As a blogger, working with brands was a major goal of mine. I didn’t want to just work with anyone. I wanted to believe in the products, because if I’m going to support something, I want to genuinely like it. When I finally starting working with brands, it made me feel accomplished and determined to keep pushing myself and my blog.
In this last year and few months, I’ve been working out and finding workouts that make me happy. These workouts have made me realize that I love my body more than ever, and that love didn’t come from weight loss, toning, or any specific exercise result. I fell in love with my body, because I was seeing my capabilities. My body confidence also came from loving myself even when I don’t workout.
When it comes to fitness, I have to find the right balance, because if I push too hard or focus on losing weight, I could go to extremes. I have been successful these last 5 years without any major relapses from my bulimia. I’ll admit, I’ve had weak moments and slip ups, but I am able to pick myself back up and try again.
Working out was something I initially did as a punishment to my body. I would run until I was sick. I would hurt myself with exercise, so finding balance these last few years has been wonderful. I feel like I can breathe again when fitness is mentioned.
I started documenting my health journey after my hysterectomy. Besides my eating disorder struggles, I have a history with tumors, cysts, endometriosis, and adhesions wrapping around my organs. I know, I’m a mess.
I’ve had so many stomach surgeries and minor operations, so working out helped me to recover slowly and rebuild muscle. Blogging about my health and fitness journey really helped my attitude towards my body. It was this slow but recovering, happy process.
Then Came Instagram
I avoided getting an Instagram for my blog for months. When I finally took the plunge, I really enjoyed it. I was able to also find communities to share my workout and health journey with.
A brand called Just Strong reached out and wanted me to become a brand ambassador. I filled out a form, picked out some cute workout clothes, and boom! I became a brand ambassador.
I loved their idea of strength rather than weight loss. They have such a good message. Too often do I see people promoting fad diets and unhealthy ways to lose weight. I was really proud of this company, and I was even more excited to be apart of it all.
Working Out as Usual
I kept up my workouts and would do my brand posts. I included all of the hashtags they tell ambassadors to use, and I shared my discount code for my blog readers and Instagram followers. It felt wonderful.
Then, I started get more and more messages from fitness coaches asking if I wanted to see “real results.” It hurt. I hated that they thought I was working out to achieve this skinny ideal. Skinny doesn’t always mean healthy, and I would never tell someone their results aren’t real.
It upset me and made me take a big step back. I had to look at my routines and really consider my mental health, because I was catching moments where I was being an internal mean girl to myself. So, I made a post about it. Blogging really helps keep me on the right track sometimes.
I don’t want to workout to change my body. I workout to be kind to my body. I workout for strength. I workout for ME and not numbers on a scale, but I saw that slowly getting away from me. Taking a small break and focusing on my blog helped me reset my mind.
I would never tell a skinny person to eat more, and I would never tell a curvy person to go to the gym or eat less. You can’t tell what someone’s internal health is just by looking at them. If you’re not a doctor, mind your damn business please.
I tried reminding myself that it’s not the brand’s fault that people can be cruel and pigheaded. So, I kept going. I starting exercising the right way again, and I didn’t get mad for taking rest days. I found my balance. During all of that, I decided to start a body positive book.
Once I hit the halfway point with the draft of my book, I felt incredible. I’m still very excited about this book, and I promise you all that my heart and soul is going into it. What changed my mind about this brand was something I couldn’t ignore no matter how body positive I was trying to be.
Facebook Group Negativity
Being an ambassador for this brand meant following group boards and being involved in their community. I started seeing a lot of comments I was uncomfortable with. I tried ignoring them, but it became too much.
I saw a woman ask how to lose her “lower pooch” on this group page. The comments were a lot of other women telling her to try fasting workouts, cleanses, more fasting, waist trainers, and a lot of fad diets. There were literally hundreds of comments on ways to lose weight unhealthily. From that moment, I knew I had to breakup with this brand.
It’s Not Me, It’s You
Whether it’s the brands fault or not, I can’t be apart of something that has community members that promote disordered eating and unhealthy weight loss tips. I strive to keep my mental health in a positive state as much as possible, and being part of group boards like that will do me no good.
I want to promote loving your body at any size. I want people to know that you don’t have to equate working out with being unhappy with your body. Like I’ve said before, I don’t workout for weight loss. Exercise helps my anxiety. It helps me to clear my mind and just be present. I don’t use it as a weight loss tool, and I wouldn’t put someone down if they did.
I will continue to support the fitness coaches that don’t use negative comments as a way to grow their business. I will support people who workout for health and happiness. I will support your journey as long as you don’t hurt yourself or others.
Time for Goodbyes
I’m sorry, Just Strong. You have a wonderful message, and your workout gear is so comfortable. Some of the clothes really made me feel empowered, but I can’t continue to be apart of a community that I don’t fully agree with. I know there is no way to control the words and actions of others, but removing myself from the brand is what’s best for my mental health.
Brands & Sponsors
I get asked a lot about brands and sponsored posts. I’m sure I’ll do a blog post in the next week or two, since I have some companies I’ve teamed up with lately. I just think it’s important to honestly enjoy what you promote. Reviewing and promotion aren’t the same.
I review products, and whether they were gifted or it’s a paid opportunity, I give my honest opinion. If I promote a product or service, it’s because I believe in it, and it has my support. I would never not give an opinion that isn’t my own, and I definitely wouldn’t promote something I disagree with. Stay tuned for most about working with my brands.
I hope that you can all find beauty in yourselves just as you are. I will continue to support those who live and practice a healthy lifestyle. I will always be here to help others who struggle with body image. I can’t wait for the next step of my journey.
My book will hopefully be done before summer ends, so you can learn how to love your body at any stage, whether you workout or not and no matter what size jeans you wear. All bodies are beautiful.