Healthy Lifestyle Stress?

healthy lifestyle stress

Is your lifestyle making your life better?

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?

Comments

  1. Aimee says:

    I tried to jump on the Atkins Diet bandwagon years ago after seeing a friend lose about 10 pounds in two weeks. It was miserable and I quit after a few days. I know there have other trends that I’ve thought about trying, but haven’t because they seem to rigid and restrictive.

    I am actually at a crossroads right now and contemplating ways to rid myself of the sugar/sweet craving that seems to take over my body every afternoon. I know I’m dragging my feet on this because I am hesitant to do something drastic like cut sugar out all together. I also believe there has to be some balance in life.

    Great post Satu.

    • Satu says:

      Hi Aimee! I’ve heard Atkins Diet can make you feel pretty miserable. I’m lucky I have never been tempted!

      This is unsolicited advice, but you could check whether you eat too little for breakfast and/or lunch. I often get sugar cravings if I eat too little (of don’t get enough protein).

  2. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! I wonder what happened to the comment I made here a few days ago?! Maybe I didn’t press “post comment” or something, because I was actually back to read your reply.

    Anyway, what I initially said is that a person does have to obsess to some extent for any part of life that is a priority. Otherwise, it sinks too low on the priorities and doesn’t get done well. I’m in the process of getting more rule-orientated about my eating because my laizze-faire eating has gone on too long. I do have to concentrate or I gain weight.

    🙂 Marion

    • Marion says:

      I spelled laize-faire wrong–even after I looked it up. Errr!

    • Satu says:

      LOL, I admit laughing now! I hope people don’t come here looking for the right spelling of laissez-faire!

      Your earlier comment must’ve disappered somewhere in cyberspace, I haven’t seen it around here. 🙂 I did wonder why you haven’t commented on my post yet.

      I think monitoring your eating is ok, but many diets have pretty strict (and often artificial) rules that don’t admit shades of gray. I don’t want my quality of life drop just because I can’t follow the dictates of some lifestye to the tee.

  3. Marion says:

    Or that’s wrong too! It’s laissez-faire!! I can imagine you laughing right now!! 😀

  4. Satu says:

    I’m not entirely happy with my earlier comment…. Yes, I agree that you have to be mindful of what you put into your mouth and that takes energy.

  5. The Thin Seeker says:

    Your post was great and made me think. For me to stick to a diet I have to be strict and somewhat obsessed. Otherwise, I am too relaxed about it and then give into temptation.

Speak Your Mind

*