There is a lot going on in the wellness world, great concepts and evolutions but sadly there are trends in the wellness industry that are overused, misunderstood, and abused.
Loving your body! You can be beautiful, sexy, AWESOME at any size. Body shaming in the wellness industry is wrong! I have seen healthy bodies and unhealthy bodies in all shapes and sizes. However we cannot take this to the point where we ignore the real health risks of having not enough body fat or too much body fat, it contributes to inflammation, hormone imbalances, and much more, this loving your body movement can be taken too far when we ignore health risks.
"Everything in moderation and eat what you love." This message is coming from a genuine place, dieting does not work, and we want to get that message out, but this message can be taken too far or used to justify unhealthy eating patterns. As a Nutritionist, I know what my definition of moderation is, and it varies on the food item as well as the health and lifestyle status of my client. The problem here is we all have a different perspective of what moderation is and this can lead to a lot of issues. Read my article here for a little more on the moderation topic. Eating what you love, well if you told me that when I was in my early to mid-’20s it would have been the typical North American diet full of processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. How is that promoting wellness? We know the leading cause of most diseases is dietary, this is just poor advice all around.
Nutritional needs are individualized: Yes, we are all individuals and have different needs, tolerances, and so much more, yet there are still universal nutrition foundations that apply to ALL humans (for example free-sugars have no benefit to all of us not just some of us, and we need to eat in a way that supports a healthy gut-biome...). In my professional and personal experience when people say this to me, they are usually using this as an excuse or argument to avoid making the necessary changes they need to make or to justify fad diets (because it’s working for me…. Until it doesn’t). Most individuals assume if something is not working, they will experience symptoms, however, a lot of damage can occur without indication and are often not discovered until testing is done or it’s too late (disease can be a silent killer). Worse is when one does not want to accept the fact that what they are eating has already contributed to their ill health and instead the individual blames genetics (less than 2% of diseases are genetic) or something else.
Wellness professionals and scope of practice. It is common to hear personal trainers, media professionals/reporters, and other health or wellness professionals giving advice that is not part of their scope of practice or advice that goes beyond their generalized education, such as nutrition advice, prescribing/recommending supplements, or even giving advice on the use of botanical remedies including essential oils. As a nutritionist who has a background in sports and fitness nutrition, I was educated in physical activity and movement sciences but it was “generalized education” meaning I was literate enough to educate my clients on how important movement is to their bodies and so on, this education did not qualify me to be a personal trainer. Generalized education is used to help one educate clients/patients about another aspect that may help them attain their goals if they are on board then a referral should be made to a qualified practitioner/professional who specializes in that modality to help them.
MLM/Direct Sales in the wellness industry: If you are a professional in the wellness industry whether you are a health practitioner, personal trainer, or yoga instructor and you have brought any MLM/direct sales products into your establishment or to your clients, please reconsider. As a Nutritionist, I can tell you I have yet to see a supplements by any of these companies that are properly formulated. As a Herbalist, I can tell you the essential oils out on the market are way overpriced, the guerilla marketing, and advice being pushed is downright unethical and people have been harmed. Don’t even get me started on their lack of transparency, despite saying they are transparent they give you the run around when you ask for legit information that any responsible health professional would require before recommending a product. MLM/Direct Sales “business'” often contributes to the blurred scope of practice advice I was mentioning above. Sales representatives should not be confused for actual Complementary Alternative Health Practitioner, check credentials before taking or following through with the advice, sales reps are trained to sell products not formally consult and prescribe. If I did not convince you to proceed with caution maybe this will help!
The wellness industry is very important for a society that faces unique health challenges, and therefore it’s important we use messaging that cannot be misinterpreted and stay professional.
Dana Clark CNHP, CHC, CHN, CLE
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