Health isn’t weight – and doesn’t have to come with a high price tag of Wellness Inc.


Improving your health by paying attention to what you eat doesn’t need to be hard — or expensive. All it takes is common sense.

The most commendable tenets of Wellness Inc. – a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and good sleeping habits, etc. – are also the easiest to defend. Why? Because these are all aspects of conventional medicine as well! The wellness industry has just done a better job marketing it all as their exclusive domain. The snake oil salesmen and wellness gurus have taken the simple common-sense recipe for health we all know and added to it elaborate secret ingredients that not all of us can afford. Self-improvement doesn’t need to be expensive. 

There’s a lot of clinical research showing that small, incremental things can make a difference long term while big changes are harder to keep up. Take weight loss as an example: The BMJ, one of the world’s foremost medical journals, concluded that all the trendiest weight loss diets do tend to work — for about 6 months. After a year, however, the dieters find their wallets may have lightened, but the weight they intended to lose has packed right back on. A fad diet, be it keto, intermittent fasting, or paleo, will fail to work in the long term. One of the main reasons is that they are miserable to follow.

Not only do you have to be disciplined about adhering to strict, often nonsensical restrictions on what you can eat and when you can eat it, but you will also feel deprived of simple pleasures one takes in food and alienated from family and friends at mealtime by unforgiving diets. During a once-in-a-century pandemic, starving ourselves at family dinner while Covid restrictions are already robbing us of human connection makes strict dieting not quite the best choice from the mental health perspective either. In the end, the hyper-focus on high carb or a low carb, all fat or no-fat doesn’t really matter that much, especially when we realize that each trendy diet has the same outcome.

At a time like this, small steps in the right direction may be the way to go, and can be as simple as a walk after dinner or a pack of chewing gum. Both are relaxing – exactly what’s needed if you’ve just given up on obsessing over what’s vegan, gluten-free, or paleo. 

The funny thing about relaxing with chewing gum is that it’s a snack, in a way, and actually helps suppress your hunger. A clinical trial conducted in 2007, found that there is a moderate reduction of caloric intake when you chew. If you are one of the many currently working from home a little something to take the mind off of digging into that looming bag of cookies is a good idea.

The idea here isn’t to sell you on a pretend “Gum Diet.” It is rather to demystify the lure that these so-called healthy diets have. Weight loss always comes down to calories in and calories out; there are little tips and cost-effective tricks that may “hack” your health if weight loss is a goal for you. But please keep in mind that weight is hardly all there is to health. As for gum, it is a simple way to help you take your mind off things. What things? That depends. One small study noted that chewing even non-nicotine gum can help suppress craving in smokers stuck in a place where lighting up is prohibited — a good way to mitigate a bad habit, too. When we chew gum, we naturally snack less, not to mention that we feel less anxious, all of which we intuitively and anecdotally know to be true even before reading all the studies that actually bear it out. 

Don’t let all the “wellness” marketing fool you: Keto, Paleo, Vegan, and the like are all diets. Some people may find temporary success with them, but they are demanding regimens, and, once the costs are added up, invariably expensive. For most people, a healthy diet should center around weight maintenance, heart health, and the joy that whole foods can bring: enjoying food as it is meant to be enjoyed, in a balanced way that includes carbs, fats, and proteins alike, and includes human contact. With a little self-control, we can reject the artificial restrictions on what can be eaten. Why not treat oneself to dessert, as long as it’s done in moderation? What matters is being sensible in food choices. 

So, chomp on a stick of gum, or not. But instead of vying for a spot in the most elite, newest restrictive diet club, cut yourself some slack. You deserve a pat on the back for eating sensible portions but also for the occasional and delicious indulgence in that big bowl of cheesy pasta or that extra piece of fresh-baked pie. Your loved ones will also appreciate the fact that it is their company and conversation and not what’s on your plate that matters most.

Rejecting the fads is better for your body, better for your family, and better for your relationships. What’s especially important these days, it’s also better for your bank account and your sanity.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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2 years ago

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2 years ago

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