If you don’t start each day with green juice and end each evening with a 10-minute meditation, are you less likely to succeed in life?
Probably not, but that’s what the wellness industry, now worth 4.2 trillion dollars, can make it feel like.
Still, infusing your life with new healthy shifts is positive. Trying out a new recipe or workout because an influencer or 10 of your co-workers are can introduce you to something you love.
But a healthy habit for one person isn’t necessarily healthy for everyone. You may find that trying to stick with a wellness trend that isn’t a fit can lead to extra stress, obsessive thoughts, or other behaviors that are completely counterintuitive to the reason why you adopted the habit in the first place.
Here are seven examples of wellness trends that people stopped doing for the sake of their physical or mental health.
1. Cutting out alcohol
“Wine drinking and trying new wines is my only vice. I don’t do drugs. I eat healthy 90 percent of the time. I go to the gym six days a week. I’ve tried to give up wine Sunday through Thursday before, but I actually found it made me want wine so bad on Friday that come 5 p.m. I’d overdo it.
“Life is short, and if I want to have a glass of Pinot Grigio, or try the new Nebbiolo while I cook my healthy meal on a Tuesday, that’s fine. I’m happier all week long if I let myself enjoy that.” — Brooke Sager, freelance writer
2. Avoiding takeout by cooking healthy meals at home
“I tried to grocery shop for the entire week, because you always hear the horrors of allowing yourself to order takeout. But because I never knew what time I’d get home from work, it meant some nights I was making dinner for myself after 9 p.m. Or, I just wouldn’t eat anything.
“The guilt of throwing out food was too much for me. So now if I need a few nights of takeout, I forgive myself.” — Faye Brennan, New York City–based editor
3. Living a coffee-free life
“I’ve tried cutting coffee from my life more times than I care to count. The purported benefits didn’t outweigh the headaches, grogginess, and sadness I felt without a hot cup of Joe in my hand each morning.
“I’ve decided that since cutting out coffee doesn’t work for me, I’ll instead limit my intake to two caffeinated beverages per day. The results have been awesome.” — Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, life coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com
4. Following paleo, Whole30, or any other trendy diet
“Quitting dieting is the best thing that ever happened to me. For me, dieting meant obsessive calorie counting, food tracking, and my obsessive dieter brain telling me that I was being ‘unhealthy’ if I made a choice around food that wasn’t perfect.
“I had to quit dieting and teach myself how to eat all over again through intuitive eating principles, learning to challenge my own triggers to get out of the diet-binge cycle. Restricting my food and having food rules was actually driving me to eat emotionally, obsess about food, and experience guilt and shame for eating.
“Now that I’ve stopped dieting, I maintain a healthy weight. But, most importantly, food has no power over me.” — Carolina Drake, wellness coach
5. Choosing the most ‘effective’ exercise instead of the one I love
“I’ve always loved dance classes such as Zumba, but decided to switch to Pilates because I thought it would be better for strengthening my core. I’ve been through a number of pregnancies and my core muscles aren’t great. Ultimately, I gave up Pilates because exercise became too boring for me without the dance and music. I just couldn’t force myself to keep it up.
“I’m now back to Zumba. It might not be the ‘best’ form of exercise for me, but it’s the one that I stick to.” — Rachel Fink, author at ParentingPod.com
6. Getting too much healthy social time
“I spend about 180 days of the year on the road traveling. When I’m home, I always feel an obligation to say yes to every single social engagement, since I’m missing so many throughout the year. But often in New York City, social engagements mean drinks, dinner, or another activity that involves spending money or consuming alcohol.
“Socialization and maintaining healthy friendships, as well as trying new things and experiences, are all health in theory. But saying yes to all of them was burning me out.
“Now I only say yes to an event if it is a ‘HELL YES.’ It’s made me happier, more relaxed. I have a bit more money in the bank, and I’ve learned who my true friends are.” — Meagan Drillinger
7. Living by the mantra “Live Your Best Life”
“A lot of people have bucket lists or dream boards or whatever they use to inspire and motivate them to ‘live their best life.’ Those don’t work for me. Setting big goals like that makes me feel like I’m setting myself up for failure, anxiety, or — because they can seem so far out of reach — depression.
“I use a simple to-do list to check off daily tasks and work items, but anything bigger, like tour Europe or hike the Appalachian Trail, or pay off my mortgage, backfire and leave me wallowing. Even smaller goals like ‘be published by big name publication’ send me into a spiral of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Therefore, I try to be kind to myself when I don’t meet a goal or have a ‘perfect’ experience somewhere.” — Kristi Pahr, editor
Meagan Drillinger is a travel and wellness writer. Her focus is on making the most out of experiential travel while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Her writing has appeared in Thrillist, Men’s Health, Travel Weekly, and Time Out New York, among others. Visit herblog or Instagram.