The idea of living healthfully did not occur to me until I reached college. At 21, my idea of health was an obscene amount of running and Special K Bars. Thankfully that was a relatively short phase and eventually I figured out Fructose Polydextrose (an ingredient in Special K Bars) is by no means healthy. Then I moved onto the “OMG! Where is my food coming from?” phase. I admit to getting a bit obsessive over whether my food was organic, locally grown, grass-fed, yada yada yada, and it sucked. It also made eating out a total nightmare and for a foodie this was incredibly sad.
Ironically, it took seeing other people behave in such a manner to snap me out of this extreme mentality. Seeing the recipe substitutions, refusal to eat out and annoying tendencies of my fellow “health-freaks” made me realize that this was everything I didn’t want to be. I am only going to be in my 20s once. Health is important to me, I want to live a long and healthy life, but not at the expense of my present.
I think an often ignored facet of healthy living is the idea of having a healthy mindset. Sure, you can make “eating clean” and working out your number one priority, but I promise you will find yourself isolated from your friends and family and wondering why you spend so much time planning for a life you aren’t even living. I want to respect everyone’s life choices, I really do, but when you insist we eat at your house instead of going out because you want to “know what’s in your food”, cancel plans with me for your “long run” or turn down a glass of wine because you don’t want the calories, I can’t help but judge.
I make smart, healthful choices most of the time. I keep clean and fresh ingredients in the house, although I may or may not have eaten nachos two days in a row. I get a little too drunk and finish the night with poutine, I genuinely love kale salads and if my iced tea comes sweetened, I drink it anyway. Being “healthy” is more than just eating the right foods and exercising. It’s about being open-minded, flexible and doing what you can, not trying to do it all.
I’m not saying my way of living is better than yours, the hangover I had last weekend is a clear indication of that! BUT be weary of that fine line when your healthy choices are starting to stress you out and are consuming your thoughts more than they probably should. Stress, after all is the number one predictor of future health problems.
So kick back, drink a beer (or eat some ice cream), enjoy good company and remember that you can always eat your veggies and workout tomorrow.
For more from Davida, visit The Healthy Maven.