Welcome to Behind the Handle where we catch up with one of Columbus’ many busy Instagram influencers—be they fitness, fashion, food, or fun—to see just how they balance work, life, and play. And, of course, we get to the bottom of how they have so many followers!
Lauren Blake, RD, LDN, CHWC has been featured on Dr. Oz, Today.com, Fitness Magazine, The Huffington Post, Health.com, and many more for her expertise in dietetics. On Instagram, more than 35k people have smashed the follow button to keep up with @wholelifelauren on her journey through food, health, parenthood, and life!
614NOW: How did you get started with your account? Did it start off as a personal account?
Lauren: “I started using Instagram strictly for personal use. I think when the app first came out, people used it for purely personal reasons. I started posting pictures of food because I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition and that was just something i was really passionate about and something I was doing all the time: cooking and experimenting with different things. So I started posting photos of food and other people were doing that too but it was certainly what it is today in terms of the food community.”
“So, from there I just started connecting with people very organically and the account started growing and people started to say ‘hey, you should start a blog,’ so I did and that’s when i changed my Instagram handle, around 2014.
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“At that point, it was purely a hobby, it wasn’t my job at that point. It was just, I kind of identified with the brand that I wanted to create, which was really just naming something I was already doing. @wholelivinglauren is my business account, but I post a lot of personal things on there. I post about travel, I post pictures of my family, pictures of my home.”
“I want people to be able to navigate seamlessly between the blog and my social media accounts. I’m definitely more active on social media than my blog, but I make sure to post pretty regularly to my blog as well.”
“It’s not so much a blog as a business website. The blog is just one piece of it that lives on my website. So my website serves a great purpose for me because it’s a landing page for my business. It showcase the different services i offer with individual clients, with business consulting, it highlights different projects I’ve done, different national and international media outlets that i’ve been featured in.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities because of my online presence. I’ve worked really hard but i will say that having the visibility of that is certainly a benefit of what I do.”
614NOW: When did you feel like you were successful?
Lauren: “I feel like it’s hard to define a moment when you’re success because there’s always new goals (you’re never done), which is great but it’s also hard. The hustle is real, you’ve always gotta keep up with things. There’s always bigger better more etc. it’s easy to get caught up in that, and I try really hard not to. Of course, the number of followers is important, But I really try not to get caught up with that. What I care most about is really engaging with the people I connect with. That’s really important to me.”
“The power of social media is incredible. To be able to meet friends through social media and Instagram is incredible. I had the opportunity to be on the Dr. OZ show in 2015 because one of the producers had been following me for years and she wanted me to come on and be part of a segment. That’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Instagram.”
614NOW: Do you find yourself getting stressed about having to keep up with your business, website, and social media accounts? How do you unplug?
Lauren: “It’s something that’s incredibly important. I know for me and for everyone too, it’s a weird world that we live in because everything is instant and 24/7 and it can be so easy to get in that scrolling trap and comparison trap. I think that’s how people get down and out: mindlessly scrolling all the time, they’re spending so much time on social media that it’s impossible not to compare and not to feel like you’re not good enough. All those things exist and that’s the hard thing about social media and I am very aware of those things personally.”
“What i try to do is time block. When I’m planning out my day, I time block time for Instagram. From 9-9:30 for example, responding to comments, etc and then I put it down. I have to display a lot of self control with that and sometimes I do a better job than others, but that’s really the goal.”
“When my husband gets home from work, we really try not to be on our phones. It’s a really important time for us to connect, to not be distracted by social media and everything on our phone. Another thing too, is we have an 18-month-old son and I have become acutely aware of the fact that I don’t want him to see me on my phone all the time. I have to set those boundaries for myself.”