When does healthy become unhealthy?

As we start the new year, it’s common for individuals to set goals for themselves to implement once the holiday season ends. Often we hear people setting goals related to health and fitness such as “I’m going to start working out every day” or “I’m going to cut out all sweets” in the new year.  The problem is people don’t understand that there is a limit we can reach where our efforts to try and be “healthy”, are creating a problem within itself.

Some resolutions can be viewed as disordered behaviors and may have the potential to lead to an eating disorder.  According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some symptoms of disordered eating include feelings of guilt and shame after eating, preoccupation with food and/or weight, and rituals and routines that affect the way you eat.  Creating food related resolutions that cause you to start thinking about food a majority of the day or feel anxious or guilty around food, may be doing more harm than good.

Similarly with exercise, some of the criteria for compulsive exercise

include exercising more than one hour per day (except for being involved with a coached sports team), having less than two rest days per week, exercising without proper nutrition, exercising solely to purge calories, experiencing anxiety or depression when unable to exercise, and exercising despite injury, illness, or medical complication. This, too, is when healthy becomes unhealthy.  Exercise related resolutions can sometimes have us set expectations for ourselves that our bodies are not built to handle.  Exercise can only be considered healthy if it is accompanied by proper nutrition, rest, and recovery.

This does not mean that there are no healthy ways to set nutrition and fitness related intentions for the new year! If you choose to make some for the new year, try and keep in mind all aspects of health including physical, mental, emotional, and social health. Every single aspect of health is important, and if trying to improve one aspect of health diminishes another, is it really considered healthy?

If you need guidance

learning what healthy and unhealthy really means and how to set intentions for your health that won’t limit other aspects of your life, reach out to one of our Registered Dietitians at Real You Nutrition.  We can help you learn more about intuitive eating, make peace with food, and become the best version of yourself.