Between anti-aging treatments and skinny teas, the wellness world has become a field day for the seller and a funhouse for consumers. There seems to be a pill, powder, potion, or lotion for everything. It's no wonder the wellness industry weighed in at 4.2 Trillion Dollars in 2018 and has only grown since. The American Psychology Association defines wellbeing as "a state of happiness and contentment, with low levels of distress, overall good physical and mental health and outlook, or good quality of life."
The question remains, are these products and services promoting our overall health and wellbeing? Or, are they leading us to believe that we are inherently unwell and therefore need these things to achieve said "health"? Who is defining our health and wellness standards, and do they always have our best interest at heart? How do we know which business is genuine and trustworthy and which ones are simply after our wallets? Here are three red flags to look out for as you trek your yellow brick road to wellbeing.
Red Flag #1: Quick Health Fixes Promising Unrealistic Results
A lot of wellness companies might be tempting due to their promise of instant gratification. You might see things like "lose 10 pounds in a week" or "clearer skin in just two days!" Some are more obvious than others, and some can even be quite dangerous to our health. Anything that promises success without much effort or time calls for further investigation.
Fad diets can fall into this category too. WebMD compares opinions from different fad diets Vs professional dieticians. The article observes that nutrition experts remain set on believing that proper diet and exercise are the keys to a healthy body despite the ever-evolving theories in the diet world.
Lisa Dorfman, RD, a dietician, mental health counselor, and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says: "Fad diets tend to appeal more to people's vanity than to their desire to stay healthy. The focus is on inches and pounds, not reducing the risk of diabetes or heart disease." As consumers, it's our responsibility to ensure the dietary protocols we follow have been backed by science are right for our bodies and support our long-term goals of health and longevity.
Red Flag #2: Unregulated Fitness and Yoga Instructors
Believe it or not, that $25-$35 indoor cycling class you're taking may or may not be taught by a certified fitness professional. It can be hard to believe with the rock hard abs, infectious personality, and overwhelming sense of confidence but don't be fooled; no law requires group fitness teachers or personal trainers to carry any license or certification.
However, most studios and gyms will screen and require their teachers to be licensed and insured. So perhaps out in the real world, you're safe. Still, it does propose an interesting question around virtual fitness, no? 2020 taught us all how easy it can be to workout at home. It also gave absolutely anybody the freedom to teach whatever they please whenever they please.
Related: Have you tried these 4 emotional release techniques to let go of trapped emotions?
Though most fitness enthusiasts have good hearts and are not technically breaking the law, it's essential to know who you're trusting with your physical fitness. The simplest thing to do here is just ask. If your teacher is a professional, they will have no problem sharing their certifications with you and will probably applaud you for it! The key to showing up for your well being is taking it into your own hands, and that often means doing your due diligence by researching your instructor and the institution behind them.
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Red Flag #3: When Being Healthy Takes Over Your Life
This one is a little harder to spot and requires a bit of soul searching. If you're reading this blog, chances are you're a wellness enthusiast who loves green smoothies and prefers a healthy lifestyle. That's great, keep that up! We want to look out for when our love for health becomes an obsession and starts impacting our quality of life.
An extreme manifestation of this is called Orthorexia Nervosa, "an obsession with proper or healthful eating." According to National Eating Disorder, some warning signs you might be suffering from Orthorexia are:
Compulsively checking ingredients lists.
Cutting out entire food groups.
Only eating from a narrow list of foods.
Unusual interest in the health of what others are eating.
Feeling of distress when your "safe foods" aren't around and more.
This disorder was only recognized a mere 23 years ago; some studies equate the "clean eating" movement to contribute to the rise and later recognition of Orthorexia. If you begin to feel anxiety upon starting a new diet, maybe consider revaluating your approach. Sometimes we forgot we are not just what we eat; we are also what we think and feel too. All of which play into our overall sense of wellbeing.
Be Your Own Guru
As essential as seeking advice from licensed professionals, the loudest voice in the room should be your inner guide. The innate wisdom of the body is mysterious and powerful and is begging to be heard! No matter where you are along the path, there is always room for introspection and self-reliance.
Self-soothe by practicing these 4 Types of Self-Care!
Adding regular meditation and journaling to your wellness routine will help brighten your relationship with your intuition. Having a balanced and sane approach to holistic health will help you find long-lasting success and happiness. We must be gentle with ourselves, and we must remember that this is a journey and not a destination.