Verywell Fit Core Values

Redefining the Way We Talk About Health and Wellness

Verywell Fit Core Values
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Think for a moment about what it means to you to be fit. You might be picturing someone who eats all the “right” foods, gets the “right” amount of daily exercise, and looks like the “right” size. Right?

From what we’ve observed in the health and wellness space, the journey to becoming fit and living a healthier life can feel like an endless set of paths to navigate—right vs. wrong, should vs. should not, and must-dos vs. don’t-ever-dos—all in an attempt to attain a perfect balance. Sounds to us like a lot of overwhelming rules—and frankly, a lot of pressure.

This is our way of cutting through all the complications, confusion, and unrealistic expectations perpetuated by diet culture and media noise.

Our goal is to simplify healthy living—and yes, break quite a few of those so-called rules along the way.

Why Now?

Verywell Fit has a library of thousands of articles, created and refined over the past 20+ years, written by more than 100 health experts and professionals, and vetted by the board-certified physicians and experts on our Review Board.

With our great reach—30 million readers per month across all Verywell brands—comes great responsibility. Moving forward, this overarching set of principles will set forth a stronger precedent of core values and guidelines for our nutrition and fitness writers, editors, and our Verywell Fit Review Board members who are reviewing our content for accuracy.

This is our promise to the general public, and a style guide of sorts for us—to solidify the way we believe health and wellness information, specifically nutrition and fitness content, should (or should not) be covered, written, and shared online.

Our Mission

Our goal is, and always will be, to help others learn how to live happier, healthier lives—free of diet culture driven fads and weight phobic trends that too often find popularity. We created this to support that goal and help us:

Take Greater Responsibility

Reaching millions of people looking for answers and advice each month, it is our duty to ensure the content we create is of the highest quality, based in facts, and as comprehensive as possible.

Become a Centralized Source of Truth

In an age where anyone can claim to be an expert, we will always use well-vetted research and credentialed experts to create our content and tools.

Flip the Script

We don’t want our content to be the reason anyone feels negatively about themselves, or confused about how their choices of food or movement are impacting their health. We don’t want to play a role in promoting diet culture, weight stigma, or give our readers any other reason to feel less than their best or worthy of feeling their best.

By evolving these types of conversations (and sharing it all in a super public way), we want to inspire other leaders in the health information space to adopt similar standards that can make a positive impact on our society.

Hold Ourselves Accountable

As we look across our network, we know there’s always room for improvement when it comes to achieving greater consistency in our voice among all of our writers and editors and in the visual assets and tools we produce. But we are working hard every day to have them meet the new guidelines and values set forth here, and will continue to do so.

Support You

You, the readers, deserve so much more on the way to learning everything you can about health and wellness as it relates to your personal goals. We know the questions you’re asking and the answers you’re seeking. We will present truth to you in the easiest-to-understand and most thoughtful, thorough way so you can trust us to support you without doing harm.

Our Core Values

We want our content to wholeheartedly represent the best parts of health and wellness—the parts that help you make simple, well-informed decisions that result in feeling stronger, happier, and more confident.

Verywell Fit Believes In:

  • Evidence-based research
  • Experts with credentials
  • Moderation and balance
  • Flexibility and forgiveness
  • Movement as often as possible
  • Individuality and inclusivity
  • Progress, not perfection
  • Curiosity over judgment

Let's expand upon these core values to see how they apply to our content and best practices moving forward.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe in trusting evidence-based information and credentialed experts.

We don't believe in quick fixes and passing crazes, regardless of how interesting or appealing they might sound. We look beyond the title or headline of scientific research studies to learn exactly what evidence was found and how it might (or might not) apply to real life outside of a research setting.

This includes calling out uninformed celebrities, well-funded start-ups with big marketing budgets, and popular products if they do not perpetuate our core values. We will always provide science-backed reasoning for why we do or do not support a wellness concept, product, or piece of advice.

To learn the truth on any health or wellness topic, we turn to (and trust) credentialed experts. If we don’t know the answer (because hey, we’re human, too), we will do everything in our power to track it down for you from the best sources available. 

