“Are you caught in the wellness debt cycle?” asked the April issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. “Good question,” I replied.
I don’t think I’d realised it until I read that article, but I was edging dangerously close to the health and fitness money-snatching vortex. If my eyes hadn’t been opened, I may have unintentionally started spiralling my way down to debt as you read this.
Some of you may be thinking, “Debt? Just how pricey is her gym membership?!” Not that pricey. But that’s not the whole picture…
The UK exercise market is now estimated to be worth over £4.3 billion and gym memberships have risen by 44% in the last year. Add to that the fancy workout gear, the personal trainers and the group classes, and the pounds start rolling away fast – and that’s just the fitness side.
Also take into account our obsession with supplements, organic food and green juice – we’re really enjoying feeding wellness brands with our money at the moment – no wonder so many are popping up everywhere!
Whole Foods recently announced that their annual sales have hit higher than ever since launching in Britain – over £100 million. And every month there’s a new detox to jump on the bandwagon with. Currently, it’s souping (oh, and of course, there’s a book out for it already: The Soup Cleanse).
Now, let all those figures sink in for a minute.
I know it’s not exactly a bad thing, it’s great to hear that Britain’s getting more active, but the problem is that we could be achieving exactly the same results for far less money. We’re being quite careless about it.
Health and fitness brands have cleverly encouraged our craze by using beautiful celebrity ambassadors to make fitness synonymous with style. It’s become a status symbol to be seen taking the latest fitness classes whilst wearing the best gym gear and nourishing ourselves with the most organic of foods.
Being able to share all of this online gives people the opportunity to brag. We hashtag #athleisure and #fitspo whilst celebrities barely breaking a sweat Instagram their workout selfies. They’re paid to make it look like they’re living and breathing these brands in their inspirationally perfect lives. But it’s easy to overlook this fact and people can start to associate the products with success and social “eliteness.” Perfect for the brand – not so much for the humble customer.
When the focus has shifted to gaining social approval rather than gaining health, we have a problem.
Let’s dial it down a notch and stop trying so hard to look the part so we can focus instead on becoming as healthy as we desire, without leaving us broke along the way. Whole Foods and Planet Organic don’t need to be our weekly shopping spots if our budgets are more suited to Tesco or Sainsbury’s. And I’m sure the exercise equipment doesn’t work extra hard because it’s spotted the lovely Lululemon logo on your perfectly designed work out gear. You could do the same job in your high street equivalents.
How To Be Healthy On A Budget
The Meal Plan
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