Wellness

Eating 1 Meal A Day And Fasting All Weekend Aren't 'Wellness Habits'

A recent article highlighted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's health hacks, and they're pretty dangerous.

Not everyone’s “wellness” habits are worth sharing ― not even when they belong to the person responsible for most of the “sharing” we do on a daily basis.

On Tuesday, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey delved into his personal decision-making and health tips in an interview with CNBC ― and many are (fairly) calling some of them out for being problematic.

The news site shared 11 of what it called Dorsey’s “wellness habits,” including the fact that he goes the entire weekend without eating ― and when he does eat during the week, it’s only once per day.

The “habit” is best compared to intermittent fasting, as the article points out. The eating plan, which consists of restricting the times you do and do not eat, comes in many forms, and is endorsed by experts. But not one of the methods popularized by the trend involve a nearly as restrictive schedule as the one Dorsey describes. Even in the 5:2 intermittent fasting method ― which involves five days of normal, healthy food and two days of a strict 500 calorie diet ― still includes eating 500 calories during those two days.

CNBC does point out the many holes in the research behind Dorsey’s actions and does not personally recommend that people at home try it. It also features positive choices, like how Dorsey meditates each day and makes time for seven-minute workouts.

That being said, the fact remains that Dorsey’s worrisome eating schedule is still included under a list of wellness habits. This kind of behavior ― where a person consumes nothing besides water all weekend and eats just one meal per day ― is dangerous, according to Allison Chase, an eating disorder expert and executive director at the Eating Recovery Center in Austin, Texas.

“Labeling such behaviors as ‘wellness’ gives the false notion that it’s a healthy lifestyle, which it’s not, and can encourage others to follow suit.”

- Allison Chase, executive director at the Eating Recovery Center in Austin, Texas

“Any time you severely restrict what and when you’re eating, it can easily spiral into an eating disorder,” she said. “Labeling such behaviors as ‘wellness’ gives the false notion that it’s a healthy lifestyle, which it’s not, and can encourage others to follow suit. This can be especially detrimental to those who are battling, in recovery from or predisposed to an eating disorder.”

HuffPost reached out to Dorsey via Twitter’s press office, and a spokesperson said they were not providing comment on this matter.

The piece and the advice also plays into a bigger problem with the “wellness” culture as it exists today. It’s simply not necessary to share people’s routines just because they are successful. Especially when the “habits” are largely unrealistic for most people to achieve and can have a directly negative impact on a reader.

“This can be very triggering to someone who has, is predisposed to or is in
recovery from an eating disorder, especially when touting the ‘positive effects,’ i.e., weight loss,” Chase said. “It encourages people to try such a restrictive form of eating, which can ultimately lead to serious eating disorder habits and behaviors.”

The world “wellness” has taken on a life of its own in recent years, with many debating what actually does and does not count as wellness. It’s also opened the door for people to spread false health claims under its umbrella (ahem, Goop’s vaginal eggs).

Dorsey might not have the same impressionable followers or social media prowess as Goop or fellow poor health-advice-givers The Kardashians. But he is a billionaire with a massive empire and he does, whether for good reasons or bad, leave an impression on people.

The bottom line: Dorsey’s diet might affect him or others who do it, Chase stressed.

“The data has shown that restriction has a negative impact both physiologically and psychologically, with the most concerning response to be overeating, which often brings up additional physical and emotional concerns and leads to a very unhealthy pattern of eating,” she said. “Any type of ‘rules’ associated with food that impact someone’s daily life can be considered ‘disordered eating.’”