By Isa Robinson
You may or may not have noticed that "wellness" has come under a lot of scrutiny lately. If you're blissfully unaware of the grey clouds looming over our kale salads, I can only invoke that you live under a rock of gluten free bread, but for the most of us the negativity is real, and it sucks!
It sucks because it's hard to hear, it sucks because wellness at its core isn't negative at all, and it sucks because it goes for what we're most passionate about, rips it up and stamps all over it!
I've had the wellness rant with a few people lately, and whilst there is common consensus that wellness is getting stick, perhaps there is reason to remain positive after all. Through acknowledging some of the flaws in the industry, however hard to hear, we have the opportunity to set things right, to do better, and to show what we truly stand for. In this article I want to therefore focus on what wellness IS NOT, in the hope of busting some of the convoluted myths directly on the head!
Wellness IS NOT gluten free or vegan
It's also not paleo, organic or raw for that matter! Coeliacs are gluten free, and many vegans have decided to opt for the diet based on well-researched ethical and moral motivations. These are not decisions that are taken lightly, and let's just clear one thing up, gluten free and veganism do not equate to health. Just because a brownie is gluten free doesn’t mean it’s the same as eating a fruit salad, and further some of the most nutrient dense foods include animal products such an omega 3 rich oily fish, eggs and offal. What wellness certainly is not, is labels and restrictive diets.
Wellness at heart is about nourishing oneself with wholesome food of whatever kind you fancy. Of course, I’m not encouraging you to wolf down an entire pack of cookies, but one every now and again isn’t going to hurt, and further more just because your insta idol eats a certain way doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you.
Wellness IS NOT boutique fitness classes
Your Instagram feed might look like every man and their dog trains at Lomax, starts Monday with F45 and psycles through the week before Koboxing into the weekend! Literally, the changing rooms at Boxr are so nice we might as well just move in! Yet, as nice as boutique fitness is, you don’t need to be spending £25.00 a pop to maintain good health.
Wellness can be as much as walking instead of tubing to work, practicing yoga in your bedroom or finding it within you to pound the tread at your local gym. I love my reformer pilates as much as the next, but your sweat session can come in a variety of different ways. When we focus too much on these boutique session with their price tags and their 600 kcal plus burns, we scare people off, we make wellness exclusive and we blurr what it really means. If you love your Barry’s by all means go ahead but if we truly want to spread the wellness hype and get it to the places it’s needed most, we’re going to have to make it about more than the fact Unit 1 just opened in Fulham…
Wellness IS NOT abs
Thank YOU Iskra Lawrence for showing us that health and wellness isn’t confined to a size 6-10! Newsflash people you can still be healthy if you look a little different to society’s version of the ideal. I’d rather refrain from using the F word, because frankly I believe there is too much stigma attached, so instead I want to say this…
Increasingly, studies are showing that slenderness and health are not the same thing. In fact, there’s a range of complexities when it comes to your weight and overall wellbeing. We’d all love to be 6 foot with a juicy peach and washer board stomach abs, however wellness comes in a whole variety of shapes, sizes and ethnicities and I think we’re massively missing this on social media! To be part of wellness you don’t have to conform to looking a certain way. Wellness at it’s core should be about personal goals and inclusive of all body types.
Wellness IS NOT a fad
We may have said goodbye to spirulina, but unlike passing trends, wellness is not a fad. When you’re feeling good, good because you’ve nourished yourself, good because you’ve slept well, good because you’ve moved your body etc etc, you really can get high on life. So, I appreciate I sound like a yoghurt knitting nut job here, but I know what it feels like to feel your best, and it’s pretty addictive. Look around, and you realise I’m not the only one. Increasingly, people are placing their health and wellbeing at the heart of what they do. Wellness is not a fad, it’s here to stay and it’s an incredibly positive thing!
Wellness IS NOT always as glamorous as it looks
This one is the most important. The rise of the health and fitness blogger has alluded to a highly glamorous life. I’d be lying if I said it didn't come with any perks. I mean, who could possibly complain about receiving the latest Sweaty Betty workout wear, the invitation to exclusive events and of course samples of the best Misfits nutrition protein powder. But, and it’s a big but, the blogosphere can be hard. For those who have made it big, it’s a constant commitment and many of our favourite rarely have a weekend or evening off. For example, I’m sure we’d all like to have a book deal and workout like Hazel Wallace, but it’s easy to look past just how hard Hazel must work to balance her own life with blogging and being a junior doctor, it’s no small feat.
For the smaller fitness bloggers, the industry can sometimes be overwhelming. Freelancing can get lonely and many are balancing a passion for fitness with a full time job too. Yes the wellness industry is amazing, but I think it can be easy to forget there’s more to existing in the wellness sphere than simply meets the eye – I’m talking many late nights with a laptop and infinite to do list rather than a glass of wine. Of course, I don’t think any wellness bloggers who are following their passions would have it any other way, but it shows that nothing is ever quite as simple, or perhaps as perfect as it seems