To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

Welcome back, friends. So glad you are still around! Did you miss me? I missed you!

I took a little blogging break because I’ve been doing some soul searching lately, trying to figure out where my space is in this blogging world. And I needed to dig deeper which required time away. Time to reflect through abstinence. Or something like that Winking smile

I started out blogging because I was on a weight loss journey which turned into a passion for healthy cooking… and I really wanted to show the whole world out there that it IS possible to lose weight and eat healthy but still deliciously. It was an innocent hobby that made me dream of bored dieters and overweight souls getting in on this amazing little secret of healthy cooking. And changing their lives. And I had a little part of that! Such sweet dreams.

But then it got more complicated. Picture quality started to matter and there was all this pressure (there are some incredibly talented food bloggers out there, many of which focus on healthy recipes… and who the hell am I to compete with that?). And yes, I’m going to go out there and just say it – it became a little about competing with them in my mind. And I was clearly the loser.

Adam likes to remind me that I have over a thousand readers so clearly a lot of this serious self doubt came from my own insecurities that just needed to be dealt with so I could move on. But there was more.

I also realized that I, in fact, did not have all the answers. And cooking elaborate meals every night became a little more challenging than the newlywed Elina thought it would be (and well, just too much). And most importantly, it’s not always about the food.

I’ve been up and down over the past 2.5 years. And many of you have followed my journey throughout. Thank you! But like I said in the beginning of this post, I really did need to figure out why I still blog and whether it is still for the right reasons. This blog has obviously become so much more than just healthy recipes (in fact, those are few and far these days, aren’t they?). Which posts make me happiest? Is every post something that feels truly right?

For several weeks there were so many days I just wanted to unplug that I started to wonder whether giving myself permission to do so permanently, would help answer many of these questions including the biggest one – do I want to keep going… and if so, on what terms?

This break gave me a lot of perspective. I realized that I was allowing the negative thoughts, the ones that said I wasn’t good enough and that I might as well give up, take over. I forgot that blogging has become a part of me, the one I want to keep. And that it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It can be whatever I want on any given day because I am a dozen different things throughout each and every day. And I want to give you a glimpse into a life of a “normal girl” that does not have all the answers. The one that on some days can’t think of anything better to do than meal plan for weeks ahead and then cook her little heart out (and share those meals with you!), and on others feels insecure and wants support from a thousand of her closest friends. Smile

Thanks again for reading. Healthy and Sane is here to stay!!

***

Oh and the winner of the Cabot serious snacking giveaway is #66. Shannon, can you please email me your address? Thanks for playing! 😀

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42 comments to To blog or not to blog? That is the question.

  • I always love how honest you are! I think a lot of us struggle with mentally competing with others and then having to return to the roots of why we started our blogs in the first place. It’s always good to put in perspective. I just figure I wouldn’t have met amazing people like you if I hadn’t started blogging!

  • I often contemplate chopping the blog because I’m not nearly an admirable runner the way some of these other blogs are — I start wondering if the time and effort I put into it is really worth it. I’ve noticed my readership go down lately for an unknown reason. I’m guessing it’s because people like me are getting bored of this whole running/health blogger thing. The blogs that I still closely follow are either those who write well or who share recipes, which narrows it down considerably.

    Glad yours will still be around for me to read.

    • Elina

      It’s so true that when readership numbers go down, it’s so hard to not take it personally and start reconsidering it all (that’s what happened to me!). It sounds like you need to do some soul searching and figure out if the blog makes YOU happy. You don’t need to be the best runner out there; that’s just intimidating :)

  • I’m so glad you’re staying! I hear what you’re saying about feeling the need to compete and to have amazing recipes to blog about all the time – but you need to remember that people read your blog because it’s YOU – your personality, your thoughts, your interests, your life, and no one else is exactly the same. I find that when I’m comparing myself too much with other people, it becomes dangerous and I lose who it is that I am. I know if you blog about what you love and what’s on your mind (doesn’t matter if it’s a different thing everyday!) your readers will still love you!

    • Elina

      Thanks, Corey. I really appreciate it! The comparison game is definitely a dangerous one.

  • I am so happy you’re staying! Your blog is one of my favorites over all the other well-known food bloggers because you are open, honest, and let your personality shine through (and obviously because you make great recipes!). Looking forward to your posts in the future! :)

  • Joni

    I’ve never commented before but discovered your blog last year and read it all the way from the beginning! Yours is by far my favorite blog – I love the recipes, I love the fitness posts, the restaurant reviews, the vacations, but most of all I like the journey you’ve been on. It’s like my own life (which I’m sure everyone can relate!), where nobody has all the answers but it’s fun to try and figure them out for yourself, or just what works for you – or realizing that your priorities or “what works for you” change all the time! Somebody who doesn’t have all the answers (ahem, doesn’t THINK they have all the answers haha!) is so much more refreshing and fun to read about than anyone else! :) I’m so glad you’ll keep going, and I can’t imagine the pressures of a blog – I’ve often thought about blogging myself and then just decide I couldn’t handle it, so many kudos to you for just writing whatever you feel like and staying true to yourself!!

    • Elina

      Hehe, I can’t even imagine going back to the beginning. The pictures were scary, weren’t they? 😉 I do feel like I’m my own soap opera sometimes. So happy that you find it relatable rather than schizophrenic :)

  • I think I mentioned this last week but I think anybody who blogs for a long period of time goes through these blogger growing pains. I started my blog as a personal journal but then it slowly turned into a food blog. I felt like I couldn’t write about anything but food. But I took a break and decided to write whatever I feel like. It is still a lot of food but sometimes I write about my haircut…running a 5K…my friend’s bachelorette party…whatever is on my mind. I realize that even though we can’t help but look at the number of followers, page visits or comments, this blog has to be pleasing to me or there’s really no point of it at all.

