I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of person, anyone who knows me can attest to this. As soon as I put my mind to something I instantly want it all straight away, or nothing at all. It’s a good quality for many things, I certainly think I’m quite driven and persistent when I have a goal, but this trait isn’t always so beneficial.
I speak to many health enthusiasts that have this personality trait, but in their case it can come out when they try to navigate their health. Eating well can become less about feeling great, and more about sticking within the border of what one deems to be healthy. It becomes more restrictive and less intuitive. This is where you need to find a balance.
The medical term for obsessing over healthy eating is Orthorexia, which is something not many people would like to identify with. The thing is, it’s a humongous spectrum, and one almost all of us can slightly identify with. Haven’t you ever felt very guilty after ‘splurging’ on something slightly naughty after weeks back on track? Then you splurge and you feel like it’s a downward spiral because you cheated. It’s a little like a new years resolution, the ones that are easy to break are the ones that have rigid walls. If you just embraced that splurge, appreciated it for what it was (probably bloody DELICIOUS!) and didn’t think about it again, you’d be back with your bowl of Quinoa at the drop of a hat.
So here are five things to help you find balance, appreciate the odd indulgence and be truly healthy:
DON’T FOLLOW RULES
Sometimes a rigid 100% healthy is not healthy – you need to have flexibility, balance and an open mind. When I first started eating well there were so many more boxes I felt I had to tick in order to be healthy. It almost felt like a rule book that had “something-free” on every line. However, navigating your health by sticking within other peoples’ parameters is not healthy, you need to find your own. Over time I found out what worked for me, the foods my body thrived off and the foods it didn’t, and through this self-discovery the meals I choose to eat never feel restrictive but taylor-made. Of course I want to eat the food that I know makes me feel my best!
NO MEAL IS A “CHEAT MEAL”
I seriously loathe the term “cheat meal.” It says that the way you eat is a chore, and all other foods are a guilt ridden escape. Emotion and food are so highly linked that thinking of eating something to cheat, is not the best way to look at it. Embrace a bit of balance, you don’t have to put a label on it.
If I’m out with my friends and we fancy a sorbet, I’m not going to flinch at the sugar content….. well I will, but it’s not going to stop me loving every bite! The foods you steer away from you steer away from because you know how they make you feel, so having one once in a while is not a “cheat” it’s simply an indulgence for your tastebuds that shouldn’t be associated with anything other than a healthy bit of balance.
DON’T HIDE BEHIND A LABEL
I often speak to women who have gone vegan for weight loss, but hide behind the term to subconsciously distract friends and family. In so many cases the natural effect to eating a plant rich diet and cutting out processed foods is shedding a few pounds here and there, and that is perfectly natural. Where it gets unhealthy is if you change your diet radically and instead of replacing the nutrients in (some-what) equal measure you only go for basic salads and vegetables you are depleting your body of the things it needs to stay strong. Focus on how you feel eating a wholesome plant based diet and if you feel fabulous, your weight will fall where it needs to be. If you do make the leap, know why your doing it based on how you feel.
HAVE FUN, KICK ASS, FEEL GREAT.
What’s the best thing about food? I would say the incredible way it brings people together and of course how simple combinations and flavours can make you feel. What do you think?
Food is supposed to be fuelling you to have wild adventures and immense success. It is of course a pretty emotional thing, but I do feel that in the world of wellness you should never take you or your diet too seriously. As my ballet teachers always said growing up “Have a strong core, and a flexible back bone.” The same goes, know what works, but know you can adapt from time to time and that’s cool.
Don’t just respect your body, but respect your mind in equal measure. Health isn’t a singular thing, and being truly healthy is as much physical as it is mental.
Love the skin you’re in, nourish yourself and embrace your balance.