To support this effort, our content is reviewed by our Wellness Board or Medical Review Board—teams of experts who make sure our content is accurate and based on science. Our hundreds of recipes are written by registered dietitians and include modifications for specific dietary needs, and all of our future Verywell Fit workouts will be created by certified trainers. 

While we trust experts, we acknowledge that there are differing opinions on health and wellness topics, and many times there is no one correct recommendation when it comes to what is “best” for a population. We also understand that scientific studies can be designed to support specific beliefs and interpreted by experts in different ways.

The science of nutrition and fitness is constantly changing, and it is our goal to keep abreast of the most up-to-date information to inform our content. We only cite clinical studies from reliable sources that occurred within the last ten years.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe in flexibility—because what works for one will very likely not work for all.

And it shouldn’t! We are all individuals and your health and your wellness journey is yours alone. The best way to eat for you is the way that works best for you. The best fitness program for you is the one that makes you feel stronger—physically, emotionally, and mentally—or simply better than before you started.

To help meet you where you are in your own journey, all of our nutrition content includes information that helps you know if a particular piece of advice is right for you (or how to tailor general recommendations to individualized needs), and all of our exercise content can be tweaked for various levels by including modifications and challenges.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe in acceptance and avoiding comparisons.

The path to a healthier life becomes a lot more fun when we can accept our bodies where they are right now, avoid comparing ourselves to anyone else’s progress, and allow for flexibility to discover what works for us. The often popular “all or nothing,” “no excuses,” “no days ” “no pain, no gain” approaches to wellness can make us feel bad if we can’t keep up (or don’t want to). However, that showcase of motivation might totally work for someone else.

Our choices to a healthier self have to relate to us as human beings living an actual life. And as we all know, life happens.

Sometimes sleeping for a few more hours is more important than crushing an early morning workout, or vice versa. You might love meal prep or you might never, ever do it, and that's fine. And, hey, sometimes you have cake for dinner—you won't hear any judgment from us! We believe living well means having the curiosity to find out exactly what that means for you.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe every body deserves respect.

Health exists at every size and your size and weight have nothing to do with your worth. Should we say it louder for the people in the back? Every body is worthy of love, fun, and health. We believe in inclusivity and support other brands and individuals who promote it through their messages, products, and visual assets. Verywell is for all shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, and colors.

Above all, we believe in creating a respectful, judgment-free community made up of people who feel comfortable exploring feel-good movement and delicious food together—and raising one another up while doing so.

Unfortunately, there are still those in this health and wellness industry that perpetuate dangerous mantras like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” or continue to bolster a culture that always makes you feel as though life would be so much better if you could “just lose, like, five pounds.”

We’re here to smash those concepts, educate you on the serious dangers of these messages, and champion healthier alternatives.

We aim to create content that reminds you that the definition of perfection depends on who you ask. So it’s usually better to just skip perfection as an ideal all together.

While we aim to eliminate weight stigma, we acknowledge that it exists—for both smaller and larger bodies. Our goal is to address the whole person, regardless of size, and provide information that can empower individuals to live their fullest, healthiest lives, however that is defined.

Remember, we live in a filtered world where we’re bombarded with expectations that aren't always rooted in reality. 

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe in all food—not “good food” and “bad food.”

The words we use to describe food and health matter and can deeply impact our relationships with food and our bodies. That's why we refrain from using judgment-tinged words when talking about food, eating, and nutrition. A few examples would be labeling foods as “good” or “bad” or referring to food or a way of eating as “clean.”

This labeling can make you feel ashamed when you choose a “junk” food, when in reality, it can be a part of a diet and you can feel good about it. Yes, that means that bread, meat, sugar, fat, and any other food or nutrient you've ever been told to avoid can have a place in your diet while pursuing or maintaining overall health.

Food is not the enemy, but it’s not a hero with “super” powers either. Food fuels us, energizes us, often brings us together, and can even be used to heal certain conditions. We will strive to create content that helps more people reach a point where food is enjoyed and brings joy, or at the very least does not pull people further away from this goal.

