The all too popular skinny fad that has polarised western society over the past 20 years saw being skinny as not only the ultimate body image but also evoked the message that if you were skinny your life and wellbeing was somehow better than those who weren’t.
This correlation between body and having a better, happier life is still present in our society today but has evolved from a fad about being skinny, to a fad about being “healthy”, with the latest “healthy lifestyle fad” taking the western world, and social media, by storm.
Although this healthy fad continues to embrace an obsession with body image as being skinny or fit is still considered an outcome of healthiness, this fad places great importance on “healthy food consumption”, so much so, it seems the more radically healthy your diet is, or at least portrayed to be, indicates the better your life must be.
Now, anyone could ask, “well isn’t a fad about being healthy not such a bad thing?” The truth is, yes it is. When reflecting on the skinny fad where skinny was idolised, it was well known that more often than not, the measures taken in order to be skinny were not glamorous and usually extremely unhealthy whether it was through starving, weight loss pills, over exercising, extreme diets, vomiting or a combination of the lot.
The exact same can be said for this health fad where people are going to extreme measures to appear as if they are eating healthily diets, by eating in a way that isn’t healthy at all.
Some of the most popular “healthy diets” are;
The Paleo Diet
The eat what you want 5 days, fast 2 days diet
Organic only diet
The Eat everything Raw Diet
The become Vegitarian diet
The become Vegan diet
The soup dietThe eat Gluten free even if I am perfectly capable of consuming gluten diet
The smoothie diet
The mono diet
Only eat things that are green diet
Just to name a few..
Many of these “healthy diets” can be seen on Instagram, a picture sharing social media site. This site could be said to be the home to the healthy diet movement, as the site is specifically designed for its users to present the ideal version of themselves and their lifestyles (Muenter, 2014) via posting well-edited and specifically selected photos.
Because of this, it has become the perfect site for anyone wanting to be perceived by others as healthy, with numerous accounts especially created by users to display photos of their healthy diets and meals, as well as the use of hashtags, such as #fitspo, #cleaneating, or #paleo just to name a few, that are used in conjunction with these photos to continue let others know just how healthy their lives are.
Instagram user Freelee the banana girl has gained lots of attention recently for taking the healthy food trend to a new and not so healthy level. The self-proclaimed ‘fruitisonist’ advocates the mono diet that is an all-organic and vegan diet with a twist. Until 4:00pm every day on the mono diet you may not consume any cooked foods, on top of that, every meal including the cooked meal can only be of one type of fruit or vegetable. So for breakfast you could have 17 bananas, 20 apples for lunch and after 4:00pm a bag of cooked potatoes.
It’s obvious, but the Mon0 diet is extremely unhealthy for a many reasons (Schlutz, 2015) the main being, it cuts out vital nutrients that are required for healthy body functions, results in an unhealthily high Kj consumption through the consumption of such large quantities of sugary fruits, cuts out next to all vital fats and proteins from your diet and lastly is disruptive eating which is literally classed as an eating disorder (Schlutz, 2015).
So it is cleat there the mono is no healthy way to eat and with no dietary qualifications should not be an advocated lifestyle, yet, through her presentation and attention on Instagram and with the idea that extremely healthy is better in full force, she has become a role model and is a figure for many as being the ideally health and happy person living an amazing life, which is a massive problem.
In retaliation to fads like this accounts like #Girlswithgluten which show women eating what could be deemed as unhealthy (or just normal) food have cropped up on Instagram. These accounts aim to make fun of healthy diets or in Girlswithgluten’s case show that women don’t have to be on these ridiculous diets and still be healthy and happy (Stelio, 2015).
Muenter, O 2014, What I Instagrammed Vs. What Was Really Happening, Or My Entire Life Is A Lie, Bustle, viewed 17 August 2015, <http://www.bustle.com/articles/32177-what-i-instagrammed-vs-what-was-really-happening-or-my-entire-life-is-a-lie>.
Schultz, R 2015, The Mono Meal Plan Is One Fad Diet You Shouldn’t Follow, Shape, viewed 17 August 2015, <http://www.shape.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-strategies/mono-meal-plan-one-fad-diet-you-shouldnt-follow>.
Stelio, N 2015, ‘Paleo backlash: Instagram’s new food tren @girlswithgluten’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July, viewed 17 August 2015, <http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/paleo-backlash-instagrams-new-food-trend-girlswithgluten-20150727-gil90c.html>.