* This is a sponsored post for AXA PPP *
Do you find yourself avoiding being in photos? Always offering to take the photos of other people, or hiding at the back of a group photo? Perhaps holding your kids in front of you so you are hardly in the photo is your way of handling the situation. If the walls in your home are filled with photos of everyone else, then you may have a fear of being in front of the camera. So do I! Let's talk about why that is and how we can tackle it in 2018.
Today we are sharing something a little bit different with you on the blog and it's all about fears - it's part of our focus on mental health for this year. It's not about spiders, snakes or a fear of flying (I have all of those too, eeek!), but fears that relate to your health and wellbeing and can hold you back in every day life. What's my fear? A fear of being in front of the camera. A fear of everyone thinking I am a fraud because I am a "healthy eating blogger" and I don't have an Instagram worthy body (note: all bodies are Instagram worthy). And a fear of this holding me back in my career and a fear that I will hardly have any photos of Avery and I. That's a lot of fears rolled in to one, but it all makes up on big fear.
Do you want to be kept up to date on more posts like this? Please subscribe to the blog mailing list (it takes 30 seconds). You will get sent the new recipes straight to your inbox. Your email address won't be passed on to anyone and you will never be spammed.
Click here to sign up.
When AXA PPP healthcare asked me if I would like to work with them over the next 6 months to "Own Your Fear", I thought this would be a great alternative to setting vague new years resolutions that I wouldn't keep. This would be all about seeing fear as a good thing, as you can use it to fuel your health and wellbeing goals in 2018. I don't want this fear to control me any more - I want to harness the fear as a force for good, to be able to make positive changes.
Over the next 6 months I am going to be working with AXA PPP healthcare to own this year and each month I will be documenting all the things I have been doing to face the fear of the camera head on. It's going to be about confidence building, pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and sharing how my life has improved because of these things.
Now, some of you might be reading this and wondering how it is really a fear and how it is holding me back, so I should explain it a little more. My fear of being in front of the camera is more a fear of those photos being posted anywhere, as I don't want people to see the way I currently look. Not just because I am critical of myself, but because I fear others will be critical of me. I started this blog when I lost 100lbs, as a way to document that and to stay on track.
But that isn't where I am in my journey any more - my body has changed, my weight has changed, my whole life has turned upside down. That isn't something I have hidden - I have actually been very honest about that, but I have hidden myself. I have a 1 year old now, my body will never be the same, my priorities are different and it is about being okay with that, whilst still making healthy changes where I can.
I run a healthy eating blog, but I feel like an imposter at times. That's not because I don't eat healthy meals - I really do. A lot of them. But I also have some very unhealthy habits too. Too many snacks, emotional eating, too much sugar to keep me awake (our daughter is a terrible sleeper), a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day to relax, not enough exercise. Just to name a few. All of those bad habits have meant that I am not comfortable in my own skin.
It's not just about weight, it's about feeling puffy from too much salt, bad skin from the extra sugar and not having enough energy to do anything. Every photograph of myself I see, I pull apart. I find as many negative things about myself as I can, and then the photo is deleted never to be seen again, because I don't want others to get the chance to criticise me. Sure, it's not like I have NEVER posted photos of myself online. But they are usually just of my head, heavily filtered and I would have to wait until I have had a few glasses of wine to post them.
What does this mean? Why is it holding me back? Well, apart from not having many photos of myself over the past couple of years, or many photos of Dave, Avery and I, it is holding me back in my career as well. I am a full-time blogger and it is one of the best jobs I could every imagine having. It is incredibly hard work sometimes, but the flexibility it gives me and the ability to be so creative is amazing.
This is a blog, not just a recipe website, so that means there has to be a personal element to it. I used to post so many more personal posts, days out, workouts, mental health/wellbeing and they were all so popular, but they would always have photos of me in them. As I gained weight, and as I felt more uncomfortable in my own skin, those posts stopped and it became more like a recipe website.
It has also held me back in my career as a full-time blogger, as I haven't been to any blogger events in about 4 years. I feared there being cameras there, or other bloggers/brands looking at me and thinking "doesn't she write a healthy eating blog?" I fully believe that healthy eating, and a healthy lifestyle are far more than what we look like, and health is not a size. But I also know that the majority of people don't believe that and the industry on a whole doesn't. So I avoided those events. Imposter syndrome strikes again!
I have turned down so many work opportunities because it involved videos, photoshoots, meetings etc. and that just wasn't something I was comfortable doing, because I wasn't comfortable with myself. Not only did that mean turning down money I couldn't really afford to turn down, but it meant missed opportunities to get my blog name out there, further the blog and work with some fantastic brands to create content I know you would have all loved. All because I was worried what other people would think, but more so I was worried what I would think about myself when I saw those photos and video.
Now, the next 6 months isn't just going to be about losing weight so I will finally feel good about myself, as I don't believe you need to be a certain size to love yourself and be comfortable. I have been 70lbs lighter and didn't love myself any more than I do now. It's a mentality and that doesn't come with a change in clothes size or a number on the scale. I am trying to lose weight, but for my health, not for the validation from others.
The next 6 months is going to be challenging myself to be in front of the camera more, share more photos of me, produce video content (arggghhh scary!), go to blog related events, and instead of criticising myself in every photo, I am going to be focusing on all the positives I can see. It will be 6 months of confidence building and body positivity, whilst also getting fit and trying to drop a few pounds too.
You are going to be hearing from Dave in these posts too, as I think it's easy to ignore how our fears effect the people around us. Dave says: "Dannii has come a long way in overcoming her other fears over the years that she suffered with anxiety and panic attacks, but this is one that still holds her back. I love taking photos on family days out, but Dannii either tells me to delete them straight away, or she criticises herself. It means that we don't have many family photos and I know she will regret that in years to come."
This year I am seeing fear as a good thing. Fears can help us to grow and become stronger. I am going to put myself in uncomfortable situations, I am going to challenge myself daily and hopefully after this 6 month challenge I will be well on my way to being a more confident person. I am sure a lot of you can relate to this fear too, especially if you are a mother. Your body goes through so many changes and it can be hard to get your head round that and it's just easier to hide away. But you don't need to. Don't fear change, don't fear what other people think - own your fears and use them as a positive driving force.
If you have a health and wellbeing related fear that you feel is holding you back, then head over to the Own Your Fear page on the AXA PPP healthcare website to find tips, advice and similar stories to help you use your fears as a positive driving force to make healthy changes this year.
Do you have any fears that are holding you back and that you want to tack this year? Please leave a comment below.
Let’s stay in touch!
~ This post on A Fear of Being In Front of the Camera was commissioned by AXA PPP ~
~ Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for us to run this site ~
~ All opinions are our own ~