by Keith Lai
Most people associate fitness with nothing but positive connotations.
Exercising is the alleged solution to obesity and stress.
Eating fresh, local, healthy foods is the age old secret to a long and disease-free life.
But what most people don’t realize is that striving to live a healthy lifestyle can carry some seriously negative consequences if you don’t approach it wisely.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for eating right and exercising, but the moment your life begins to revolve around your fitness, then you’ve already lost.
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown
Sacrificing Your Life to be Healthy
In my early attempts to build a healthy and fit body that I could be proud of, I ruined my life.
My entire life would be structured around my workouts. My meals were planned at exact intervals.
And if I missed any of my workouts or if my meals weren’t up to my standards, I would consider myself a failure and would get incredibly upset.
Back then I took an “all-or-nothing” approach to health and fitness. If I had one “bad” day of eating, then the entire week would be considered a waste.
It was bad.
My perfectionist approach to fitness began drawing attention.
I would go to parties and eat nothing but raw veggies and water. People would question me, stare at me for why I was being so phobic about food. My own parents began getting frustrated with me because I would only eat certain foods.
My so-called dedication to fitness turned into an obsession, one that overtook my life.
All that exercising and healthy eating was meant to compliment my life, not become it.
When You Take Fitness Too Far
When you weigh yourself every hour…
When you compensate the extra food you ate with even more exercising…
When you get angry because you missed your workout…
When you refuse to have cake at any wedding…
…then you’ve officially taken health and fitness too far.
Exercising and healthy eating are simply tools to help you live a happier and more fulfilling life. They are meant to make the things you enjoy doing even more enjoyable.
We all want to look good. We all want to be fit and healthy, but at what cost?
Finding the Middle Ground
If you want your life and fitness habits to work in synergy, then you need to find the middle ground.
The middle ground is where you can enjoy a piece of birthday cake without worrying about how it will make you look. It’s where you can miss a workout and not sweat it. It’s where you can go a day without weighing yourself.
But of course, finding the middle ground is no easy task.
Finding the middle ground isn’t so much about finding the perfect workout or diet as it is about forging the right mindset.
We all make mistakes. We all fail.
The most important thing to remember is how you failed. You must learn from your mistakes, as cliché as that sounds.
Find out what triggered you to overeat. Was it stress? If so, what’s causing that stress and what can you do to fix it?
Locate the root cause of your slip-ups and do your best to correct them.
A Life Worth Living
In this ultimate battle for health, in this pursuit of the perfect body, we sometimes fail to understand the true meaning of life and what’s really important.
Of course, everyone has different interpretations on the meaning of life, but I think we can all agree on one thing: life is meant to be enjoyed.
Right? If you’re not enjoying life, then what’s the point of living?
If all you think about is exercise and food and how certain things will affect your body, then you’re never going to truly enjoy the things that make you happy?
You’re not living your own life, but instead you’re living a life controlled by something as menial as eating.
That is not a life worth living.
What Is a Life Worth Living?
A life worth living is one where you can experience new foods without guilt. It’s one where you can pick up a fork and put it in your mouth without a care in world on how it’s going to make you look.
This is a life where you can go through the majority of your day without thinking about what time you’re going to the gym or whether you ate enough protein.
There’s just so much more to life than having an impeccable exercise and nutrition plan. When your life and fitness habits are working together in perfect harmony, you’ll find everything you do more enjoyable.
Food will taste better. Sleep will become more restful. And most importantly, an enormous load of stress and relief will be lifted off your shoulders.
How do you approach health and fitness? Do you control it or does it control you?