Sunday 30 April 2017

Meet Irish doctor launching her own fitness and lifestyle book despite grueling hospital routine

Doctor Hazel Wallace is to launch her own fitness and lifestyle book on the back of her successful blogging career. Photo: Instagram @thefoodmedic
Doctor Hazel Wallace is to launch her own fitness and lifestyle book on the back of her successful blogging career. Photo: Instagram @thefoodmedic
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

There are a few essential requirements if you want to carve out a career as an Instagram fitness star.

A body that could stop traffic is imperative - even better if you have a USP like Izabel Goulart's abs or Jen Selter's bum.

Add some inspirational quotes, a killer collection of Aztec-inspired leggings and some overhead food photography, and you have an even better chance of gaining followers.

Throw in a photograph of a dog, a green juice and a shot of you in lotus position on a shoreline, and you are well on your way to netting a sponsorship deal with a leading antiperspirant brand.

Raising the bar: Dr Hazel Wallace, aka The Food Medic, is an ambassador for Sweaty Betty
Raising the bar: Dr Hazel Wallace, aka The Food Medic, is an ambassador for Sweaty Betty

This isn't always enough, though. If you really want to expand your reach on Instagram, it helps if you're young, beautiful and tanned...

Many Instagram "fitspiration" models eventually turn their sideline into a full-time job. After all, it's hard to find the time to take 30 selfies in the gym changing room mirror after a long day doing barbell bent over rows.

Yet it's difficult to draw inspiration from someone who doesn't have to sit at a desk for at least eight hours a day, or walk by the hot chicken roll counter on their way to the fruit and vegetable section.

The 'if I can do it, you can do it' motto has significantly more meaning when the person promoting the lifestyle actually has a life outside of the gym. This is where Dundalk-born Dr Hazel Wallace - aka the Food Medic - comes in.

The 26-year-old health and fitness blogger combines a 116k-strong Instagram following with a career as a junior doctor at University College Hospital in London where she is kept busy working 12-hour shifts (no more excuses for skipping the gym now).

While many fitspiration figures like to quote Hippocrates - "let food be thy medicine" - Dr Wallace has taken the Hippocratic oath.

She's also a qualified personal trainer, an ambassador for Sweaty Betty and the author of a cookbook which comes out in May. The Food Medic has positioned herself as the antidote to the misinformation that is peddled within the diet industry.

"The biggest thing about having a medical background is it allows me to critically analyse papers," she explained recently.

Doctor Hazel Wallace is to launch her own fitness and lifestyle book on the back of her successful blogging career. Photo: Instagram @thefoodmedic
Doctor Hazel Wallace is to launch her own fitness and lifestyle book on the back of her successful blogging career. Photo: Instagram @thefoodmedic

"There's so much online at the moment and you need to know how to pick out the good evidence from the bad."

In a world where a six-pack is often enough to prove your expert credentials, it's certainly refreshing to have a fitness figurehead whose research is as solid as her abdominal muscles.

Dr Wallace has raised the bar (after doing a pull-up on it) and one wonders if her popularity is indicative of a wider trend.

As the clean eating backlash gains ground, will legitimate, bona fide experts replace ubiquitous overnight fitness gurus?

Or is Dr Wallace's white coat merely an accessory to her beauty? Put simply, are her followers more interested in finding out where she bought her sports bra than in what university she gained her degree?

There may be a genuine appetite for expert insight in the health and beauty industry, but the 'young, beautiful and tanned' entry requirements still apply - even if you have letters after your name.

Irish Independent

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