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Lake Effect Series: How Blogging Enhanced My Eating Disorder

Note from Hollie:  After reading this story it took me a very long time to write my own personal note.  I also felt compelled to scrap my post for today and post this instead.  Since I’ve had the blog lolz throughout early to late college as well as post college I can relate on the personal note of blogging.  It goes to show that everyone is not exactly how you picture them from their blog.   This post had an effect on me because while I’m very transparent with readers I can see how easy it could be to hide something.  I think if I see something that makes me wonder I will probably send a polite email.  Anyways enough from me and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider donating.  I am 886/2000 dollars from my goal.  I am also looking for various companies and organizations to sponsor me so if you have any ideas or want to share your story please email me.

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Submitted by anonymous

I have read each story that Hollie has shared.  Each story I can relate to at some point.  I was never diagnosed but I if someone had caught on it would have been clear that I had an eating disorder.  I bounced back from anorexia, bulimia to exercise obsession.  Before you ask how I got away with doing all of this with no side eye, I was able to hide everything from my parents, my college roommate and my now husband.  I was also able to hide everything from my readers.  I had a healthy living blog.  With the exception of a few people, not one person ever questioned why I exercised as much as I did (at least not too my face).

Bulimia is the easiest to hide on the blogging world.  You don’t take a selfie puking at the toilet.

Anorexia wasn’t that hard either.  I never took pictures of a full day of eats.  If I had truthfully done a WIAW it would have been obvious.  Not obvious to others struggling with disordered eating but obvious to friends and family reading my blog.

As far as my work out obsession, I would document various classes I took at the gym.  I took zumba, I took step aerobics and body pump, yoga and Pilates.  I did all of this almost daily with doing an hour of cardio at the gym.  I was a member of 2 gyms so I easily got away with it. I normally decided to share 1 of the classes with my social media network as well as the hour of cardio.  So to the outward eye my day looked normal.

My cardio appeared 1 hour of elliptical and 1 hour of class.  When in reality I was doing 1 hour elliptical and 3-4 hours of class.

It really appeared in my blog that I spent 2 hours at the gym, ate blog worthy food and was going to college.  People would always tell me how great or I looked or what an inspiration I was but I was spending 4 hours in the gym daily, restricting food and occasionally binge and purging.  All of this I was able to hide completely from my parents and from the readers.

It doesn’t sound healthy to me typing it out.

I lived like this for about 1 year until I graduated college and started looking for a job.  I hated everywhere I looked and applied because it didn’t allow me to work out for four hours.  It didn’t allow me to eat strange food that my coworkers did not approve of.  (I could eat these foods but it was embarrassing).  I was now on someone elses schedule.  It also did not give me time to connect with people on the internet who read my blog.  When I look back I spent hours crying because I couldn’t tweet as much as I would like or update my blog as much as I would like.  I had to talk to people face to face at work who “didn’t get it”.  They didn’t get the food I was bringing in or why I wanted to work out for a few hours after work versus seeing my husband.

I ended up quitting four jobs in three years after college.  I loved working with children yet each job I was given a chance in, I hated.  I hated every job for the sole reason that I couldn’t live how I had been living in college.

I moved in with my boyfriend directly after graduation and we got married the following spring.  My husband finally asked why I was struggling so much.  I was able to silently hide my struggles from him too.  I slowly started leaving work early to go to the gym or I left for work early saying I had meetings.  I ended up spending 10 hours “at work” and then wanting to go for my workout once getting home after dinner.  He would also go to the gym for an hour so we spent the hour “together”. It took me a very long time to realize that blogging was at the core of my problem.    

As healthy as I “appeared” I was not.

I was waiting for compliments to feed my fire of working out.

I was waiting for compliments to tell me I was pretty and so athletic.

I was waiting for compliments to tell me that I ate healthy.

I was obsessed with making my blog number 1, interacting with other readers and bloggers and promoting everything.  As I continued to blog I knew I needed a break.  A clean break.

I was hiding so much from my readers and blogging was leading me down a self destructive path.  It was a talk with my husband that I knew I must quit.  I must leave the blogging world forever.  I knew that staying online would never allow me to properly heal.  I was right in all of those assumptions.  I left blogging over 2 years ago and have gone to lead a healthier life.  I have not restricted since, I have not binged and purged since and I do not spend 4 hours in the gym every day.  I spend 8 hours at my full time permanent job and I could not be happier.  I’m happy to also tell you my husband and I do other things besides working out together.

Sometimes I miss blogging but I know it was best for me to leave.   Now at age 28 I am leading the life I missed out on while I was blogging in my early 20s.

Thank you Hollie for allowing me to post this on your blog.  I wish I had posted it on mine a few years ago as a message to my own readers.

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11 responses

  1. Thank you for sharing this. This is probably one of the main reasons I never started my own HLB, because I knew that for me personally it would only encourage behaviors I needed to get away from and feed a fire that needed put out (or at least lessened).

    I’m so glad you are able to live a happier, more balanced life now. I appreciate your honesty on this topic.

  2. Thank you to whatever heartfelt writer wrote this. I think about these things frequently–social media platforms just feed into and drive the comparison trap. And then people stop being REAL because they want to be seen/portrayed in a pre-selected light.
    Hats off to this wonderful woman who realized what was causing the problems and took action!!

  3. Thank you to the person who wrote this – clearly I love blogging and the HLB community, but I think that stories like this are probably more common then one would think. The comparison trap and the drive to appear ‘healthy’ could definitely lead people down a dark path, and I honestly think that there’s a lot of misrepresentation in this platform. I’m glad the author has been able to realize what the problem was, step back, and re-establish a truly healthy lifestyle.

  4. I have also felt this way and completely understand. It’s so hard to step away, but I am so glad you did and are doing well. Unfortunately, I think it’s all too common in the HLB community…it can just fuel comparisons.

  5. Thank you for sharing. I know how easy it is to hide an eating disorder from everyone, I did it. Some days I want to step away from the world of blogging. When I feel this way I usually take a little hiatus and get back at it.

  6. This.

    This is the reality of the HLB world. I actually stopped following one blogger recently after watching a video she posted of herself. It was ironic because her posts were all ‘I eat so much’ blah blah blah ‘I only exercise to make me feel good’ but she did NOT look healthy. The sad thing is, people continue to compliment her which may subconsciously be fuelling her behaviour!

  7. I’ve never had an eating disorder but I have a big problem with comparing myself to others to decide how I feel about myself. Blogging makes that worse since people generally post only about the best parts of their lives –it’s not a realistic picture of their life overall. If everyone just admitted the things that scare them or they’re not good at it would be a lot easier to connect with people. Easier said than done.

  8. This is my first time on your blog, and this was such a powerful story that I had to respond. I worry about this within the HLB community. Sometimes it feels like there is SO much focus on working out and eating perfectly that I wonder if it doesn’t fuel unhealthiness. There are bloggers who I LOVE but who I also worry about. I’m never really sure how to handle that. I don’t want to get in their business because, after all, I have a cursory relationship with them through the internet, but at the same time, I do feel like we’re friends and I am genuinely concerned. I’ve honestly thought about leaving the community completely because of that. Anyway, such an important story and I’m glad you let this person share on your blog.

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