When ‘healthy’ became ‘unhealthy’: how do you know when you’ve taken things too far?

I started my health and wellness journey with the best of intentions. I wanted to stop abusing my body with processed, sugar-laden junk foods and just feel my best for the first time in a long time. I wanted to look after my body, because after all, we only get one life and one body so why shouldn’t we do our best to care for it?

But what started out as something so innocent quickly became an unhealthy obsession. An obsession with only eating ‘clean’ and ‘good’ foods. An obsession with exercising to earn my food. And the biggest obsession – the obsession with numbers.

Numbers quickly became my life. The number on the scale in the morning would determine my mood for the day and how much I allowed myself to eat that day. For 2 solid years, rarely did anything pass my lips that I didn’t carefully weigh out and log into MyFitnessPal. The obsession with macros and calorie counting quickly took over. I stopped seeing food as nourishment and fuel for my body and started to view it as a scary number. Eating was almost like a chore. I feared meal time and it made me anxious, especially when eating out, as I tried to process all the ingredients and macros in my head before determining how much of a meal I would eat. Who cares how hungry I was, it was all a number game.

The girl who was once an avid foodie; who loved going out discovering new brunch spots with friends, quickly started isolating herself away from social situations. Eating our quickly became something I feared and avoided at all costs. I’d much rather be in the comfort of my home or doing a workout.

My thoughts were constantly consumed by food. Counting calories. Thinking about what I just ate. Thinking about when and what I’m going to eat next. Did I burn enough calories to earn that food. I could never concentrate. My loved ones would often wonder if I was ever listening or really present in a conversation. Truth is, I wasn’t. I was too busy in my own mind stressing about the past and future. I could never relax. Anxiety attacks became a daily occurrence.

Even though I was only eating ‘healthy’ foods and exercising everyday, there was not one thing that was healthy about this obsession. I’d lost sight of WHY I was pursuing this lifestyle in the first place – and that was to FEEL good. But everything had now become about looking good at any cost. Looking like those #fitspo girls on my Instagram feed. Eating like them. Working out like them. And just aspiring to look exactly like them. I was so laser focused on that goal physic, I was compromising my physical and mental health in the process.

Through all this, yeah the number on the scale was going down, but was I healthy? Hell no. When you lose enjoyment for life, when you can’t eat out with loved ones because you can’t control the food and when your happiness is determined by a meaningless number that merely measures your relationship with gravity – that is not healthy in the slightest no matter how thin you are or how visible your abs may be.

All I can say now is, thank goodness I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and I am doing everything I can day in and day out to slowly make my way towards it. Towards a better life. Towards a life of happiness and health. Towards a life of BALANCE. And a life far away from the restriction, deprivation and the dreaded numbers.

Because a healthy life isn’t one of restriction. While living a healthy, balanced life you should be able to go out with family and friends and enjoy a meal and a couple of drinks together without hesitation. You should be able to skip a workout when you feel your body needs the rest without feeling guilty about it. You should be able to indulge (in moderation) in the foods you love without worrying about if you ‘earned’ that treat. And you should be able to put a meal together without having to meticulously weigh and track ever single ingredient.

In a world today where we are all so consumed by social media and looks, its often hard to see to you yourself know when you’ve taken things to far. But health doesn’t have to be complicated, just focus on you and listen to your body – no extremes, no deprivation, no restriction. And that way you will find balance, sustainability and your happiest and healthiest life.

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Join me over on Instagram (@eb.fiitness) for daily motivation, recipes and fitness tips! xxx

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