This article could also accurately be called How I Fell Out of Love With Wellness But Then Got Over It, How Social Media Killed my Vibe for Two Whole Years or perhaps even simply There and Back Again — although I think that last one may actually be taken by The Hobbit, so maybe not.
The point is, I haven’t been interested in discussing health (beyond the bare minimum that was required for work) for two entire years. Every time I would meet someone for the first time and tell them what I did for a living, my stomach would tighten when they moved to discuss their current diet or a niggling health concern. Each time I accepted a speaking gig, I would stand in front of the audience and pray for it to be over already.
I hated wellness. I hated it.
What had changed? How did I go from loving something to loathing it so quickly? To answer that question, we really need to look at the wellness culture of Australia. Simply put, it’s become a noisy, confusing and inconsistent mess of fads, trends and false promise.
The rise of unqualified influencers, most of whom mean well, has resulted in a flood of poorly researched health information that is largely based on personal experience. Opportunistic companies looking to sell their products came along too, bamboozling the public with scientific-sounding terms like ‘inflammation’ and ‘alkalinity’. And people gobbled it up. Even media outlets jumped on board, reacting to Australia’s surging interest in health, but without any consistency—and with minimal-to-no fact checking. The same publication would praise the weight loss powers of the keto diet while simultaneously sharing an article that ‘myth busted’ low-carb diets.
So…who and what are people meant to believe?
There exists now so much contradictory information that people are confused, fed up and (worst of all) making choices that have detrimental effects on their health. The fact that wellness is such a massive, money-making industry confuses things further, because products and services sell best when they are positioned as miracle cures:
‘Always tired? That’s because you’re not eating this hyper-antioxidant superfood. Can’t sleep? Here’s a crystal with all the powers of Sagittarius in Mercury’s fourth moon.’
You get my point. The way we share health information is broken. Wellness is sick.
That’s why I fell out of love with it. Worse than that, I worried that by simply participating in the conversation, I was worsening the situation. And so I stepped back, but that didn’t help either. Because then I grew anxious about not doing anything to combat misinformation. I considered changing my tact completely, but was encouraged not to risk damaging the ‘personal brand’ I had worked so hard to curate.
In the end, I was so resentful and cynical of the whole mess that my own health suffered. My diet grew pretty poor, I couldn’t find the motivation to exercise like I used to, and my sleep was entirely shot as I spent my nights stressing about what I was doing.
As you can imagine, this was a reasonably miserable holding pattern to find myself in. It took me a long time and a lot of soul searching for me to change my outlook to this:
Fuck this inertia. Fuck it right off.
I grew tired of being confused and anxious, and so decided that rather than be defeated, I would use my frustration as fuel for the fire. Early last year, I re-enrolled to do further study (I completed my Graduate Certificate in Human Nutrition, on top of the Bachelor degree I already held, and have decided to push on and turn it into a Masters by the end of 2020) and silently made a renewed commitment to cutting through the noise and sharing only the best health information, backed up by good science.
So how will this look for you guys? Well, expect a lot more about healthful eating patterns, and a lot less about hero foods and single nutrients. Get ready for fewer buzzwords, and more links back to robustly researched scientific literature. And most importantly, anticipate more realistic approaches to making meaningful and sustainable changes to your health.
Because at the end of the day, it took me way too long but I eventually realised that I do still love health and nutrition.
Turns out it was the wellness bullshit I was done with.