I've been "into health" my entire life. I cannot remember a time when I wasn't completely enthralled with the latest health advice and the latest and best diet. Strolling around a health food store was my idea of a 'good time' and everything I picked up or read excited me – but for the wrong reasons.
I'd like to call it a "healthy obsession" no pun intended. Every choice I made, every book I read, every Facebook post I embraced was coming from the unachievable goal of 'perfect health'. I remember reading somewhere once that food will either harm or heal you. That powerful statement was one I often used myself, and it wasn't until years later I realised that the statement itself can sometimes do more harm than good.
You see, the choices I made in the past were not coming from a place of love, they were coming from a place of fear. I was so scared of the glycemic load of oats that I was no longer eating one of my favourite breakfasts. I could only imagine those demonic oats rushing through my body causing insulin to spike and full-blown war to be fought in my poor body. I'd probably gain a kilo, bloat, and all-around feel like crap for the rest of the day. It just wasn't worth the risk. I look at this now and think – for goodness sakes. These are oats – not an episode of Game of Thrones!
Then there was sugar. It wasn't enough to cut out the white stuff, oh no, I had to get rid of the maple syrup, the honey, and the dried fruits. But no, that wasn't enough. If I wanted to be truly healthy – fruit had to be gone too. Banish the fruit! It will send me into a diabetic coma!! Oh, and we can't forget toxins. Those little nasties are supposedly hiding in everything from fresh farm veggies to toothpaste. Then there were anti-nutrients. I could vividly imagine each little bugger zapping away at my favourite nutrients like full-blown space wars until my body was left depleted and – gasp – unhealthy.
You may think I'm exaggerating – and maybe I am a little, it's quite hard to write sarcasm isn't it? But, there is a moral to this story.
The more we worry about health, the more we obsess over it and experience anxiety over it – the further away we are from getting it.
If the thought of going to eat with friends at a less than perfect restaurant causes knots to twist in your gut – that's not healthy. If everyone is eating ice cream on the beach and you're craving it like a madman and thinking about the guilt that will follow, that's not healthy. If you don't eat vegetables because you can't find organic, that's not healthy.
There are no professionals on the planet that will tell you that stress, worry and guilt are healthy and yet it has been socially acceptable to embrace all three when it comes to food.
The hype, the pressures, the conflicting messages are all doing more harm than good. They are constantly telling us we're not healthy enough. We're not thin enough, we're not smart enough, we're just not enough, and they are making heaps of money by doing so. Because of this, we're losing the ability to live life and experience health for what it is. We've lost the intuitive ability to know what is right for our unique bodies, a birthright given to us as human beings. And that, to me, is a tragedy.
You may be wondering 'but if I let go of food rules won't I be letting myself go?'
No, you're not letting yourself go - you're letting yourself live!
Not sure where to start? If you'd like some help, you can grab a FREE copy of my Emotional Eating Roadmap and feel in charge of your eating TODAY.