The world of wellness can be an empowering space, taking our own health and wellbeing into our own hands through the products we consume, the foods we enjoy, the workouts we partake in and the lifestyle choices we commit to.
But if we pause and really look around, you will likely see (probably quicker than I did) that it can also be a very toxic place. Where foods becomes labelled as either good or bad, where fitness is only achieved by extreme grit and hustle, where supplements suck your bank accounts dry, where social media experts leave you feeling guilty, ill-informed or negligent, and where self care involves fancy potions, creams and crystals.
When I made the decision to invest in my own health almost a decade ago, it started with a simple commitment to feel better, to look better and to be better so that I could be around to enjoy all that life had to offer. But years later it had become something far from simple. Baked goods became a science experiment of “natural” sugars and expensive flours, “free” of just about everything. My strict vegetarianism became more of an identity than a health-minded choice, one that took way too long for me to part with (despite what my body was telling me) and far too many conversations to shed. Restaurants, travel destinations, even seasonal festivals were deemed either ‘Britt friendly’, or NOT leaving a city full of culinary adventures, a world full of flavour, and many exploration opportunities basically untouched. So now, my daily “healthy” consumption choices, were paired with very unhealthy obsessive stipulations, restrictions, and self righteous platforms.
What is well about that? Spoiler alert: NOTHING!
With all this in mind, I’ve just started to part ways with my prior definition of wellness. I’ve un-followed those social media experts that post (albeit well research and highly informative) blog posts that leave me staring in my pantry with an overwhelming sense of guilt, I’ve abandoned the ‘free-from’ hashtags from my recent food posts, I’ve indulged in fresh bread, fries (oh baby!), and other meals made with love but full of previously labelled “bad” foods. I’ve strayed from workouts that ‘encourage’ their community with skinny ideals and intense ‘motivational’ bullying. And, after years of working towards my designation as a Holistic Nutrition and Personal Trainer, I’ve realized I have a role to play in all of this.
So in case I’ve ever led you to believe otherwise…
You can feel good in your skin AND eat the occasional french fry.
You can take a walk instead of your regular HITT workout and it does NOT strip you of your “fit” identity.
You can have an awareness of food labels, nutritional value and your overall health, and NOT hang your head in shame when you enjoy a pre-packaged bag of salty or sweet goodness.
Your food choices are not good, or bad. Period.
(Read: You do not have to completely eliminate ANYTHING from your diet)
You do not have to follow someone if they make you feel like shit.
You do not have to spend your next pay cheque on lotions and potions and miracle pills to take care of yourself.
And most importantly, you can be happy JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Nothing more, nothing less.
So the next time you find yourself riddled with guilt over a skipped workout, shamed by a social media ‘expert’, conned into the latest and greatest supplement I challenge you to…. DO YOU.
And in return, I will continue to do ME, share that journey and this ever evolving definition with the #itsalifestyle community.
Be your own definition of WELL,