The Wellness Culture: A Diet in Disguise?

Eating nothing but acai bowls will obviously result in a flatter tummy, and cutting off carbs will sort out our issue of being overweight, right? Well, that depends on what wellness means in our lives as compared to what that it means in the wellness industry.

Businesses now advertise juice detoxes as a way to ‘look after yourself’ and social media influencers will brag about ‘ditching the diet’ whilst encouraging a two-week sugar cleanse. Curious to look beneath society’s marketing fads? Then read on for The Wellness Culture: A Diet in Disguise?

Wellness Trends are Persuasive

As a society, we seek to make a change to our lives that follow wellness trends blindly, hoping that they’ll fulfill the results we have always wished for. To be fair, they are all unbelievably persuasive. At first glance, it seems like the notion of wellness is a positive movement aimed at self-improvement. After all, being healthy is the newest obsession these days – women dressed in yoga gear everywhere or every cafe menu offering a portion of avocado slapped onto anything and everything.

The ‘eating clean’ wellness culture guarantees health, whilst enabling individuals to believe that they aren’t being fooled by the previous so-known diet culture. But unfortunately, most of the time, wellness practices don’t actually lead to the slim, fit, healthy figure that is promised; instead, they can result in harm to both, our self-esteem and bodies.

The name ‘wellness’ itself suggests that these practices want you to feel good and look even better. But aren’t these trends just diets in disguise? One cannot talk about self-love whilst promoting restriction, and an industry cannot ask individuals to love themselves whilst prospering off of their self-loathing.

We need to start questioning ourselves – why is it so tempting to believe that wellness signifies restricting and eliminating certain food groups?

Beware: If You Think a Restrictive Diet Gives You a Sense of Control

Restrictive diets and cleanses that eliminate food groups give us a feeling of stability, of control. There is a sense of control that coexists when manipulating food intake and body weight. And in a world that becomes more chaotic and unmanageable by the day, having some sort of control sounds pretty appealing and comforting.

However, the problem is that at some point over-controlling food results in bingeing – the opposite of what we were trying to achieve in the first place. Bingeing leaves us feeling entirely out of control and can result in orthorexia (obsession with eating foods that one believes are healthy) and a very negative relationship with food. Feelings of guilt towards food are not healthy; mentally nor physically.

Choose the Wellness Path that Works for You!

I am not claiming that all wellness trends are negative, or that you shouldn’t look after your body. Any effort that contributes to self-love, self-care, and encourages a healthier and longer life is, without doubt, worthy of attention.

In the end however, how we treat our bodies and how we manage our daily lives is truly our own decision. No one can control the way we workout, eat, or protect our health unless it’s something that we are allowing. Wellness isn’t always a lie, but it’s also not always the truth either, and that is where we need to exercise constructive, independent thought and decide for our own sake.

At the end of the day, your kale smoothie alone will not be the answer to living a fulfilling and invigorating life. Feeling at peace with (of course healthy) food and being kind to your body and nurturing an encouraging inner-dialogue is a much more satisfying path, irrespective of what we are led to believe. Got something to say on the subject of wellness? Let us know in the comments below or join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter Instagram!

Yara Akbaraly

Yara is a graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Political Science. She uniquely combines her humanitarian activities in Madagascar, with helping those around her. Being health conscious has always been a major part of her lifestyle, encouraging her to take courses on nutrition, health, and fitness. Over the years, she has practiced karate, athletics, tennis, and weight-training.

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