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy my blog :) 

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