Have we become too health obsessed?
There are a number of diets and food trends that many have adopted: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, no sugar, low fat, no fat, dairy-free, no carb, non-GMO, Organic, whole grain, sprouted wheat, no wheat, 500 calorie, 1000 calorie, fitness tracker apps to count calories, juicing, detoxes, etc.
And there are a number of health/wellness therapies: chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, yoga therapy, yoga, cupping therapy, essential oil therapies, sensory deprivation tanks, naturopathic, homeopathic, reflexology, foot detox, etc.
And there are a number of exercises and activities in and outside of gyms: weight training, jogging/running, zumba, yoga, pilates, martial arts, kickboxing, bikes, swimming, triathlons, 5K, 10K, marathons, desert running, rock climbing, hiking, crossfit, P90X, Jillian Michaels, running stairs, kayaking, etc.
And then there are numerous articles, blogs, advice and recommendations you get for how many hours you should sleep, what you should drink and not drink, what to eat and not eat, manage stress, quit smoking, stop drinking or drink less, stand when working and not sit when working, sit on a Pilates ball at your job etc etc etc.
Is it too much?
There are those people who drink, smoke, eat crappy foods, barely work out, barely sleep and they seem to be just fine with regards to health, weight, and emotional health. My brother and sister-in-law are two of those people. They don't smoke and they rarely drink. But they eat whatever they want, drink soda, don't really work out, sleep barely 5 hours of sleep a night and work over 60 hours a week. And yet they don't get sick, they've never been to the ER, they have good body weight (my sister-in-law is thin) and are fine all the way around.
And then there's me. I used to be a vegetarian. I eat mostly vegetarian/vegan now and have meat once in a while. I drink soda once every 3-4 months, otherwise it's water. I don't drink caffeine, and I rarely have alcohol (1-2 drinks a month), I jog, do yoga, practice martial arts, meditate, drink my probiotics every morning and watch my stress level. I was extremely unhealthy and sedentary until I was 20 years old. Since then I've lived a pretty healthy lifestyle and yet I was diagnosed with MS three years ago and I have a plethora of GI issues and I grew up with PTSD when I was a child. So unfortunately I don't have the luxury to live however I want if I want to maintain a high quality of life.
People like my brother and sister-in-law are the exceptions. There are more in the population who have a number of physical and emotional health issues. And for some of us, we live with a chronic disorder/disease. For those of you like me, the way to leading a high quality of life is to become obsessed with health. If I don't follow my daily health regimen, my body has a tendency to wreak havoc on me. So I have to be strict with my regimen. It's a good thing I like leading a healthy lifestyle. I prefer to eat healthy and I prefer to work out and be active. But what gets me is how people try to put even more constraints on my diet and activity levels. I have been told that I need to cut out dairy and gluten completely. That I need to cut down on carbs. That I need to cut out sugar. That running is bad for me. etc etc etc. I lost a lot of weight in three weeks but ended up collapsing after a workout. Here's the deal. We don't all have the same biological or DNA makeup. We don't all react the same way to certain conditions and factors. We react differently. The key is to find what works for each and every one of us individually.
I also believe that our bodies have a way of catching up to us. So unfortunately for those who eat crappy foods, barely work out or work out too much (b/c with working out too much, our bodies produce more free radicals that only antioxidants can decrease), barely sleep and don't manage stress well - you're bodies may be ok now, but I've seen it where it has caught up with people and wreaked havoc on people's bodies and health. So it can catch up to you. It is best to live as healthy as possible and make healthy choices with regards to food, exercise, sleep, stress management, hydration etc. BUT find out what works for you and what doesn't work for you. Everything in moderation. Don't be so obsessed with health that you forget to live or end up collapsing like I did. Then again don't think you can get away with living a crappy lifestyle for long either. It's the middle road, the balanced path and moderation that seems to be the key to health.
I eat vegetarian/vegan most of the time but when I'm craving red meat and chicken - I make sure to have some. I work out but if my body doesn't feel well and needs rest - I don't workout or I do a low impact workout. I'm not perfect with regards to my sleep but getting 7 hours of a sleep seems to be the magic number for me. I try to eat Organic, non-GMO has much as possible and I have healthy low sugar desserts but when I'm craving dairy and sugar like ice cream - I make sure to indulge :-)