A recent podcast featuring actress Gwyneth Paltrow has gone viral. In the video, she is asked what her ‘wellness routine’ looks like. She divulges her daily diet, which contains merely coffee, bone broth, soup and vegetables. Furthermore, she partakes in a routine called ‘intermittent fasting’, does ‘one hour of movement’ and uses a sauna. These rituals are all part of her detox. When an average woman requires 2,000 calories a day to sustain themselves, these habits do not seem to be the epitome of ‘wellness’. Therefore, this article will examine what wellness is, why this is not wellness and if Paltrow is really to blame.
What is wellness?
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the “active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health”. In layman’s terms, it means to be healthy in every aspect possible. This is nothing new. Doctors agree that eating fruit and vegetables is important, exercising in some form every day is paramount and reaching out
for help if our brains are a bit poorly is vital to being a well-rounded human being. But, Instagram and TikTok are vehicles that spread millions of new opinions surrounding wellness. While some people are well-meaning and simply want to share their lifestyle with others, it can be damaging to impressionable young people. Furthermore, everyone’s bodies are completely different. What might work for Paltrow or another celebrity may not suit a twenty year old student’s body.
there are some practices she described that are not particularly healthy
But, why is this is not wellness?
While Paltrow promotes eating vegetables and an hour of daily exercise, which are universally approved signs of wellness, there are some practices she described that are not particularly healthy. For example, there is no evidence to suggest that a nearly liquid diet of coffee, broth and soup is healthy or necessary. The only reason to go on a liquid diet is at a doctor’s discretion and it is not advised for more than three days. As someone who eroded their oesophagus and thus was advised by a doctor to go on a liquid diet over Christmas 2019 (it is a long story), it was really miserable. I lost weight rapidly, missed out on eating my favourite foods and attending social occasions, including an embarrassing first date where all I could eat was ice cream. I would never describe that as a period of ‘wellness’. Therefore, I struggle to comprehend how Paltrow could promote this lifestyle enthusiastically. But, is Paltrow really to blame?
In 2012, before I knew what a Kardashian was, or had Instagram, I already cared about my body image and eating habits. I have always felt a bit chubby in comparison to my slimmer friends and struggled with some foods. This has no relation to influencers or celebrities; this is an ingrained, societal issue related to how many of us value our appearance. Therefore, perhaps Paltrow does not deserve the harsh criticism, mockery and slander she is currently subjected to. Alternatively, we should imagine that she is struggling too with the same strict standards that society has ingrained into us all. And perhaps, we should all hold ourselves accountable for our thoughts and feelings instead of passing the blame onto celebrities. Take back the power that influencers and celebrities have on our actions; choose not to follow their diet or lifestyle. Stop following creators on TikTok or Instagram who encourage negative thoughts to prevail. Instead, follow people who make your heart happy. Some influencers who tackle health, eating and body image in an overwhelmingly positive way:
She is never preachy about health either; she is always humorous, humane and a breath of fresh air
Savannah is a London creator who has gone on a run every day for 640 days! From someone who struggles to even go to a weekly Zumba class, I find her content inspirational. She is never preachy about health either; she is always humorous, humane and a breath of fresh air among the fitness community. Savannah also tackles more personal topics too, such as being a female and a person of colour in the running world.
While Alex is remembered by many for being the burnt doctor on series four of Love Island, his online presence nowadays focuses on mental and physical wellbeing. He hosts a delightful podcast called ‘The stompcast’ which encourages listeners to go on regular ‘stomps’ to improve their overall health. His Instagram features an array of advice, anecdotes and realism that many of his Love Island peers stray away from. His training as a doctor means his advice is backed up by medical evidence.
If you need help relating to an eating disorder, please contact the amazing charity BEAT, the UK’s leading eating disorder charity: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/get-information-and-support/services/
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