The dark side of healthism

This is not quite an original post.

I’ve somewhat adapted the profound words Lianne Raymond.

Why am I doing this? I just couldn’t top them.

But isn’t Lianne talking about something totally different?

While on the surface it appears that we are talking about 2 different topics – Lianne, minimalism; me healthism – we’re essentially talking about the same thing: seeking perfectionism and control in one’s life, out of fear.

Here it is:

Now, it seems, super health {you know ~ raw superfoods, gluten-free, sugar-free, eating clean, juicing, meditation, yoga and the like} has gone mega mainstream.

It’s almost religious. It’s rarely questioned. There are gurus and gospels to follow. Salvation shall be yours through helathism…

There are some other really obvious reasons why the healthism cult has taken off ~

Control ~ In a world that seems messy and out of control, decluttering one’s body of impurity ~ can provide an illusion of control.

Guilt ~ as the world continues to shrink, we can see more and more how our unholistic ways is linked to modern first world diseases, destruction of the planet, and disconnection with Self. To purge our unhealthy way can feel like a cleansing confession. (Go in peace and sin no more – and throw in three Oms for good measure.)

Perfection/Salvation ~ all my problems will be solved, my life will be perfect and I will find eternal happiness when I eat cleanly, avoid the sweet stuff, do yoga, detox, juice, eat super raw foods and meditate. {This is a variation on I will be happy when I am skinny. By the way, many get into healthism, just for looks.}

Freedom ~ getting rid of impurities can give us a temporary hit of feeling free. When our lives feel full of junk, this is alluring. Ridding of impurities can also breed a ‘holier than though attitude’ ~ my life is more pure than yours, I’m a better person, so says the ego {so, then, are you really free?}

Fear ~ when you dig deeper into any of the above, you will likely find fear {of not being enough, looking good enough, doing enough etc}.

So if you are making your body cleaner from the same mindset that you had while living the conventional  life ~ well, that’s just the other side of the same coin, honey.

{In other words, if we are still seeking control and perfectionism, and comparing ourselves to others while living an alternative health lifestyle, then nothing’s really changed.}

To self-love and the kind of mindset that truly affirms your health {and life}.


{Read the original here. Another great post here.}


13 thoughts on “The dark side of healthism”

  1. Thank you for posting this. It is so true! I think we all need to check inside ourselves periodically to make sure we are doing whatever we are doing for the right reasons. And the quote from Rumi is absolutely true. It is one of the most difficult things we can do for ourselves, but really worth it in the end. It is the story of my life.

    1. My pleasure Susan! It is hard ~ but treat it as an experiment in awareness. I find it challenging too, and I I know it’s something I will have to work on my whole life too x

  2. Great post! I can totally relate as I started out on my healthy journey out of fear – fear of getting sick and wanting to control everything I put into my body to avoid this. Now I have changed my relationship to my body and myself so that my decisions are made out of love for myself as I am right now and wanting to keep feeling great, rather than simply avoiding a future potential threat. It really makes all the difference!

      1. Lesh, don’t ever be afraid to publish posts like this! We need to hear this stuff. We need to think abut important things. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this way…

      2. I think I’ll always be nervous with these types of posts, but will still hit the publish button! Thanks for the encouragement Susan x

  3. You Rock Lesh!! Just wanted to say how cool it is to hear your positive perspective on holistic living. You are an inspiring force around the world!! Thank you!

  4. Reading this post has reinforced for me why I love healthy eating and cooking, although I’m no purist. It’s about the joy of life and feeling good about the inner you. The benefits to the external are a bonus! Thanks for a great website.

  5. This is an excellent post! We put so much stock in believing in living the right way just to meet the end goal. It took me a long time to realise this and shift my focus from wanting to lose weight just to be thin (or normal) and wanting to lose it because I didn’t want to feel controlled by food anymore, because I wanted to feel better and because I wanted to prevent my health from declining. I think it is something that everyone learns when they lose a lot of weight (whether it’s a personally confronting lesson or a liberating one) that losing weight doesn’t cure all your ails. It doesn’t make you look perfect, it doesn’t make your job less stressful, you don’t have the expensive wardrobe of your dreams, it doesn’t mean exercising is a breeze and it doesn’t even necessarily give you all the confidence you think you will have. Thank you for this – I don’t often find truthful reads like this. 🙂

    1. Love your comment Sara, thank you so much. I’m actually writing post right now on my ‘number one weight loss secret’ and I may quote some of what you’ve said here 🙂

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