This is a fairly serious post but one I wanted to talk about because I think it is something that we could be seeing a lot more of and it is something I want to prevent from happening among women, and in particular young women.
Recently the media has reported people becoming obsessed with exercise and fitness apps which can lead to eating disorders and depression. The official term given to this is Orthorexia Nervosa, although it is not yet recognised as an eating disorder. Nationaleatingdisorders.org describes the condition like this:
“Those who have an “unhealthy obsession” with otherwise healthy eating may be suffering from “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.” Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity. They become consumed with what and how much to eat, and how to deal with “slip-ups.” An iron-clad will is needed to maintain this rigid eating style. Every day is a chance to eat right, be “good,” rise above others in dietary prowess, and self-punish if temptation wins (usually through stricter eating, fasts and exercise). Self-esteem becomes wrapped up in the purity of orthorexics’ diet and they sometimes feel superior to others, especially in regard to food intake.
Eventually food choices become so restrictive, in both variety and calories, that health suffers – an ironic twist for a person so completely dedicated to healthy eating. Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships, and become physically dangerous.”
There is quite clearly a lot of information available on social media and the internet about what to eat and what exercises to do to get your dream body, and although some of this can be helpful and useful we must bear in mind that fitness and healthy living is just part of your life, not your whole life. Do not let your decision to lead a healthy lifestyle control you, make healthy decisions but continue to live your life. Don’t deprive yourself of food, don’t deny yourself time with your friends or family to exercise or skip invites to dinner because you’re worried about the menu. Continue to lead a happy life just incorporate exercise and healthy eating choices into it. Be flexible in your approach to living healthily, you won’t always be able to eat as well as you would like and there is nothing wrong with this. I’m an advocate for making healthy choices as oppose to unhealthy choices because overall this is better for your well-being. I also encourage women to move more, get exercise, jump off the couch and go for that run because in all honesty it will make you feel good about yourself. However, falling into an obsessive cycle and missing out on life that is happening all around you is a problem. Live, eat, move, be happy, travel, explore – being someone who leads a healthy lifestyle is just a fraction of you and who you are. Be healthy so that you can enjoy more of life and what it has to offer.
I found a quote that I think sums this up perfectly, it’s from Eleanor Roosevelt:
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”