Since the rise of the famed social media app Instagram, dozens of “Instagram Influencers” have slowly begun to dominate our feeds. The luxurious lifestyles filled with designer apparel and extravagant vacations captured our attention, their always-glowing complexion and seemingly flawless bodies creating the perfect foundation for their breakthrough into the world of social media. However, recent influencers have experienced heavy backlash following their constant publicity of “fad” diets. Many of the self-called “wellness influencers” categorize their diets as plant-based, specifically taking a liking to celery juice and other low-calorie meal supplements and staying away from meats. While their social media appearance is nothing less than flawless, their diets have proven to be more harmful than helpful.

Some of the most prominent “wellness influencers” include Loni Jane Anthony, who fully transformed her lifestyle following a binge of nothing but junk food and alcohol throughout her 20s. Anthony claims that having a sculpted body starts with foregoing all meat and animal products from your diet in order to satisfy being a true vegan. Her self-titled diet of being an “abundant plant-based organic lifestyle” promotes a life of simplicity and happiness. Her constant postings of family and bright foods could entice any blind-eye. Yet, her loyalty to a strict vegan diet can promote more harmful growth-defects than what her influencer feed provides.

While Anthony’s seemingly toned physique and beaming smile show nothing less than a healthy lifestyle, educated experts have pointed out that a ritual vegan diet has many negative aspects that are not shown in the common Instagram feed. The vegan diet promotes a lifestyle of weight loss and environmental sustainability, yet at many times, followers of this diet fail to acknowledge that veganism lacks many vital nutrients and the excessive weight loss can actually result in involuntary weight gain. Ultimately, this unreliable promotion of an envy-worthy lifestyle is nothing more than a gateway to a detrimental diet and a possible pathway for future health complications.

These influencers are claiming to know the secrets to having the perfect “beach body” and know the “best” diet for everyone, when in fact, the only person that knows what’s best for anyone is themselves. Health is more than the amount of food that is on your plate or the numbers on the scale. Rather it is the embodiment of one’s mental and physical well-being. Leave the screens and step off the scale to find happiness and confidence in your body. Universalizing body types and diets is just as detrimental to individuals as is eating “junk” food and consuming alcohol. Instilling in people’s minds that one diet is superior to another is toxic. Each individual’s body is different; there is no diet that suits everyone. Instead, it is about finding balance in your diet, exercise routine, and mental wellbeing.

It’s okay to be concerned about your health and appearance, but it is not okay to obsess over it to the point of sacrificing your mental and physical health. When looking to change your diet and life to a healthier one, it is important to consult a certified nutritionist or doctor rather than searching your Instagram feed for the most appealing picture of a “healthy” influencer. Looking for nutritional advice on Instagram is the equivalent of going on Twitter for a medical diagnosis. These individuals are neither reliable nor educated, but rather speaking on behalf of what appeals to their own body.

A healthy lifestyle is not about the amount of fruits and vegetables you consume, or how much exercise you are getting each day. Your health is not confined to the numbers on the scale or the measurement of your waist; it completely encompasses your physical and mental well-being. The size of your clothing does not determine how healthy you are. Your health is only as strong as your happiness.

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