What a journey it has been so far! Well, for me anyway. Just over a year ago, I decided I wanted to start my own blog. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to do that so I did when any reasonable person would do in my situation. I googled it!
Within a month I had bought a domain name, paid for a website host, and spent several days learning how to use Word Press and creating my first blog post. It was entitled “Weight Loss the Hard Way” and it is as ugly as it sounds. You can read it here if you’re feeling brave:
I keep it (and all the posts that came after it) on my website as a reminder that I am still right at the very beginning of my journey and have a lot to learn. I also want people to know that journey from a person who is neck deep in diet culture to one who is on a crusade against fat oppression and medical weight stigma in the space of a year.
My journey through social media
I have shared my story about how I went from weight loss blogger to diet culture dropout and fat activist on many an occasion. If you haven’t heard it, check out my podcast. But long story short, I had well and truly ditched the diet by January of this year. So much so that I was invited onto a morning TV program to debate fat role models in the children’s books.
That interview launched me into a world of social media that I knew absolutely nothing about and was by no means prepared for. Suffice it to say it was a steep learning curve. I mean, I found Instagram in my 40s and I was about as clueless as they come to begin with.
Since then, I have invested hundreds of hours and thousands of £ into the Fat Doctor. Launching a podcast and maintaining a website doesn’t come cheap. And I try and fit all my social media work around may day job (I’m a doctor, for all those who haven’t figured that out yet), home, the kids, the husband, the dog… Not necessarily in that order. (We all know that the dog comes first!)
Me and boundaries
The truth is, I’ve never been very good at boundaries. I know that is true for most people, but as a result I haven’t taken the necessary measures to prevent myself from burning out. And whilst the vast majority of my followers have been nothing but kind and supportive, social media is a curious thing. It encourages us to have unrealistic expectations of others, and to make matters worse those expectations come with absolutely nothing in return.
Let’s face it, very few of us would walk up to someone on the street and demand their time and energy without so much as a “hello, how are you”? Most of us don’t offer unsolicited advice to people we don’t know either. But I have been putting up with this kind of behaviour on a near daily basis for far too long. People want my advice. They want to tell me their life story. They want to share some horrible post or message that they received.
And whilst I absolutely understand why they want these things, I don’t know that everyone thinks about the personal toll it has taken on me. Because now I am exhausted and ready to pack it all in.
But don’t worry, I’m not going to do that.
My next phase in my journey
Instead I am going to set some boundaries that I should have set ages ago (and that’s on me, not you). Firstly, my comments on social media are either limited or I completely ignore them. I am only going to engage with COMMENTS (not DMs) on Instagram, and only when I have the time and the capacity to do so. If you think I’m ignoring you, don’t take it personally. I’m protecting me and nothing else.
Secondly my DMs are now closed for the foreseeable future. The only way to get in touch with me is through my website or by joining me on Patreon. Like many of you, I haven’t really learned to value myself. That’s the legacy that women, especially fat women, are left with today. I am also the daughter of an abusive father, and whilst I have come a long way in my recovery, it is far too easy to fall in to bad habits.
I don’t feel comfortable asking for help and I definitely don’t feel comfortable asking for money. But I also strongly believe that people should never be expected to work for free. So if that applies to others, it applies to me too. Everyone who joins my Patreon will have access to the following:
- Regular blogs posts
- Exclusive extended podcasts
- Free access to my webinar “Advocating for weight inclusive care” as well as the accompanying 24 page resource, and two templates that you can download and adapt to send to your own healthcare practitioner.
- The chance to vote on future content
- Access to my DMs (although that doesn’t guarantee you a response – no one gets to demand that of me except for family and friends, and maybe not even them).
You can also chose to access my monthly live events, which will be available to watch later for those who cannot make it, or chose the option of one-to-one access. I plan on covering a whole range of topics at my live events and I am looking forward to coming up with new ways to create and disseminate weight inclusive information.
And the rest
I’m still going to maintain my website, although I am moving my blog over to Patreon I hope to be able to develop my website further, which is just one of the goals you can help me to achieve by supporting my Patreon.
I’m gonna keep posting content on social media, although it may not be as frequently as you are used to. That really depends on how things evolve. And I’m also going to continue supporting other fat activists and creators as much as I can, especially those in marginalised communities.
One of the things that has put me off Patreon in the past is that I am aware that not everyone will be able to afford to support me. And this is going to disproportionately affect those in marginalised groups who probably are most in need of access to my content. To those of you whom this applies, please contact me using the form on my website. I am here for you and I will ensure that I do my very best to meet your needs.
So there you go, folks. The Fat Doctor has moved over to Patreon. I’m really excited about this next phase in my journey and I hope to see as many of you join me that are able.