Photo : @l.eau
To the apple cider drinkers, the intermittent fasters, and the ones afraid of fruit sugar.
This one’s for you.
If you follow health and wellness influencers on social media, you’ll probably relate to this. Whether they are certified nutritionists, health coaches, actual doctors, or simply wellness gurus, influential people on Instagram have a lot to say about miracle ways to take care of our health through diet and exercise. We are lucky to have social media educating us on important subjects that were foreign to many of us not too long ago. I’m talking about the simplest things: the amount of water you need to drink, the names of harmful chemicals you should avoid, and the importance of moving your body every day. We are lucky to have seen these reminders change many people’s lives towards a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.
On the flip side, the social media era we live in created way more empowered consumers. We now want to know the whys and the hows of everything and anything, especially when it comes to secret recipes to lose 20 pounds in two days. How many times did you buy something online without doing a little research about it? What’s that? Never? And so, with that consumer willing to do the research, in need of more theories and beliefs to justify changing their habits (or should I say, « purchasing » new habits) to feel like they are working towards their goal, how can this money-making wellness industry not take advantage of that? And this is where the problem starts.
The Covid-19 pandemic has given us space to reflect on the importance of self-care and to set new goals, which further amplified the race to find the best supplement, the best fat burning cardio technique, or the best « wrinkle eraser » cream. Some influencers rave about the miracles of the keto diet, while others believe a shot of apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach can make you lose a few pounds. I am not a nutritionist nor a doctor, but I have revolved around the fitness and modelling industry long enough to hear more horror stories than I ever should. I can assure you that the Keto Diet can be harmful to people with low blood pressure or constipation problems, while being the perfect gateway to restrictive eating and other types of eating disorders. I can also tell you that apple cider vinegar on an empty stomach can seriously harm your esophagus and stomach, damaging the enamel of your teeth while it’s at it. It also takes a minimum of research or a simple visit to the doctor to realize that eating 1,200 calories a day is not enough to fuel a female body properly. I could go on and on, but I think you get where I’m going with this.
Luckily, most of us are aware that these trends are, as a matter of fact, only « trends. » But then, why do we treat them like the next Harvard life-changing medical study? Moral of the story, the wellness industry on social media can become the motivation people need to start making changes to be healthier and happier, but we should be careful with who we trust to decide how we should treat our unique body. And this brings me to my second point.
Do you remember the last time you went to the doctor? A nutritionist? Any type of health specialist? Even a fitness coach? Were you in a 1.2 million people auditorium listening to that healthcare professional tell the whole audience how to fix all of their problems at once? Sounds weird, eh? Well, that’s unfortunately exactly what’s going on on social media. We need to understand that the supplements our favourite influencers are selling might be life-changing for them, while being harmful to others. Not everyone needs an hour of cardio a day to reach their fitness goals. Some bodies digest carbs better, while others find it effective to increase their protein intake. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding your own healthy balance, which can be hard to do hiding in the back of a 1.2 million people auditorium.
I could go on and on with this subject, but I think I’ve highlighted two good points. Check your sources since they probably are paid and instructed to tell you exactly what you need to hear to make a purchase, and, finally, remember that if you really want to put in work to improve something about yourself, you need to find what works for you, which might be far from what works for @fitnessguru123. Maybe I’ll take you through my What I Eat in a Day next month, now that I’ve told you not to listen to people like me.
Laure – @l.eau