We are cautious in our approach to calories. Calories are technically a unit of energy used in nutrition; however, this simple term now represents a potentially harmful and negative side of diet culture, which is focused on calorie-counting and fear.

At Verywell Fit, we aim to offer an evidence-based, factual approach to our content surrounding calories and step away from the idea that “calories in versus calories out” is the simple solution to weight loss.

We acknowledge that calories can be triggering for those with disordered eating and that individual energy needs extend way beyond this stigmatized term. It is our goal to incite readers to nourish themselves in mind, body, and spirit–not just based on calorie needs.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe in mindful, inclusive, non-judgmental, and balanced eating.

We endorse this style of eating based on a definition of balance that you discover for yourself and that works for you personally. We define “diet” as the amount and types of food and the manner in which you eat, as opposed to fad diets that tell you a prescriptive way to consume (or not consume) food. 

Your diet doesn’t have a beginning or end and can change from day to day. It doesn’t need to eliminate foods unless you have an allergy or medical condition—or you don’t like the way it tastes.

Restriction is dangerous and dieting increases the risk of eating disorders, weight gain, preoccupation with or fear of food, and distance from our own biological hunger and fullness cues.

We not only do not support fad diets, but we want to spread the word on their dangers. That’s why you won’t find any diets disguised as “lifestyles,” cleanses, or detoxes in our healthy living toolkit. However, you will see us write about them on Verywell Fit, covering them objectively while presenting the facts, so you can make informed decisions for yourself.

We acknowledge the potential negative consequences and long-term effects of diet on one’s relationship with food and aim to focus on the benefits of adding foods to the diet rather than subtracting. That said, our site does feature content that may be potentially triggering for those with disordered eating, specifically related to weight loss and diets.

We understand your relationship with food needs to be in a balanced place before detailed nutrition information can be positive and impactful. So, we also provide resources to help you heal your relationship with food and eating (if you need some support), as well as general nutrition guidance.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe weight loss isn't a deserving goal in and of itself.

Weight loss is complicated and it’s not always the most appropriate goal for everyone and it’s definitely not the answer to all your problems, the means to become a better person, or a way to be valued more by society. A sole focus on weight loss can be harmful to many populations, including those with disordered eating behaviors. 

Whenever we talk about weight loss, we will approach the topic with science-backed information and be sure to include the many other factors that play a role in weight (like sleep, genetics, hormones, stress, and more). Not to mention, there are many other side effects of a healthier lifestyle that have nothing to do with a number on a scale—including more energy and less anxiety.

We aim to shift our focus away from scale victories and towards health wins, with an emphasis on positive changes such as increased strength and improved cardiovascular and mental health.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe healthy is possible for all.

Making changes to the way you cook, eat, and/or exercise in an attempt to achieve a “healthier life” can feel complicated, not to mention expensive and inaccessible. But it doesn’t have to be.

We will strive to keep our content practical and simple and make our resources available for all—at every level and in ways that won’t break the bank. We prove that through budget-friendly recipes (with familiar ingredients), no-gym-required fitness tips, and more health-related tools to make your healthy lifestyle completely within your grasp.

Because here’s the secret: You’re not missing out on any hidden health benefits if you choose not to attend expensive wellness retreats or drink Instagrammable matcha lattes daily. We promise. 

That said, we acknowledge that privilege and physical ability are closely associated with how successfully a person can follow meal and exercise plans. Lack of access to fitness equipment, gyms, nutritious foods, and cooking equipment can prevent someone from attempting fitness and nutrition goals.

Verywell Fit Core Values: We believe the path to lasting health starts with small steps.

Establishing healthy habits isn’t about one quick fix diet, an unsustainable exercise routine, or a total overhaul of everything in your life. Any journey, no matter how long, begins with a single step. This approach gives you the room to get curious and try out different workouts and recipes. If you like them, great! Then you can practice fitting these different habits into your day in ways that make you feel good.

Wellness is about finding what makes you feel best physically, mentally, and emotionally. When you discover your best fit, those lifestyle changes are based on something larger than your calories burned, miles logged, or pounds lost. 

