Living a healthy lifestyle is something for all of us to strive for. But in our constant quest to shrink waistlines, boost energy, and increase lean muscle mass, it can be a little easy to get carried away and make smart, nutritious lifestyles a little bit too healthy. (Yes, that’s a thing.) Here are some signs that you might be going a little overboard with your diet and fitness regimens, and a few tips on how to dial it back a bit.
You limit your social activities to avoid health compromises.
Clean eating is great, but when it starts taking over your life to the point that you’re passing on dinners with friends, movie dates, and nights out because you’re worried about finding healthy options on the menu, then it might be time to change up your rigid regimen. Sure, you shouldn’t compromise your diet for your social life, but a truly healthy diet is one that you can easily work into your lifestyle, which means learning how to find – or even create, by special request – healthy options on any menu.
And even when you can’t adhere to your clean eating habits every now and then, don’t be too afraid to cut yourself some slack anytime that’s the case. If you’re catching a movie and craving movie theater popcorn, split a bag with your friend and give yourself the green light to enjoy. Then, just get right back on track for your next meal. After all, one occasional indulgence in an otherwise squeaky clean diet is totally fine in the long run.
Your mindful eating has developed into a full-on food phobia.
Having a food phobia doesn’t mean you’re afraid of food, per se, but it does mean that you avoid certain foods or food groups with an almost-phobia-level fear. Think about your relationship with carbs, gluten, dairy, or sugar? If you try eliminating one or several of these from your diet because of a medical condition, like avoiding gluten because you have celiac disease, or doing so in an effort to see how cutting them out of your diet will make you feel, then there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with that. But it does become problematic when you become so obsessed with avoiding a food that isn’t really bad for you, like bread or pasta, because of an irrational paranoia that you’re ascribing to.
Instead of blindly blacklisting foods or entire food groups based on diet trends and fads, work on staying in tune with your body and understanding how it responds to different ingredients. From there, you’ll be able to decide, on an individual basis, what makes sense as a part of your regular eating habits and what probably needs changing.
You’re trying to power through an injury at the gym.
Clocking in multiple hours of exercise a week is a key component of staying healthy, but there’s definitely a point at which you need to give your body a break. In addition to the occasional rest day – those new to the workout game should give their muscles a chance to recuperate every third day or so, while experienced exercisers can shoot for one active rest day a week – it’s important that you give your body a break anytime you’re suffering from an injury. There’s a major difference between powering through fatigue, which is one way to improve your endurance and fitness level, and powering through actual pain, which could be a signal from your body that you’re pushing it way too hard. It’s essential to be able to recognize the difference between the two and to treat your body accordingly. If you’re in pain, take the hint and give your body a chance to rest up. It may feel counterproductive to skip a workout in these cases, but you’ll find your body getting healthier and stronger the next time you head to the gym as a result.