“It’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to feel sad. However, I have been neglecting myself and it’s very easy to do.”
Amelia Mandeville has been very open with her audience regarding her struggles with mental health and food. In 2019, she had a series on the Mandeville Sisters YouTube channel, where she shared what she ate while trying to gain weight, and she frequently posts videos about her body and mental well-being. Toward the end of last year, she and her friend started going to the gym together and created an Instagram account to share her progress. It’s since gone quiet, something Amelia talks about in the following video.
“The whole reason I started exercising was to put on weight,” Amelia explains, referencing her past struggles with her weight. “I am underweight. I have a weird relationship with food. I have a phobia of throwing up. I’m not the most adventurous with certain foods. I have a fear of overeating, in case it makes me sick, which makes it hard when you’re putting on weight.”
Running the fitness account and going to the gym with someone helped to motivate her, as did the followers she was accumulating, who would frequently comment on her content. While she was working out, she saw a change in not only her attitude, but in her appetite as well, and it allowed her to rediscover her love of food. “When I was exercising, I had so much more of an appetite,” she shares. “I was so much more passionate with my food. I was eating breakfast, lunch [and] dinner. I was doing really, really well.”
However, life eventually got in the way and she was no longer able to exercise on a regular basis. A holiday in Budapest and private family matters prevented her from going to the gym, and the longer she stayed away, the more she lost her motivation to take care of herself. As she explains in the video, it affected numerous aspects of her life, “My eating got worse, [my] motivation got worse [and] my mental health got worse.”
While Amelia is quick to point out that exercise isn’t something that’s guaranteed to help one’s mental health or sort things out, it was of aid to her, as it allowed her some routine. “I’m a person who doesn’t have a routine in the job I do,” she explains. “I am not always the most motivated person and I also struggle with my mental health daily, and I guess it was that outlet. It was something to distract me. It made me feel good.”
Amelia then switches gears to discuss her view of her body. She shares that she “hates” her body, but notes that she’s fine saying that because she doesn’t think you have to love your body. “I think you shouldn’t dedicate your happiness to your appearance. I don’t think you should dedicate your happiness to changing your body,” she says. However, she does say that it’s okay to do things that help you to love your body a bit better, which, for her, is putting on weight through regular exercise.
Since stopping regular workouts, she admits to falling into old habits, feeling low and losing her appetite. As a result, she’s lost weight, and it’s that change that’s shown her how good going to the gym was for her. While some might be hard on themselves, Amelia sees things differently, saying we shouldn’t be tough on ourselves for letting things slip during difficult times, “We can have these moments where we feel like we’ve let ourselves go or things come crashing down, and that is totally okay.”
While she might currently be struggling with finding her motivation and with her body image after the weight loss, Amelia is excited to get back on track and is determined to not pressure herself. “I’m not going to put pressure on myself to hit certain deadlines or a certain weight,” she says. “I am just going to try and be the best me. I’m just going to try and make myself feel better because whatever I’ve been doing the last couple of months hasn’t been making me feel better. It’s okay to struggle and it’s okay to feel sad.”
Before signing off, Amelia reiterates what she said before about exercise not necessarily resulting in positive mental health. While going to the gym, she still suffered from anxiety, but she says it allowed her an escape and helped her put her mental health first – and that’s what we’ve taken from this video. If you’re struggling, try to find an activity that helps ground you, whether that be working out, reading, putting together a puzzle or simply spending time with friends. It’s important we put our mental health first, as it’s the crux of our lives, and we need to remember to take care of it and ourselves.