5 Signs Your Healthy Living Obsession is Unhealthy

Gabrielle Dolenga

| 3 min read

Girl laying on couch.
Our society has numerous tools to keep us healthy on a daily basis. Additionally, our culture is currently putting great emphasis on a healthy lifestyle.
While this may be motivating for some, this constant health messaging can be detrimental for others. Anxiety, lack of confidence and sporadic behavior are just a few of the side effects that can occur from putting too much priority on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Read on to find out if your obsession with being healthy has gone too far.
  1. You define health in moral terms. Caring for your body is essential, but repenting every unhealthy choice you make is not. Constantly dividing food or fitness into the categories of “good” or “bad” leaves you with feelings of guilt for far too long after a decision has been made. Eating a piece of chocolate or skipping the gym for a day does not make you a bad person. Evaluating your self-worth based on your health decisions is a serious indication that you are over-emphasizing the need to be healthy.
  1. You extremely restrict your life to fit your health needs. Do spontaneous nights out cause you stress? Do you refuse to order a meal with friends because you did not “save” your calories throughout the day? Do vacations or time away from your usual exercise routine make you feel anxious? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to re-evaluate your definition of a healthy lifestyle. Relationships and social time should not be eliminated from your life to maintain health habits.
  1. You notice changes to your body. An excess of exercise, severe food restrictions and extreme stress can all wreak havoc on your body. If you notice changes to your bowel movements, menstrual cycle or immune system, consider evaluating your daily health habits. Often times, these issues are a result of pushing your body too far. It is important to note that although these problems may seem minor now, they can lead to greater, more serious health problems down the road.
  1. You continue exercising despite illness or injury. Exercise should never cause extreme pain or discomfort. Proper health awareness means listening to what your body is telling you. If you are eating a diet of only green smoothies and attend yoga class every day at 6 a.m. but you still feel exhausted, listen to your body’s cries for help. Your health will improve and you will be more likely to achieve your fitness or weight goals by taking proper care of your body.
  1. You become defensive when anyone questions your health. Health obsessions are easy to develop and because of their connotation with “goodness” and “living your best life,” they can be incredibly hard to argue against. If people close to you start questioning your lifestyle or weight, some critical thinking might be in order. This is especially true if your first response to these comments is angry or defensive. Health obsessions are often rooted in fear and control which plays on your insecurities. This can show in your responses to those who care about you.
Living a healthy lifestyle is all about balance. Finding that balance is key to becoming your best self and living your most fulfilling life.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of a health obsession, identify which behaviors are helping you find peace or balance and which behaviors are fueling your anxiety or insecurity. Take steps to eliminate those habits from your life and take note of how your life improves when you do.
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Photo Credit: Sodanie Chea

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