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The Problem with the Wellness Industry

“Wellness” is a large umbrella term for many facets of health corporations. On one end, you have Gwenyth Paltrow selling Goop (seriously…what is Goop?) which somehow also includes her selling candles titled, “Smells Like My Vagina.”

On the other hand, you’ve got Beach Body pushing potentially dangerous fitness and “detox” plans.

Since the early 1900s, your wellness has been a business. Your nutrition, your health, your exercise has been a business with the sole focus being to make money off of you. And perhaps there is a sort of irony here since I am on this site selling products and services having to do with the industry. We can psychoanalyze that later.

My primary focus in my training and studies is women’s health, nutrition, and fitness. While it is certainly true that men suffer from the issues I’ll discuss here as well, the overwhelming majority are women.

Weight loss, fitness, nutrition, health coaching, etc. ads are, for the most part, targeted at women. So is it not also interesting that a surprising number of people affected by eating disorders are also women?

Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/eating-disorders

It’s a brilliant business model that weight loss/wellness companies use. They identify a problem or they make you believe you have a problem then convince you that THEY are the ones that can fix it, regardless of credentials of the people selling you programs and products. The advertising and marketing is, as I said, brilliant (I mean, we’ve all seen or at least heard of Mad Men right?).

So they sell you the product, and then what? You theoretically get results and go on your merry way being a happier, healthier, and better person right? Well…no. If that were the case, these companies would not be profitable. They are, first and foremost and always, a business. Businesses have to make money and CONTINUE making money to be successful. They target very specific demographics to get their hooks in and bring them back. Think in terms of brand loyalty. While there are many people who buy any brand of toothpaste because to them it’s all the same, there are perhaps many more who are loyal only to Crest or Colgate. Are they really that different from each other? Not really, but the nature of marketing and advertising gets into our brains, even over things as seemingly mundane as toothpaste.

Now imagine that marketing strategy getting into your brain over something that people tend to care a lot more about: their health. All most people truly want is to be healthy and in socially acceptable bodies. I would venture to say that health is a higher priority in most people’s minds than toothpaste.

These wellness companies spew out science-sounding language to make themselves seem more legitimate than other companies. They use scare tactics. They play on your vulnerabilities. They make you hyperaware of the fact that, for example, being in a fat body is “not healthy” or overall socially acceptable. It’s predatory.

In my time on this site, I will cover many topics having to do with this. I could go on for quite a while pointing out the flaws in the wellness industry, but what I’ll leave you with is this nugget of truth:

You are not the problem. You have never been the problem. You can accept yourself just as you are. You can have fitness goals that have nothing to do with weight loss.

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