All of my life my diet has been very structured without me even realizing it. Living under my parent’s supervision meant meals were always very well balanced. Snacking however was a constant but did not affect me as I had a healthy meal to balance the sugary snacks. While I have always had a sweet tooth and tend to gravitate towards junk food, I never once worried about what I was putting into my body. I never had a problem with gaining weight so I ate what I wanted when I wanted it. This worked for the first 18 years of my life until I went to college.
For those of you who have experienced college know that it is much harder than it seems to stay away from the constant abundance of food that is right at your fingertips, and just one meal swipe away. While I did not gain the Freshman 15 last year I had a tougher time than expected staying away from the infamous DH cookies and late night orders of pizza. Although there are many food options on campus most of it is either fried or not on the healthier side which made it harder for me to maintain the balance of the healthy and unhealthy foods I had eaten at home. This process made me realize the importance of looking at what you put into your body and how you take care of it. Many Americans fail to realize the importance of health and merely think it is something suggested by your doctor but not necessarily life threatening. The reality is being overweight and unhealthy is a serious issues as it can lead to diabetes, heart disease and many other problems. America is in the top 10 for fattest countries in the world with 31.8% of individuals overweight. This alarming fact clearly has been in the minds of many companies as food, clothing, and even tech companies have changed their goal towards marketing to a healthier audience. No one is for sure who or what sparked America’s recent obsession with health but I believe it can partly be attributed to first lady, Michelle Obama.
The Start of Something New
Mrs. Obama created the Let’s Move campaign targeted toward children’s health. According to CNN her campaign has caused a drop in early childhood obesity. The Let’s Movie campaign activated interest in health throughout the country and now coampnies have taken on the task of promoting a healthier lifestlye for individuals of all ages. Companies have changed their focus from things such as weight watchers and are now focused on the balance between exercise and eating right. Health is no longer being overlooked and while it may have been difficult to come across all natural organic foods or foods such as quinoa and kale they are now more popular than ever. I am interested in looking into how this trend has started and if it will last.
Similar to most trends the obsession with health and exercising is expensive. It costs to live a healthy lifestyle. How much are you willing to pay? While I do not think it is necessary to eat all the healthy foods promoted on TV and wear the expensive workout clothes, society would disagree. Advertisements have planted ideas in consumers that in order to workout or eat healthy there are certain top of the line items that are essential to becoming a healthier you.
Among these are items such as a Lululemon tank top for $68 which will automatically give you the ability to exercise everyday. While none of the materialistic items sold will make you exercise, people are tricked into believing it will help. I want to figure out why is it that women (including me) are constantly buying clothing from Lululemon or Nike when they could purchase the same top at a non-name brand for half the price. I want to know why people are now so interested in kale when they could care less about the vegetable ten years ago. People don’t want to just buy the top because it is cuter than the rest or eat kale because it tastes good (which is a lie), consumers want to buy into the lifestyle.
Social Media as a Motivator
I am constantly on social media whether it is through snapchat, facebook, or instagram. While I am not a health nut or enjoy exercising, I follow fitness accounts on all three social media outlets. I not only buy into the lifestyle but I also try to play the part media wise. I am interested in learning the role social media plays on generating a desire to workout and look just like the highly filtered and saturated picture. This blog will explore the companies promoting health and exercise and what their social media presence looks like on instagram and twitter. Through the use of social media companies are able to better promote their products and influence what individuals are viewing on their newsfeeds. When I scroll through and see a picture of a woman working out in nike clothes it makes me as a consumer want that exact shirt because I want to look like her. While not everyone following accounts such as fitnessforall or Nike are buying into the lifestyle, they are able to feel apart of it and view it for free through social media. If health was not a current trend in America right now then there would not be over 11 million posts for #healthyeating on instagram.
While companies are creating advertisements pushing consumers to buy certain foods and clothes, it has also affected their exercising regimes. People now more than ever are heading to the gym. I want to do a study and ask individuals if they are apart of a gym or have recently joined as in the last five years there has been an enormous increase in the amount of gyms and fitness centers created to meet demand. Not only are people going to the gym but they are joining elite fitness clubs such as SoulCycle. I want to interview instructors (Chris Pepe) about what they do and if they think the class pass should be worth over $100. For those who are not familiar with this cult it is a spinning class that keeps on rising in price without losing customers. The most recent interest in health has caused certain workouts to be trendy. Exercises such as spinning, pure barre and crossfit are now what is considered popular in terms of exercise,and the energy surrounding these different ways of exercising has caused many to join in.
The last real change that has occurred due to America’s interest in health and wellness is technology. I have always associated technology with laziness however this has changed. Technology has changed from causing people to increase in laziness by sitting around and watching TV to now an aid for exercising. I want to look into how technology has transformed and is now proven to be a motivator. Devices like the fitbit and apple watch are used by many in their daily lives and have even become interactive as users are now able to compete with their friends to see who got the most steps in for one day.
Overall, the main reason I am so interested in studying the fairly recent obsession with health is because it is a never ending industry. While there are supplements to make a person develop muscles (steroids) or surgery that can be performed to reduce fat, there is no real way to be healthy besides doing it yourself. No matter what clothes you wear, the amount of kale you eat or exercises you do, it is all up to the individual and always will be. People should take advantage of society’s focus on health because even though it might be popular today, tomorrow is a whole other story.