If you watch the news chances are good that you’ve heard at least one report about the obesity epidemic, genetically modified foods or the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners. We are told to buy local and eat organic. In the same broadcast some nutrition guru will tout the benefits of becoming a vegan and suggest we cook with lard. For a society that is so overweight, we sure are overwhelmed by late night infomercials promising a toned backside in 20 minutes a day, for just three easy payments of $29.95. Given the amount of misinformation masquerading as fact, it’s no wonder that people become cross-eyed with confusion. Unfortunately, one of two things ends up happening; either you do nothing or you try everything.
While I am certainly not suggesting that you opt for option one, standing idly by allowing as your body betrays you, choosing to do too much can have the same disastrous results. So, the key is to find a balance somewhere between obese and Olympian.
Are you too Healthy?
Obsessing over ingredients, food labels and calories can be warning signs of an unhealthy fixation known as orthorexia. Even if your healthy habits don’t crossover into the obsessed category, striving to be the perfect eater or always trying build a better body can do more harm than good.
Cutting out foods like sugary drinks and processed foods is a great way to promote fat loss. Add in a little exercise, and it is possible to make dramatic improvements in body composition. However, counting calories down to the last bite and eliminating entire food groups from your diet is risky business. Speaking from experience, my body and mind suffered when I cut out dairy and grains from my diet. I made the switch so quickly that I was not prepared to replace the calories that I used to get from milk and bread. As a result, my performance suffered and I was in a constant state of low energy, lacking vitamin D, calcium and carbohydrates to use as energy.
So, if you cut down on carbs or aspire to be a vegan, be sure that you know where your calories and nutrients are going to coming from. Otherwise, you are likely to become sick, lazy and lethargic, not more fit.
Lowered immune system
Being healthy should keep you from getting sick, not be the reason why you have the flu. But, when you don’t fuel the body properly the immune system will break down. Just living, surviving day to day, costs about 2,000 calories. Because you are super healthy and working out you will need even more food. So, when you try to get by on 1,500 calories a day, your body does not have the energy to fend off disease.
If you are always tired, fatigue quickly, or get lightheaded upon standing, you could be suffering from aneima. Again, in an attempt to be healthy, and because you are not eating enough iron, B-12, or folate, you may have developed a deficiency of red blood cells.
Hormones and Sex Drive
Granted being healthy is important, but if it starts messing with my hormones or sex drive things have gone too far. Together, weight training and a nutritious diet will promote the release of testosterone and growth hormone –that’s good for guys and gals. But, being underfed and underweight can wreak havoc on your hormones. Guys, this could mean ED, low sperm count, or a lowered sex drive. Ladies, nutritional deficiencies related to flash diets like cleansing can cause reproductive issues and irregularity.
Don’t take being healthy too far. Instead of self-sabotage, creating a healthy lifestyle should be about self-improvement. It starts with moving more, eating less and making progress over time. If your diet or training program has taken over your life, trust me when I tell you that you need to take a step back and reassess your priorities. Remember, a sense of community and socializing is part of overall well-being. When your habits start to separate you from other, you might have become too healthy for your own good.
How do you maintain balance to prevent a healthy habit from turning into an unhealthy obsession?
Joe is a writer, trainer and fitness entrepreneur who co-founded Hybrid Athlete LLC, Kettlebell Cardio™ and Race Day Domination. Currently building @fittinsider, a platform for founders, executives, & investors redefining fitness/wellness. Investing in health/fitness companies