It’s natural to feel scared when you’re looking toward big goals or a big change, or trying something completely out of your comfort zone. We encourage the freedom to explore—with no set timeline—so you can discover what makes you feel good. We promise to provide you with the knowledge and confidence you need to take that first step and give you realistic next steps to continue to grow.

We will also challenge you to think about the why behind your personal health and wellness goals and encourage you to look at health as a whole picture—sleep, nutrition, fitness, stress management, and social support—so you can find a combination of tools from these categories that makes you feel consistently good and able to enjoy daily life. 

Style Guide Updates

As a team of editors and writers, we love words and understand they hold great power. That said, there are some words and concepts we won’t endorse moving forward as they go against many of our core values. This is an evolving guide as we continue to rethink the usage of potentially harmful language in our content. 

Skinny, bikini/beach body, pear-shaped, tight, firm, toned,and other words that describe a person’s body or imply there is a preferred ideal should be avoided.

No size should be worshipped because we are so much more than just a body. Instead, we aim to stress physical strength and mental health benefits (like confidence!) that can result from a commitment to a balanced diet and exercise.

Flaws, flab, trouble spots, problem areas, muffin tops, spare tires, saddlebags, cankles, love handles, bat wings, man boobs,and other hurtful and harmful words and phrases that perpetuate the idea that our bodies are something that need to be “fixed” should not be used.

Instead, we will use more helpful anatomical descriptions when needed to point out where something is on the body, but try to avoid talking about any specific area of the body, or the body as a whole, as it relates to appearance.

Overweight, obese, underweight,andnormal weightshould be used in conjunction with official ranges as defined by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Whenever possible and appropriate, these references should be paired with our Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator for further explanation. We do not want to contribute in any way to weight stigma—the idea that what you weigh equates to your personal value. We believe in the celebration of body diversity and all of our beautiful forms.

However, we also acknowledge that Body Mass Index (BMI) is a dated, biased measure that doesn’t account for several factors, such as body composition, ethnicity, race, gender, and age. Despite being a flawed measure, BMI is widely used today in the medical community because it is an inexpensive and quick method for analyzing potential health status and outcomes. For this reason, we include BMI on our site, with a callout that highlights the limitations and bias of the measure.

Burn/burning offcalories or food consumed implies guilt and paints exercise as punishment—or the right solution to a wrong choice.

Alternatively, you do not “earn” or “deserve” food just because you exercised. Fitness should not be singularly focused on weight loss, but rather overall health. It has so many other benefits—especially when combined with a healthy, balanced diet—including better sleep, better mood, and even maintaining bone mass as we age.

Dieter, diabetic, gym rats, and other lazy labels that confer judgment should be replaced.

Instead, use “people who have diabetes” (or another health condition), “people who love working out,” “people looking to eat healthier,” “people following a particular nutrition plan or diet,” “people interested in,” or—oh!—how about just “people?”

Detox, cleanse, cheat meals, clean eating,and any other vocabulary that endorses diet culture should be discussed appropriately, not endorsed.

This language is dangerous—creating guilt and implying that the opposite is wrong is a tricky territory. You’ll see us use these terms only when we are dispelling myths associated with them.

Should…should be used with thoughtful consideration.

The word “should” should be used thoughtfully, not in a way that implies an absolute need to do something just one way. This important distinction supports us all in feeling more comfortable being ourselves and finding the choices that work best for us, without judgment. We believe in flexibility, remember?

A Word From Verywell

Through our content creation and brand reach, we will continue to educate and inspire you to adopt healthier habits that lead to a happier life. Those choices are all yours to make, but we will always support you by sharing the best research-backed advice from qualified experts, modifications and variations to fit your individual lifestyle, and plenty of positive cheerleading along the way.

In the spirit of progress, not perfection, we welcome your feedback! If you have thoughts to share about our core values, or ever see content on our site that feels like it's in opposition to what's being shared here, please reach out to Together, we can work toward our goal of simplifying healthy living for all.

By Team Verywell Fit
At Verywell Fit, we are dedicated to empowering you with the best answers to your most pressing questions, from healthy eating to exercise and everything in between.