Up to this point, I have given insight into the various source of macronutrients, tips on eating healthy, and provided a recipe idea to help inspire you to live a healthier lifestyle. However, before I go any further I wanted to talk about the fine line that exists between being health conscientious and health obsessive. Someone who is health conscientious realizes the true value of their health and understands that there are certain things their body needs to flourish. With that being said, people who are health conscientious also understand the importance of balance and self-love. Whereas someone who is health obsessive does not and instead demonstrates destructive behaviors all for the sake of perfection. The key to living a healthy lifestyle is not about perfection but rather intention. Every single day you are presented with the opportunity to make choices that will either push you toward or away from your goals but it is all up to you. Down below I have included some behaviors that will help you to determine where you lie on the spectrum of health conscientious or health obsessive.
One surefire way to throw off your health and wellness goals is to constantly flood your brain with negative thoughts. Believe it or not, one of the major factors that influence behavior change is your mindset. Our minds are pretty powerful because they can talk us into or out of doing something. It’s important to keep track of where your mind wanders when you are not consciously thinking about something. Bashing yourself for the things that you did not do will not get you any closer to where you want to be but instead will push you further from your goal. A healthy habit can easily become detrimental to your health if you allow yourself to dwell on the negatives instead of the positives.
One not-so-great meal does not ruin the entire day of eating nor does skipping one day at the gym, but your attitude afterwards can. Instead of being so hard on yourself, just make the effort to make a better choice the next time around.
Tip: An easy way to end the negative self-talk would be to place a hair tie or rubber band around your wrist. Any time you catch yourself dwelling on something that you can no longer change the outcome to, move the rubber band/hair tie to your other wrist. This will help you to become aware of your negative self-talk so you can learn to cut it from your habits.
Another indicator that you may be health-obsessive is app dependence. There is nothing wrong with using an app to help guide you or to give you a general idea of your appropriate calories, steps, or macronutrients. However, the problem begins if you find yourself relying entirely on the app to dictate your every move. Checking an app before you decide to eat is a red flag for a more dangerous behavior to set in such as an eating or body image disorder.
Numbers are not everything. The way you feel means so much more.
A good way to check if you are overly reliant on your apps is to monitor the usage on your phone’s settings. If the app is constantly being used then it’s time to put the app down, relax, and listen to your body. I myself do not count calories or steps, but rather aim to get in a variety of fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole unprocessed carbs, and at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Variety and balance between the various types of macronutrients are essential to staying healthy without the use of an app. Learn to listen to your body and trust what it is trying to tell you, you know yourself better than an app.
Deprivation and Exhaustion
As a result of being app dependent, deprivation and exhaustion can both occur if you push yourself too far. Although a part of making healthy lifestyle changes includes pushing yourself to your limits, you should also respect your limits. When it comes to tracking calories, I find them to cause more anxiety than anything else. Placing a number on your food takes the enjoyment out of eating which to me is a big no-no. Those who know me on a personal level know that I love and take pleasure in eating (obviously, I made food my career). So with respect to the social and enjoyable aspects of food, I would say be mindful of the degree to which your calories, macros, or steps rule your life.
Strict calorie restriction or depriving yourself of meals because you “didn’t earn it” is an extremely unhealthy way to make yourself resent an otherwise healthy habit.
Understand that eating disorders are real, very serious, and they do not discriminate. Allowing a number to rule your mind will only hurt you instead of help you.
By the same token, working out excessively and way past your limitations is also just as harmful especially if you are using the gym as a way to remove any “guilt” that you ate that day. As an example, if you have a piece of cake don’t exhaust yourself as a way to punish your body for indulging. Small indulgences from time to time are perfectly normal and a part of a healthy lifestyle. Both food and exercise should not be used as a form of punishment. Take them both for what they are and use them to build you up not break you down.
**If you are struggling with an eating or body image disorder, please seek professional help to better address the issue at hand. You only get one body, love and care for it with all that you’ve got.♥
Before I wrap this up, I wanted to mention that both nutrition and fitness are not a one size fits all type of deal. Depending on your specific health goals, you may or may not find counting calories, steps, and macros useful. However, if your goal is to simply live a healthier lifestyle, I find that they are unnecessary and can be an additional source of stress. Keep it light, fun, and enjoyable and you should be good to go. There is nothing wrong with being cautious of your health, but it should not come at the expense of your mental, emotional, or physical health. I encourage you to practice self-love by being gentle with yourself and understanding that you are human and bound to make mistakes from time to time. Instead of aiming for perfection, make it a goal every single day to make a decision that makes you feel strong, confident, and happy in your skin. Be sure to get in those greens, do those reps, and get some good rest, but be sure to respect your body all the while.
If you would like to see my video on Intention Versus Perfection, click down below and be sure to subscribe to Life at the Mesa!