It seems that what you eat and where you train have replaced a handbag or a luxury car as status symbols. The new movement of often incredibly thin, young-looking and almost obsessive health, fitness & lifestyle bloggers has created a new ideal. Is being healthy just another movement inspired by a handful of photogenic bloggers?
Recent studies show that the number of people willing to spend more money on healthy-eating is on the rise. This is good news, however there is also a downside: When social conformity replaces the real reasons to follow a healthy & active lifestyle, it can be just as negative for your health. After all, being obsessive about healthy eating isn’t actually healthy at all.
In an industry that may be worth 1.2 billion (Deloitte) it doesn’t come as a surprise that many are getting on the “wellness” bandwagon. After all, “healthy” sells. While some professionals, such as nutritionists may be able to give sound advice, the more prominent group of health & fitness bloggers are the ones with the loudest voices: Nutritional advise from fitness & health bloggers has certainly made it’s way into mainstream knowledge (e.g. gluten-free hype). Although, some people may feel better following current trends, the large majority may be cutting out entire food groups for no reason. Because someone is doing better on one type of a diet doesn’t mean someone else will too — this is one large misconception. It seems like health & fitness bloggers are overseeing this critical point.
Also, perfectly styled Instagram images of #fitspo celebrities may be appealing however, these often don’t represent real life. Showing idealised images of what “healthy” looks like is not going to help people feel any better about themselves. Being healthy is not about the perfect beach hair, thigh gap or spray tan.
While the health & fitness industry is doing a good job in creating awareness about healthy behaviour, consumers should be doing their own research before adopting any lifestyle changes. The truth is, there is so much information out there, you just have to make it a priority to be responsible for your own health. Talk to professionals (e.g. doctors, nutritionists), do your own research and read well sourced literature before making any changes that concern your health & wellbeing.
Health is about how you feel, the connection you have to your body and an organic, real understanding of what you need as an individual. If yoga isn’t your thing, ditch it. And if the taste of chia puddings makes you run for the hills, don’t force yourself to have it just because it’s a “health food”. There are plenty of alternatives out there. Take the time to find what works best for YOU.
The health & fitness movement is not all bad, but you need to apply critical thinking before you adopt anything you hear. And remember: what may be good for one person, may not be ideal for you, so make sure you listen closely to your body.