Reading Lauren Brooks’ recent blog post titled “I’m Only Human” brought to my mind my own struggles with healthy living.
Supposedly we strive for a healthier lifestyle in order to make our lives better, but often we get the opposite effect.
If you’re interested in healthy living and weight loss (and aren’t living under a rock ), you must have noticed there are numerous healthy lifestyles to choose from these days: vegan, low carb/slow carb, raw food, paleo, primal, low fat, no-grain, gluten free …. you name it!
Ain’t it cool: dozens of ways to make yourself lean and optimally healthy (if you just follow the dictates of the lifestyle).
Or alternatively, they can make your life miserable.
I have never suffered from an eating disorder, but I’m certainly prone to obsessing about food and health. If I happen to read a book about the advantages of a specific healthy lifestyle my mind immediately busies itself with the shortcomings in my current lifestyle.
For me, it never seems to be enough to apply a couple of good ideas or recipes from the diet/lifestyle in question – my mind insists on a complete lifestyle overhaul. Or at least I’m constantly worried whether there is too much or tool little of some ingredient in my diet.
It’s no fun way to live, and I hate it that I used to be so ready to replace my own preferences for some external dictates.
Healthy Lifestyle Stress a Problem for Perfectionists?
I think this might be a problem mostly for people who are prone to perfectionism.
Other people may well be able to be relaxed about their new lifestyle, not sticking to it 100 % and not worrying about it. Like: “Oops, today I ate 120 carb grams instead of 110 – no problem!” But that doesn’t work for perfectionists.
That’s also the most important reason I love intuitive eating: it acknowledges that your eating shouldn’t be all about health or weight loss. Your personal food preferences, your level of satiety and the enjoyment you derive from eating are an equally important part of eating well.
No diet rule can replace your body when it comes to telling things like what foods suit you or when you’ve had enough to eat.
These days I have some rules of thumb for assessing diets and eating styles.
- Do I honestly like the foods?
- How strict is it? Are you supposed to completely give up so and so?
- How difficult is it to follow – do you need a life makeover?
- Does it make your life better?
I’d love to be able to stick to a sugarless diet or like dark chocolate, but I know it isn’t likely to happen. I’m not ever going to give up my favorite treats: milk chocolate and candy.
Question for you: have you ever tried some diet/lifestyle and come to the conclusion it doesn’t suit you? Did you feel like a failure for giving it up?