    I’m glad you took the time you needed and I’m glad you’ll be continuing to write on your terms.

  • At the end of the day it is all about the life you want to live! Write about what you like and what you want to do. Being authentic is hard but you have done a good job at that. Sharing ups and downs makes it so much more interesting.

  • Welcome back!!! I was so happy to see your post up in my Reader:-) I’m a regular visiter and love just reading about the ups and downs in your life and watching a REAL person deal with the challenges of balancing a full-time job, a blog, a family, social life AND healthy living. No one expects you to be perfect:-) I totally understand how you can get affected by the “competition,” but your husband is right, you have a ton of readers for a reason!

    • Elina

      Yay, thanks!! It felt good to be back in the reader again 😉 Now if I can just organize a million pics I took during the break so there can be more posts… :)

  • inna

    Phew! i was afraid of getting to the bottom of this one 😉 so happy you’re here to stay !!

  • Welcome back!!! You have been missed :)

  • “it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. It doesn’t need to be perfect.” I struggle with accepting that too! glad you were able to take some time and gain perspective!! but you totally keep it real here and we love you for that :)

  • I Definitely Go Through “blog Identity Crisis”. Sometimes Feel Like I Have To Find A Niche But The Reality Is I Love Everything And I Want To Talk About Everything.

    • Elina

      Yup, I go back and forth about the niche thing… but based on response here, it sounds like everyone just wants me to be me… and you should do the same!! Pretty freeing, no? 😀

  • I can’t wait to hear about your vacation! This post is incredibly helpful. I have put so much pressure on myself to blog constantly and took a much-needed break myself the past 2 weekends. It has helped with perspective and to renew my interest and passion for blogging. I feel as though all of those rules and pressures we put on ourselves kill our spirits and take away the unique voice that each of us has.

    • Elina

      Vacation pics coming up next! Weekend breaks are the best. Fully unplugging is very necessary. I’m going with the “aim low and exceed” strategy from now (for frequency of posts :) ).

  • delia

    I’m glad you’re back! I like your blog just the way it is. I know the types of “perfect” blogs you’re referring to, and though I enjoy reading those too, they are pretty unrealistic for most people, including especially me. Keep on keeping on!

  • D

    I’m so happy you’ve decided to stay! I think I’ve checked your blog every day for these few weeks! I don’t have a google reader or anything so I just type in my favorite blog addresses to see what’s new, and I really love reading yours. I think you put a tremendous amount of effort into the blog and it shows, but I think you also put too much pressure on yourself in terms of food, exercise and the blog together. I think the great thing about healthy living blogs is that there will always be a woman or girl out there searching for a blog that is close to her story. We all have different ‘path’s (hate that expression), so no matter how much you feel like you are just in a ‘crowd’ of similar bloggers, there are always women who will read tons of blogs and enjoy them on a surface level, but only truly relate to a select few. I think your honest about weight and emotion is one of the HUGE reasons that people relate to you. I think you have a voice that is extremely unique in this ‘community’ and it would be a shame for you to stop contributing and blogging, so I’m really excited to keep reading your posts.

    • D

      *your honesty

      • Elina

        That’s so sweet!! Sounds like you missed me :)
        I promise to continue keeping it real in hopes that there is a happy lesson our there somewhere (even if sometimes the lesson is that I/you are not alone). Thanks again – your comments are always so thoughtful :)

  • No! You can’t stop blogging! I just found your blog recently. You have inspired me to create great healthy delicious meals. You have a great blog!!

    • Elina

      No worries, I’m not going anywhere!! 😀 So glad you found some healthy meal inspiration!!
      A post on Russian Bites is coming up soon too. :)

  • As we talked about on gchat I love that you blog doesn’t fall into one niche. I love your food posts, I love your workout posts, I love when you talk about weight and dieting and I love your honest posts. They are what make you and Healthy and Sane REAL. I’m happy you are here to stay : )

  • I was just thinking of you today and wondering when you were coming back! Glad to “see” you :)

  • Lee

    Glad you’re staying!

  • People change over time and their blog should change to reflect that (in my opinion). If your blog was still pictures of your oatmeal and “oh this is what I did today. ” I wouldn’t read it to be honest. I think blogs like that lack personality and character so in my mind, that person lacks personality and character. Just do you Elina! Your obviously doing something right if we’re all here reading :)

    • Elina

      So true. I wouldn’t want to read my own blog either if I just kept talking about the same things I used to… recap of all my eats, bite by bite, etc. It’s just not me anymore!!

  • KellyB

    Yippeee!!

  • Hillary

    Very glad to have you back. And also happy that you took some time to reflect – it can be easy to get lost in blog world!

  • Lara (Thinspired)

    This post makes me want to consider blogging again. You’re right, it doesn’t have to be perfect, nothing is, anyway. I’m glad you are here to stay, Elina :)

  • […] – Thank you on your awesome comments on my last post. I am so excited to be blogging again. It’s even better to know that I have your support and can […]

  • […] – Thank you on your awesome comments on my last post. I am so excited to be blogging again. It’s even better to know that I have your support and can […]

  • Welcome back (ok, you’ve been back and clearly i didn’t know.) So glad you figured some things out, it can be tough in this crazy blog world!!

  • […] feeling my feelings (instead of eating them) and digging deeper. Questioning my actions. Pursuing only goals that feel truly right and abandoning those that are made for the wrong […]

  • I’m late to this post, but I’m so glad to see that you decided to keep blogging and that everyone else agrees! Don’t ever be afraid to take little breaks like this when you need them, though. It’s supposed to be enjoyable and if you need to unplug every now and then to avoid complete burnout, no one is going to throw a fit. <3

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