All of this time and energy spent trying to be healthier and little did we know we could actually be making ourselves more unhealthy. Doesn’t make sense right? What am I talking about?
OK so the truth is, of course exercise, eating whole foods, avoiding chemicals, and being positive are all going to have incredible benefits for your body, mind and soul as you go through life. The issue I want to talk about right now is the mental stress we put on ourselves when we worry about being healthy. There used to be a time when life was just naturally healthy, we didn’t have to think about what foods were good- they all were. Unfortunately, we are in a time of great change and we now have to pay a lot more attention to what we eat and do if we want to stay strong and live long. We are now having to focus a large chunk of our daily energy towards thinking about healthy food, what to do for exercise, if I should walk up the stairs or take the elevator?
Too many choices, too much information and TOO MUCH STRESS.
We are all starting to learn about the horrible effects of stress on our health. Thanks to this, we are now stressing about being stressed! How can that be good for us?
Let me give two examples:
You wake up in the morning feeling pretty rested even though you woke with the baby for an hour in the night. You get dressed and head to the kitchen where you prepare breakfast. You have a craving for fresh waffles so you decided to whip up a batch. You find fresh raspberries and blueberries in your fridge and load them on top. You finish it off with a dollop of whipped cream. You are in heaven, enjoying every bite of this delicious breakfast you have prepared for yourself. The coffee goes down smooth and the aroma awakens your senses. Just as you finish, your daughter wakes up and you begin your busy day.
For lunch you decide to take your break from work at an outdoor food truck that makes the best tacos in town. You realize that it is a lot of cheese, but acknowledge that you don’t treat yourself much and you decide to enjoy and savour every bite.Yum yum. After a busy day at the office you come home to your lovely family. You realize that you forgot to go grocery shopping and don’t have anything fresh on hand. So you grab those frozen perogies from the freezer and cook up a batch for the family. Oh how delicious they are, every bite is flavourful and a delight to the taste buds. Your daughter is excited to have this special treat of a dinner and you are happy as you watch her enjoy her dinner. Another day well done and you enjoy the rest of the evening relaxing and reading to your daughter.
You wake in the morning feeling pretty rested even though you woke up in the night with your baby. You count up the hours that you slept -5- and think “that’s not enough… I must be exhausted”. You proceed to drag yourself out of bed and get dressed. Down in the kitchen you tell yourself you didn’t get a lot of sleep so you deserve something quick for breakfast. You make a batch of waffles and top it with fresh berries and whipped cream. As you indulge, you worry about not choosing something more healthy for breakfast. “I should have had porridge, or made a smoothie”. You start to feel bad and stressed about the choice you made for breakfast. Before you can even think about what you are eating, you are finished and you are left with a guilty pit in your stomach. Oh well it is done now, so you go on with your day.
At lunch you are feeling sluggish and head down to the taco truck outside of your work. You love their tacos and it is a quick and easy lunch. You gobble it down and forget to even enjoy what you are eating. Once again you are hit by the negative thoughts of being unhealthy. “Oh wow that was a lot of cheese, I know too much cheese is bad for me”. “ I wonder what was in that sauce, was it light or full fat?”. “I really shouldn’t have done that today, I feel gross and fat”. Back at work you can’t stop feeling guilty for the breakfast and lunch that you had that day and you feel very sad and low on energy. You get home from work and enjoy a moment with your family before realizing that you forgot to go grocery shopping and having nothing fresh in the house. You look in the freezer and discover your only option is perogies. What else can you do, you think to yourself as you cook up a batch. Your daughter is over the moon excited, she hasn’t had perogies in weeks. You feel bad that you aren’t able to feed her something more wholesome and with vegetables. “What am I doing to my daughter, this is so unhealthy” “I am a horrible mother”. You proceed with dinner and can’t shed the feeling of failure and guilt that has crept up in your stomach. The perogies turn out mushy and you can hardly force them down. What an exhausting day, you clean up after dinner and turn on the TV to occupy the family while you doze off in your chair.
Who do you think digested their food properly and received every vital nutrient from the meals?
Who do you think felt happier about life at the end of the day?
Who do you think is healthier?
The woman in this story went through the same activities and ate the same foods. The difference here is how a lot of us let in the negative self talk and mass amounts of stress regarding our health on a daily basis.
Can you see the difference?
It isn’t all about what we eat and how much we exercise. It is about how we think and how much pressure, guilt and stress we let into our lives when things don’t go the way we think they were supposed to.
I am not saying eat ice cream all day and as long as you feel good about it you won’t have any health problems- sorry but that still won’t work. But when we have a good base line of healthy eating and lifestyle habits, then we need to learn to relax during those times when things happen and we aren’t being “perfect”. Relax and enjoy life a little!
Life is a balancing act. No one is ever going to have it “perfect” so stop stressing so much about it. Eat healthy, exercise and when you decide it is a day when you need to live a little, then do just that.
Live…. Laugh… Enjoy…. Be happy!