Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you
(...and every wellness app you’ve ever downloaded…)
To all the wellness apps I’ve loved before... it’s time for us to break up. It’s not me, it’s you.
It's no secret that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok have pushed our naturally self-critical natures up to 11, with 24-hour FOMO and a never-ending competition with the airbrushed perfection of pseudo celebrities who will always be thinner, hotter, and have more followers than us constantly within arm's reach. (Remember 2005, when our phones just called people and we had to flip through a glossy magazine to feel bad about our cellulite?) Those were the days...
Today, we live in a society obsessed with ratios, numbers, and algorithms, where we are asked to rate every meal, shopping experience, and virtual interaction. Truth: We are the ones being rated. Like gluttons for punishment, we are asking (no, begging!) to be scored every time we tune into our apps... including the supposedly wellness-oriented ones that track our oxygen levels, hydration, calories, and sleep.
Has the society-approved quest for eternal youth and beauty become a tracking beast?
I see you, Noom. It’s my mind that’s making me fat, and only you can help. (Spoken like a shrink, or a cult leader – I suspect you’re a bit of both.)
And My FitnessPal, you’re the nosy friend who wants all the deets on everything I put into my mouth all the time. Get a life.
I can’t be the flab-free, spiritually-centered babe you algos want me to be. And I can no longer follow 50 new Instafit influencers to show me how hot I’m not. I am taking my power back, or at least my iPhone. You wellness apps are no longer giving me all the feels. Thank U, Next.
And no, I don’t need an açai bowl or another meditation app to calm the f*ck down. (Although I do love the Calm app. No judgment there.) In fact... there are a lot of good-vibes-only inspirational apps, and I’m so there for them. But for the rest of you? Time’s up on all of your competitive beauty and wellness app crap. The whole soul sapping, fit goals doctrine you spew through constant assessments, questionnaires, and notifications is more exhausting than a needy boyfriend.
The #metoo movement made us rethink the male gaze and empowered us to say, "I’m not comfortable with that." It’s time to do the same with the machine gaze, which feels equally inappropriate and intrusive.
Machines are watching us constantly, and worse, they let us know that they don’t like what they see. It’s like living in a never-ending episode of Black Mirror, but this mirror on the virtual wall is judging us, and guess what? We are not the fairest of them all. I’m on to you, Beauty Meter, and you’re the ugly stepsister. How dare you rate my face. In this fractured fairy tale, we took a bite out of a poisoned Apple Watch and fell into a stupor of letting ourselves be stalked every waking moment by the Wicked Witch of Wellness.
Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it’s off to workout we go! Yet no matter how many steps we take, or moves we make, we will never arrive at the enchanted land by being app-shamed into trying harder to achieve fictional female perfection. Online at two a.m. in the morning, doom scrolling through endless must-see fitness feeds to vote with our likes and emojis on who has the best booty. FaceTune, you poseur. I like my face IRL.
The truth about the pressure of all these beauty wellness apps is this: I am not a Kardashian. I do not need corset training. I do not need to be camera-ready at all times. The only camera that’s following me around is you, wellness app, and frankly, I don’t need the pressure. You watch me when I’m sleeping, you watch me when I’m awake. You track my every step, my heartbeat, my body fat percentage. You are a Lifetime movie waiting to happen. Stalked By My Ex-Fitness App.
I celebrate and believe in science, but I am not your science experiment. I’m turned off, and now I’m turning you off. I kinda dig the fact that I am not perfect. What I am is a wellness work in progress, and that’s great for me.
And no, I don’t need an app for that.
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