My Relationship With… TikTok: Revisited

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TW: Weight Loss

In a recent article, I wrote about my feelings towards the addictive app, TikTok. The article detailed the time-wasting action of scrolling through the ‘For You’ page. Ultimately, you become obsessed with watching videos and achieving very little. Hours go by, little is learned and suddenly it’s 2am. So, I suppose my initial relationship with TikTok was unhealthy, and more on the negative side.

But all that has changed since I found fame. Okay, well, fame may be going a little far. But something along those lines. During lockdown, a young woman name Florence Simpson inspired thousands of viewers with her weight loss videos. Starting with the saying ‘Hey, my name is Flo and I’m trying to fit back into my jeans’, she quickly gathered hundreds of thousands of followers all invested in her journey to a happier, healthier self. Flo tracked her weight by how comfortable she was in these jeans, and not by numbers on a scale. This is an increasingly popular way of tracking, due to the arbitrary nature of scales which suggest what is a healthy weight regardless of body types and individual factors.

Having been inspired by Flo and realising how much I’d let myself go since starting university, and even more so in lockdown, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and start my own journey. Under the alias ‘ottiesjeans’, I initially released two videos. The first video detailed why I wanted to start losing weight and how I intended to do it. It showed pictures of me at my happiest and healthiest and current pictures that I felt showed a big difference. The second video was the first of my journey. The video’s show what I eat and drink and what exercise I get up to. They also show what I do throughout the day. The point for me is to change my habits to suit my current lifestyle and what works best for me right now. I am by no means saying this is the right way to do things or what everyone should do – it is simply what is working for me right now. When the second video went up, it started getting views quickly. I figured it had been placed on some algorithm and when I went to bed that night, I had received 40,000 views. This was totally unexpected, so imagine my surprise waking up to 100,000. I hadn’t even told my friends about it; I was shy and didn’t want people to think I was fishing for compliments about my weight. So, I kept it to myself, but I woke up to messages from close friends and people I barely know saying they’d seen me on their ‘For You’ page. The secret was out. That video was now over 630,000 views and I have 11,700 followers. Everyday I wonder how I got here and everyday I feel lucky that I am here.

The point of this article is not to plug my account and get more followers – I am grateful for the support I have received, but I am on this journey for myself. I wanted to revisit the topic of my relationship with TikTok though, because since gathering a following on this platform, my attitude has almost entirely changed. I have received almost nothing but support and praise on my account. There is constant positivity from followers and almost every day I get a comment that makes me smile from ear to ear. From words of encouragement to celebrations when I fit back into one of my pairs of jeans, I have built up a fan base that has my back.

I can honestly say this was unexpected. When it became clear that people were keen to be on this journey with me, I became accountable to them as well as myself. This powered my weight loss journey even more as I felt responsible to the people who went onto my account every evening to see how the day went.

No exposure on a platform like this comes without negativity. A couple of direct messages and comments have been unpleasant, but I am lucky that the positivity overshadows this entirely. A lot of comments are about me not needing to lose weight, which I find a little irrelevant. As I said earlier, weight is different for everyone, as is losing weight. I am someone who is heavier than they look and when I gain weight it heads to places like my belly, which I can hide with baggy tops and jumpers. However, as with these comments, and others of a different nature, I’ve learned people often say things with different intentions. They don’t mean to offend or anything, it’s just easy to pass judgment and comment on something like this without understanding how they may be interpreted.

For the most part, my experience has, and continues to be, positive. I now enjoy going onto the app and reading comments from people. I have had two more individuals credit me as their inspiration. People ask me to reply. People comment they love my clothes/name/make up. It was a confidence boost I needed at the right time. This pandemic has been detrimental to the mental health of many people and receiving the support of strangers in this way has allowed me to develop and appreciate so much more in my life and about myself.

My relationship with the app has changed. I barely go on my other account now. I am committed to delivering positive messages and being REAL on my weight loss account. I feel it is important to show that it won’t always be easy or straightforward, especially after so much of the content I was viewing was suggesting everyone losing weight was having the same experience. I am proud of how I am presenting myself, and the ottiesjeans community is a wonderful bonus!

More articles in My Relationship With...
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  2. My Relationship With… My Hair
  3. My Relationship With… Christmas & Grief
  4. My Relationship With… University
  5. My Relationship With… Grief
  6. My Relationship with… Job-Hunting
  7. My Relationship With… Therapy
  8. My Relationship With… My Scars
  9. My Relationship With… Diet and Depression
  10. My Relationship with… The Gym
  11. My Relationship With… Shyness, Confidence and Identity
  12. My Relationship With… Graduation
  13. My Relationship With… Recovery
  14. My Relationship With… My Boobs
  15. My Relationship With… Open Days
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  17. My Relationship With… Grey Hair
  18. My Relationship With… OCD
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  21. My Relationship With… Body Hair
  22. My Relationship With… Being Single
  23. My Relationship With… The Pill
  24. My relationship with… an STI
  25. My Relationship with… TikTok
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