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Making changes toward a healthier lifestyle is a great thing to do, but the problem is that, like with many things, it’s really, really easy to take those changes a little bit too far.
What starts off as trying to eat a healthier diet, get more exercise, and live a more natural lifestyle can easily turn into a borderline obsession that stresses you out and makes your lifestyle even less healthy than before you started.
It’s easy to get too caught up in trying to be healthy without even realizing that you’re doing it. If these seven signs sound familiar to you, you might want to think about whether your healthy lifestyle is really as healthy as you think it is and if it might need more balance.
I may or may not have done all of these at one point or another in the past couple of years 😉 I’m learning now, though, how to have a much more relaxed and balanced approach to healthy eating and living.
7 Signs Your Healthy Lifestyle Needs More Balance:
1) You’re constantly reading food labels and checking ingredients.
Learning more about the ingredients in the food you eat is a good thing, but it’s also really easy to become obsessive about checking the ingredients for every single thing that you eat.
I don’t count calories anymore because I focus on counting nutrients instead, but back when I did count calories, I took it to the extreme and started checking the labels of everything to make sure I could write down how many calories I had eaten that day. I even had an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my calories for the day. (Yeah, I was that crazy about it.)
And then even when I stopped counting calories, I would spend forever in the grocery store checking the nutrition labels of the foods I was buying, comparing different brands, and making sure I only bought foods that were the most natural and had the fewest questionable ingredients.
Most of what I eat now doesn’t even come in a box with a nutrition label on it anymore since I cook most of my food out of plain whole ingredients rather than buying packaged foods, but if I do eat the occasional pre-packaged food, I don’t even worry about analyzing the ingredients unless it’s something I’m going to be eating every day. And since the number one ingredient to avoid isn’t one you’ll ever see on a nutrition facts label anyways, it’s best not to spend so much time focusing on ingredients.
2) You’re spending all your time sourcing and preparing natural food.
Before I started eating real food, my diet was made up of junk food staples like Pop Tarts, Raman noodles, and Reeces cups. When I made the switch to real, traditional foods, though, I did it in a very restrictive way, and I felt like every single thing I ate had to be 100% natural, organic, homemade, etc.
I spent a lot of time preparing food and trying to find sources for good quality ingredients, not to mention the time it took me to drive all over the place to different farms and natural food stores to actually buy the ingredients.
Even though cooking is something that I enjoy doing, it got to the point where I wasn’t even enjoying it anymore because I was spending so much time in the kitchen trying to make everything 100% homemade from scratch. And since healthy food causing us stress will end up doing more harm than good in the long run, sometimes it’s better just to relax a little when it comes to food.
Making homemade food is great, and it’s something I do most of the time, but it’s also important to do other things too! If you’re spending so much time in the kitchen that it feels like you don’t have time to do anything else that you enjoy, then it’s time to try to find a more balanced approach to healthy eating. The 80/20 rule is a good one to go by for this. If 80 percent of what you eat is healthy, real food, the other 20 percent can be foods you enjoy or foods that are easy and convenient for busy days.
3) You can’t enjoy eating at restaurants anymore.
While you might be able to find a restaurant that serves organic produce or pasture-raised meats, the chances are that you’ll have do a little compromising if you’re eating out. Restaurants are a good place to put that 80/20 rule into practice.
It’s true that the food will probably be cooked in vegetable oils like soybean, corn, or canola oil (all most likely from genetically modified crops). There will probably be high fructose corn syrup in the dessert or sugar made from GMO sugar beets instead of real cane sugar. There will probably be some ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and there might be artificial flavorings, additives, or preservatives.
Eating at a restaurant can be a really fun experience where you get to eat a meal you didn’t have to cook or clean up after and you can try different foods that you might not cook yourself at home. It’s really easy, though, to start analyzing what you’re eating and to ruin the enjoyment by worrying about the ingredients in your food.
Unless you eat at restaurants every single day or unless you have a food allergy, it’s better to try to stop thinking so much about the ingredients in your food and to just focus on how delicious it tastes and on enjoying the company of the people you’re with.
4) You’re following your exercise plan even when you’re tired or not feeling well.
Once I started trying to be healthier, I went from doing hardly any exercise at all to feeling like I had to exercise every single day, no matter what. Even if I was tired or not feeling well, I still pushed myself to do my usual exercise routine when I probably would have been better off just skipping a day and taking a nap.
And it wasn’t just the exercising every single day, either. When I was on the treadmill, I felt like I had to meet my goal and burn the same number of calories and go at the same speed and incline or it wouldn’t “count.” It was only after I started feeling dizzy on a day that I hadn’t been feeling well that I realized I needed to take a break.
I still exercise just about every day, but now instead of exercising on the treadmill at the gym, I take my dog for a long walk because I truly enjoy spending time outside in the fresh air and the sunshine.
Exercising and staying active are definitely important parts of a healthy lifestyle, but just like with eating, it’s so important to keep exercise in balance. Focus on doing activities that you enjoy and make sure you’re taking time to rest too.
5) You’re spending all your spare time on the Internet.
It’s great to learn more about traditional, old-fashioned food and natural living, and it can be really fun to find new recipes to try out and new ideas for DIY projects, but it can get out of hand easily too if you let it.
And while being educated and being aware of what in our food and in the household products we use is important, it can also get easily overwhelming, especially when you start coming across conflicting information that makes living a healthy lifestyle seem even more confusing than before you started.
If you find yourself spending all your spare time scouring the Internet for the latest health information or going cross-eyed staring at your computer screen searching for just the right recipe, it might be time to just shut down the computer and go do something else for awhile.
6) You can’t keep up with all of your DIY projects.
DIY projects are really popular these days, and most of the time, they’re a great way to save money on natural products while also having fun customizing them to be exactly the way you want them to be. They can also become a bit of an obsession, though, just like with anything else.
There was awhile when I was really getting into all of the DIY stuff, but, of course, I started going a little too crazy with it and trying to do everything DIY. Now I do a mix of DIY and store bought natural products.
If you really enjoy making your own beauty and cleaning products and you can have fun with it without getting overwhelmed, then go for it! But if you find yourself spending all your time cleaning up after failed DIY attempts and if your kitchen counters are crowded with Mason jars you haven’t gotten around to washing yet, it might be a better idea to just buy some of those products at the store once in a while 🙂
7) You’re not getting enough sleep because you’re too busy trying to be healthy.
If you’re spending all of your spare time checking food ingredients, cooking in the kitchen, exercising, researching health on the Internet and doing DIY projects, you might feel like you’re too busy to spend as much time sleeping as you should.
If you’re staying up late because you’re trying to get a loaf of bread ready to rise overnight and making a batch of homemade coconut oil lotion and searching for just the right recipe for tomorrow night’s supper, you might be taking your healthy lifestyle a little bit too far.
As important as these things may be, sleep is equally important, if not even more important. If trying to be healthy makes you feel stressed and like you don’t have time to keep up with everything, and if you find yourself skimping on sleep to try to get everything done on your “healthy” to-do list, it’s probably time to take a few things off the list, take a break, and find ways to make your healthy lifestyle more manageable and balanced.
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.