Maybe you're not quite where you want to be in your health goals, but there's one thing really important to address whether you're just starting out or you're far into the health scene.
How long do you have to keep dieting?
I see it time and time again: When people make huge health strides, they tend to get caught up in the excitement of various diets from Paleo to veganism to raw foodism. It's all great because you start to feel fantastic and your body becomes very responsive to your new lifestyle in the way you dreamed.
But then there comes a point when you wonder just how much you have to do. Because you have gotten in the habit of making small adjustments that have led to big rewards, and you keep feeling the need to continue to make adjustments and continue to see changes in your body.
And there's also this worry: If I stop now, what if I regain all the weight!? If I allow myself to be flexible and join in on some of my old eating habits that didn't serve me in a positive way, will it undo all of this progress?
And then there's fear. Some people who go vegan and think it was amazing suddenly start to crave meat again. Some people who go on a raw food journey start to crave glorious cooked foods. And they don't know what to do because it goes against everything their body was responding to very well. Why is their body saying something different now?
So, what do you do at this point? How do we find the balance?
Personally, I had two scenarios that happened along my own health journey.
The first is that I tried a vegetarian style of living and fell so in love with it that I studied all of the benefits of a plant-based diet. All of the information I read had convinced me even more that what I was doing was "right" (and that meat eaters were "missing out"), and I didn't realize that I was purposely shunning all of the information that shares the benefits of eating animal products.
Sometimes, we search for the information that we think is going to be the one that works, and we choose to ignore or discredit anything that says otherwise.
The second scenario I faced was with yoga. I started out with going to the studio a couple of times a week, but once I built endurance, I didn't feel that heavenly sensation you get after you finish a great workout.
So, I started going more and more, to the point where I was even exploring Ashtanga yoga (one of the most disciplined forms, which involved waking up at around 5 a.m. and doing a 90-minute self-practice) and chose to do it daily for two months.
Even though I didn't feel the passion to continue after the two months, I worried about what would happen if I stopped. Would I lose the glory of the workout if I cut back? Would my body rebound to the 40-pound overweight, unhappy mushball that I had been?
Orthorexia is a balance issue
There's actually a word for people who are obsessed with health: orthorexic. It's basically a fear of being unhealthy.
But I don't think that it's good to think that people who are orthorexic have some kind of awful mental condition. I think that it's just a lack of understanding about how to find balance after you found something so amazing.
Kind of like falling in love with someone and getting married and then realizing that marriage isn't perfect. It's not that you're a bad person; it's just that you need to be educated on marriage. Catch my drift?
Finding real fulfillment
Everything in our lives has a purpose. Nothing is "good" or "bad" but is just relative to what you need in your life at that time.
Sometimes having ice cream and laughing so hard that your belly hurts with the people you love is a perfect way of adding health to your life.
Sometimes going on an adrenaline-fueled adventure in the middle of the night with random strangers you met at an event makes you feel alive and gives you more vitality than the energy you rebuild from an extra night of sleep.
It's when we allow ourselves to release control and understand that the most fulfilling things are the ones that will keep us healthy—including ice cream, yoga, and laughing.You don't have to follow any rules set by the diet world, culture, or society. You know what's best for your body—and what feels the best is the answer.