I’ve been thinking a lot about healthy habits lately. These seemingly wonderful things that we work so hard to put into our lives. We can go from consuming loads of junk food to eating tons of veggies. Maybe we go from never working out to running 6 days a week. There are so many healthy habits we build into our lives to create our healthy lifestyles. But how do we know when our healthy habits aren’t so healthy anymore? How do we know when maybe they’ve become unhealthy?
It’s easy to forget that in the grand scheme of health that your mental health matters too. You can eat all the kale, do all the sit ups and run all the miles. But if your mental health is crap, you’re still not really healthy. So today is more of a conversation to create mindfulness. I am not someone who can officially diagnose or treat mental illness. What I am is someone incredibly passionate about breaking the stigma around mental health. My hope is simply that maybe if some of today’s points resonate with you, you’ll look into getting the help you need. Building a healthy lifestyle is more than what you eat and when you workout. Your mind matters too.
Your Life Revolves Around The Gym
Truthfully, I think all of today’s “points” have a grey area. The gym is definitely one of those in my book. I have nothing against the gym. It’s one of my favorite places these days and has become a sanctuary for my mental health. I know the days that I don’t really get that time in make a difference simply because it’s my own personal chill time.
However, I also know that it’s easy to develop an unhealthy relationship with the gym. Maybe that means you prioritize it over everything else. You’d rather go to the gym than a friend’s birthday dinner. Or you can’t go a day without going for a workout. If the`1` gym is as essential in your day as eating is then things are probably out of balance. And when your healthy habits start dictating your schedule & your life, it might be time to consider some of them are reaching an unhealthy point.
You Obsess Over What You Eat
I’m sure a lot of us can remember our moms during the Atkins phase. The “c” word was considered dirty in my house. Yep, I’m looking at you carbs. It’s something I often find people still struggle with these days. It’s easy to think that cutting out this one food group or doing that one fad diet will be your key. And in all honesty, it can be very enlightening. Clearly, I’ve fasted coffee, refined sugar & alcohol this year and I’ve learned a bunch.
However, I’m saying there’s a fine line between mindfully eating and obsessively eating. And that fine line is where the unhealthy kicks in. This looks different for everyone so it might not be so easy to notice. If every food in your life has a label of good or bad and you will only eat the good foods, your healthy habit might be unhealthy. If you’re scared to eat bread, carbs or even bananas, there might be a problem. Food obsession is sneaky and can start off innocently. But if you’re not careful, what starts as a healthy habit can quickly turn into something not so healthy.
YOU WON’T GO OUT WITH FRIENDS BECAUSE YOU’RE AFRAID OF THE MENU
With dietary requirements and food intolerances, eating out can be incredibly challenging. I’ll be the first to admit that I like to look at a restaurant menu before I go out to eat. Finding gluten free and dairy free options isn’t always easy. But staying at home because you couldn’t possibly eat anything some restaurant has to offer may be the grey unhealthy area.
When your physical healthy is being prioritized over your mental health, things get wonky quickly. And believe me, I get that eating in a way that makes your feel good isn’t always popular. However instead of avoiding all happy hours and meals with friends, consider finding a middle ground. Suggest a restaurant that has food options that won’t upset your stomach. Order from the sides to make the menu work for you. Or maybe, just maybe, let yourself have a treat. Twenty years from now, you’re going to remember the fun nights with friends and the good times you had together. But if you’re hiding at home too scared of the dinner menu, there won’t be too many of those memories made.
YOU NEVER REST
Speaking as a girl with very fickle hormones, rest is important. Your body isn’t designed to have crazy cortisol and stress levels all the time. It just doesn’t work that way. You need to rest. And if the idea of lounging and watching Netflix all day isn’t your jam, then that’s okay. Go to the beach. Get a massage. Sleep in an extra hour. TAKE A BREAK.
All the hard work you’re doing in the gym and in your every day life will be for nothing if your body doesn’t rest. You’ll burn out or you won’t be able to sustain the results you’re looking to achieve. So if you’re like me and you go go go all the time, hear me girl. It’s time to rest. We are here working to build our happiest and healthiest lives. And when we take rest days off the table, our healthy habits are becoming unhealthy.
YOU FEEL GUILTY AFTER YOU EAT
If you read the blog often or have seen any of my vlogs, you may know I have a soap box about “guilt free” advertising. I HATE IT. You should never ever EVER be made to feel guilty for eating something. Having a cup of ice cream or a slice of pizza should be something you can enjoy. Because remember we are making memories not hiding at home in our pjs, right?
I spent the better part of yesterday in Seaside enjoying the sunshine, food and the day with one of my besties. Did I eat all the veggies and drink all the water? Nope, not at all. Do I feel guilty today because of it? Again, no. You should be allowed to enjoy your life. If you constantly feel guilty because you ate something, it might be time to reexamine your healthy habits. Because when food starts to come with a a guilty after taste, there’s something unhealthy happening.
YOU REFUSE TO LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR
I am all for being your own health advocate. Seriously, I get it. Constantly being thrown medications isn’t doing any of us any good. However, there comes a time where advocating and ignoring aren’t helping you. Over the years, I’ve heard story after story about girls who cut out carbs, dropped to seriously low body fat and lost their periods. But when they go to the doctor for help, they choose to ignore the idea that maybe just maybe their body would be happier with an extra 5 lbs. Is it really worth it to do all these things to look like unrealistic photoshopped magazine pictures if you’re not even healthy?
If you need to get a second opinion, get a second opinion. Heck, if you’re that convinced your doctor is wrong, go for a third. But if you are refusing to listen to the advice of trained medical professionals time and time again, there might be some unhealthy habits creeping in.
I know that orthorexia isn’t the most commonly spoken about eating disorder. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common. And if your healthy habits are leading you to extremes, it’s time to consider that they aren’t so healthy. I hope that you know the pursuit of a healthy and happy life doesn’t mean sacrificing your mental health. You are so beautifully and wonderfully made. And you are so very loved. Please never be afraid to ask for help and if you want to learn more about orthorexia, I’d highly suggest checking out Renee McGregor’s book*. It’s been a wealth of knowledge and given me great perspective. Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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