I've had to make some lifestyle cuts recently. Unbeknownst to me, London rent, working without a wage and fostering a penchant for Waitrose-based treats hinders the possibility for your world to be dictated by the recommendations of glossy health and beauty editors. Who knew? Not me, as usual - and let me tell you, these financial enlightenments really are starting to grate. I mean, giving up shellac was one thing, but having to live in a world without green juice, barre classes and dynamic pilates... what fresh hell is this?!
Ha. Though there were tears and tantrums, living without my breakfast smoothies, spiralized suppers or flexi-skinny-girl gym classes wasn't to blame. I can get an endorphin kick taking a turn around Shoreditch park. More of a problem was no longer being able to attend classes at a particular gym I had come to love, with all it's glossy press coverage and attendance by those in-the-know. On the realisation of the unaffordable cost of my fitness habit, I was suddenly made to feel uninvited from play dates with the cool kids. So there I was left: awkward, alone and out in the cold clutching my yoga mat with not a juice bar in sight.
Okay, not totally true... I don't have a yoga mat. The point, however, is there. I've been driven to trauma over where I break a sweat, and the trainers I do it in. Case closed: I have fallen victim to the wellness trend.
If you've suddenly developed an interest in green food, quinoa and almond milk, I'd hazard a guess that you were yourself a prime victim too. The trend is not just about wanting to lose weight - you can get skinny on a steady stream of diet coke, cocaine and cigarettes (and probably have fun doing it) - but this is no longer the style. 2015 has seen the rise of clean eating and clean living. The bodies in the spotlight - the lithe, tanned specimens we really covet - don't spend their time partying. They drink water, do their squats and eat their veggies. They get their eight hours. They glow. That's the standard - and those that care, go a long way to try to meet it.
Fashion has played into this too. Most obviously, sportswear as ready-to-wear came in in a big way, with influences on the catwalk and real-time impact on the street. Most of us now wear Nikes to work without batting an eyelid for dress codes, and I'd wear my dri-FIT leggings everywhere, were it not for want of variation. Collaborations have been rife: Mary Katrantzou x Adidas Originals and Nike x Pedro Lourenço being last year's latest offerings, with a mid-range leisurewear collection from Stella McCartney and Adidas, Stella Sport, just recently being launched at Topshop.
It's not just the clothing brands that people are fighting over, tweeting over or doing anything to squeeze into, though. Frame, Barry's, Soul Cycle, Skinny Bitch Collective and Bootcamp Pilates to name a few, have all developed a fierce following - and long waitlists. The gym cliques have arrived, and with their oft steep fees and invitation-only classes, belonging to one can be as much a status symbol as any. Moral and social superiority come as an added bonus, of course.
Food tribes have come to offer similar badges of honour. I've been on the 5:2 - and love people to know it. Why I get a kick out of announcing I fast two days a week is a mystery, but it's undoubtedly fuelled by our clean-lean culture. Other plats du jour? Look to Deliciously Ella or Hemsley & Hemsley - both of whom have built empires on a combination of recipes, envy inducing radiant skin and infectious positivity. Beyonce (aka: the queen) just launched a vegan meal delivery service, so you too can undertake the 22 day challenge. Gwyneth has been pumping Goop into our inboxes for years. These women sell a lifestyle - and we are definitely buying.
So, is this all really just that we've become more health conscious? Possibly. Likely too is that it might have crept through as a result of our new selfie-obsessed culture. Having had a quick glance, I can report that my own Instagram is riddled - a combination of gym selfies, guilt-ridden treats and righteous kale smoothies. We are blatant in our health bragging, only going to show the depth of our wellness aspirations. Plus, those chia seeds will help you look particularly youthful under the right filter.
I myself, am having to respectfully bow out. My vitamins will be coming in chewable form and my veggies will no longer be juiced. I've joined a local low-cost gym. My kit though, has been harder to part with... and just because my gym is drab, doesn't mean I have to be, right? My favourite picks out now are below. Baby steps...