We go to extreme lengths to achieve our goals. Pre-cook and organize our food for the week. Wake up at 4:30 AM (right?). Pass up wedding cake at our best friends’ wedding. Even avoid the Thanksgiving feast because the potatoes and corn have too much starch and the turkey was farmed and not wild. But where do cross the line from being dedicated and focused on achieving our goals to become obsessed at an unhealthy level, where our lives become consumed by nutrition and training. In reality, even though physical health is highly important in our lives, emotional health damage can be just as poisonous towards our overall health and our chance to succeed in our goals.
I’ve really been thinking a lot about what I am doing to myself. I feel that the obsession of achieving optimal health has taken over my life. It has limited my enjoyment of certain activities and caused me to judge people for what they do and what their opinions might be. I have had a personal revelation that when an obsession takes over our lives, we lose sight of understanding that whatever we are obsessing over is just a small area in our life.
It is important to know what you can handle, individually. Some people thrive in discipline and find pleasure in doing things that are difficult. Others feel restricted or deprived when they try to achieve something.
The Restricted Life Epidemic
Those who see a disciplined life as a restricted life have negative thoughts with the changes they will need to make in order to achieve what they want. The thought of waking up to workout before they get to the office immediately causes them to realize they won’t be able to sleep as much. Even if they plan on working out after work, they feel deprived of their down time. When they are told to avoid processed foods, they quickly think about how hard it will be to cook/prepare real food.
The best way to solve this epidemic is to change your mindset. However, a mindset shift is an even longer process than a lifestyle change (although you could say they go hand in hand). If you are feeling restricted of things you enjoy while obsessing over the cans and can’ts of eating, it can cause emotional or mental stress.
You have to put your emotional stress into consideration. If you are someone who feels like life is ending because you can not munch on Doritos, that omission in your diet can hurt you mentally as much as it hurts you physically.
Then it gets tricky.
Think about what your goal is. Will one handful of Doritos cause detrimental damage to your process? And will one handful cause you to eat the whole bag? One handful, probably not a huge setback. A whole bag, major setback. You have to understand your personal boundaries. Are you more likely to succeed on keeping your sanity by having a small amount of your favorite processed snack, or will that lead to a breakdown?
This is not limited to food. How you use your time can be just as important towards achieving your goal. Watching 3 hours of TV every night is probably not the best choice of leisure activities is you have a fitness or athletic goal. Some people feel restricted and deprived if they can not watch TV from the time they get home until the time they go to bed.
You are not me, and I am not you.
We are each unique. Some of us can live day-to-day with the understanding that how we spend our time determines our identity and what we choose to eat either becomes fuel or poison. Others proclaim that they have freedom and do not see a purpose in restricting themselves of their favorite activities or foods, although they may be destructive towards physical health. Understand what type of person you are, and then find your balance by determining the importance of you goal in comparison with the importance of your feeling of freedom.