In my life's journey, I've moved through many phases, from a career in television directing and corporate work, to selling diets and cleanses, to plant medicine study and motherhood...ultimately finding my calling as a women's coach. My path hasn't been without its struggles, including a battle with an eating disorder. Living in downtown Toronto, working in the TV industry and being constantly bombarded and brainwashed by the media, celebrity culture and the fitness world, I learned first hand that "if you aren't growing, you're dying" (anyone know who that quote is from?). And I call BS. Through my experiences, I've come to see the pursuit of health and wellness not as a moral obligation as many would have us believe, but merely a personal choice.
AND health and wellness are NOT just about weight and nutrition. It's about So. Much. More. And that will be covered in a later post.
The Wellness Industry and Social Determinants of Health
The wellness industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years, offering an array of products, diets, and trends promising better health and happiness. And if you are on that path of self improvement, then many would call you "good".
It's crucial to recognize however, that health is influenced by more than just our individual choices. Social determinants of health, such as socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and social support networks, play a significant role in our well-being. These factors are often beyond our control (and choice) and challenge the idea that wellness is a moral duty. If I can't afford or don't have access to fresh fruits and veggies does that make me a "bad" person?
Moreover, being steeped in wellness culture itself is often a privilege, as not everyone has the means or access to the latest wellness trends and products.
The Pressure to Conform
Many of us feel immense pressure to conform to societal standards of wellness. We're constantly exposed to images of the "ideal" life on social media and the notion that "health is wealth." It's crucial to resist the urge to judge ourselves or others based on these external standards. Pursuing wellness should never be an obligation; it should be a personal choice aligned with our values and desires.
The pursuit of wellness should be about becoming a more authentic and fulfilled version of yourself, not about being "better" than others or running away from a version of you that you hate.
A well-being journey that is about seeking joy, having a body that serves to fulfill your deepest desires (like being able to climb a mountain, keep up with your active kids, or simply FEEL good), and is fueled by a sense of self acceptance AND the desire to make positive change is one that is rooted in one's own truth. When you choose to advocate for yourself and your health in this way, it becomes a personal journey where you define what wellness means to you.