Taking a Break from Wine and Instagram (Wish Me Luck!)

Hello from the Struggle Bus. This has been a weird week for me, as I’ve decided I need to take a break from two of my greatest and most enjoyable vices, wine and Instagram; although, one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Allow me to explain…

As far as Instagram goes, in a nutshell, the censorship happening on both Facebook and Instagram right now is really pissing me off. I have been seeing various boudoir photographers complaining on Facebook recently about being “shadowbanned” on Instagram, but I wasn’t really sure if that was a real thing. Well, I found out this week that it is DEFINITELY a real thing, because it has now happened to me.

Being shadowbanned means that Instagram severely limits the number of people who can see your photos by essentially making you invisible to anyone who searches the hashtags you’re using, and pretty much the only people who can see your photos are those who are already following you. For someone like me, who has been working really hard at becoming more integrated into the film photography community, being shadowbanned is like having a door of opportunity slammed in your face.

One of two images that were recently shadow banned by Instagram.

The photo posted above is one of two images that were shadowbanned this week, and I know this because I’ve checked the Recent tab of the hashtags I used, and my photos did not show up under those hashtags at all, which explains the decreased number of likes/comments I received on those photos. It’s not that my ego depends upon the number of likes my posts receives. (I’d have very low self-esteem if that were the case!) The reason this sucks is because, in my effort to network within the film community, I’ve been making it a point to click on everyone who likes my photos and returning the favor. This has resulted in me gaining several new followers since the beginning of the year, as well as introducing me to many new amazing film photographers. So, the fact that Instagram has made it so that new people cannot even find my photos through hashtag searches has really bummed me out.

I’ve tried searching online for advice about what I can do, and pretty much the only thing I’ve read is that it’s sometimes helpful to take a break from Instagram if you find that you’re being shadowbanned. So, I guess that’s what I’m going to have to do, and it completely sucks.

As for me cutting back on wine, as I said before, that’s a completely separate decision from my Instagram hiatus. The reason I’ve decided to cut back on wine is because, well….I’m not going to church it up. I drink wine every single night, and I have for about the past ten years. My average nightly consumption is around 2-3 glasses, but I’ve been known to make an entire bottle disappear, too. To be clear, though, I am not an alcoholic. And I say that as the former wife of an alcoholic. I just genuinely LOVE wine, and over the years it has just become my nightly routine. I get home from work, pour a glass of wine to unwind, drink another glass at dinner, and then sometimes drink another glass while watching my shows before bed. During the rare nights that I did not drink wine for whatever reason, I found myself feeling very bored and I really missed my usual nighttime routine.

Well, I had a bit of an epiphany earlier this week. I calculated how many calories I consume in wine on a nightly basis, and it was around 300-500 calories. Then, I Googled, “How much weight will I lose if I cut out 500 calories per day,” and every result that came back said that I could easily lose one pound per week with a 500 calorie per day deficit. Now, I know that probably seems like common sense to just about everyone else on the planet, but for me, reading that in black and white was a HUGE eye-opener.

So, I’ve decided to challenge myself to seriously cut back on wine consumption, and I started this challenge last Tuesday, the day after my 42nd birthday. Originally, my plan was to cut back to drinking every other night, but I’ve decided I can do better than that. I’m going to try cutting back to only drinking on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday nights), and I’m happy to report that tonight is my forth night in a row of sobriety.

It hasn’t been too difficult, but it hasn’t been super easy, either. Each night, I’ve felt like I have a little devil and a little angel on my shoulders. The little devil goes, “Why are you depriving yourself of something you love? It’s not like you’re an alcoholic. You genuinely enjoy drinking wine! What’s the point of losing weight if you’re no longer enjoying your life?” It’s a pretty strong argument, you have to admit. However, as soon as I feel myself caving in to the little devil, the little angel goes, “Are you really going to give up on your goal that easily? It’s only been a few days! Are you really that weak-minded? Aren’t you even a little curious about whether or not you’ll feel better if you cut back on wine?” So far, the little angel is winning, but it’s also still only Week One.

Seriously, guys. Please wish me luck and mental strength to stick with this, because I really am curious to see how different I will feel if I’m able to cut back to drinking only on the weekends after so many years of drinking wine every single night. I’m sincerely hoping that the first week is the most difficult and that it will get easier from here.

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