If I’m honest with myself, I love fads. There’s something about joining the rest of culture and participating in an altogether new trend. Maybe I enjoy the short-lived aspect of fads because any change made isn’t too terribly lasting. More than likely, it’s the strength in numbers that feels great on the cultural stage, a place where most of us are self conscious at one point or another. Items, people, and a gamut of things become all the rage for a fleeting moment, and then they’re snuffed out, immortalized in our mother’s scrapbooks providing embarrassment for decades.
These fleeting, shared enthusiasms are by definition, without any concern for the craze’s qualities. No one hopping on the bandwagon is thinking about the character, caliber, or value of the latest obsession. In fact, one of the most recognized byproducts of participating in fads is regret rather than satisfaction.
Health and fitness as a professional sector cannot escape the rolling tides of fads; we have this odd relationship with science and mysticism. People will have their feet firmly on the ground, and at the same time entertain far off notions and grandeurs. I will routinely converse with friends, family, and even clients whose physical training is on point. Their workout plan is crafted to the tee, all aimed at orchestrating a desired end that fits their goals. They are steadily progressing, with no issues in their training what-so-ever; and yet they’re conversing with me to ask my opinion on whether or not they should switch to this new workout that three guys at work do. Cue face-palm.
It’s the same thing with diet and nutrition. I’m gonna go gluten free. Tomorrow morning I start juicing. I really need to lower my calories. Oh man, it’s time for a detox. I’ve been Paleo for four days. I ought to do a cleanse this weekend. A bunch of my Facebook friend take Isagenix. What do you think of green coffee extract? I just became a Team Beachbody “coach”. Are multivitamins bad? The list goes on and on… As much as the advent of the internet and social media makes this feel like a recent phenomena, it’s not. Ask your grandparents about the grapefruit diet of Hollywood and adds about cigarettes curbing appetite. Ask your siblings or parents about Slimfast shakes and the low fat revolution of the 70’s through 90’s. Lastly, look around you and open your eyes to the astronomical number of diet “solutions” available to anyone with a credit card.
Fact of the matter is fads will come and go. Call it a fear of missing out, a desire for acceptance, or a weird subconscious draw to be like our neighbors. I’m not here to analyze the phenomenon, I’m here to encourage you to observe and test. Like a scientist, I want you to have a control group separate from a variable group. If you’re going to try out something new, actually test it! Make a hypothesis, set duration parameters, and keep all other variables in check. Do your best not to change everything all at once and make records, journal, or take pictures. No, your anecdotal evidence isn’t going to be published in the scientific literature, but at least you can confidently say you went for what was in vogue with some sincerity and intentionality.
In reading this article I hope you don’t swear off fads. I want you to go binge watch the most recent viral Netflix show, get your hair/beard cut in the newest fashions, and even try out that new workout plan with your friends. All that being said, participate with mindfulness.
-Written by Taylor Gish
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