When Healthy Living Becomes Obsession

In clients I deal with two very different issues almost every day –

1. The people who can’t get started and make excuses as to why they can’t create a healthy lifestyle.

OR

2. The people who become OBSESSED with eating well and working out every day to the point that they almost can’t take a day off.

And trust me, neither is really HEALTHY.

When I say OBSESSED, I’m talking about mentally and physically overtraining. I’m talking about never giving yourself a break and doing as much as you possibly can every single day with no break.

I’m talking about training way too often for way too long because you feel like you NEED to do a certain amount each day.

I’m talking about never letting yourself indulge in a treat and/or restricting your calories as low as possible to force weight loss.

I’m talking about the MORE IS MORE ATTITUDE when as I’ve stated numerous times recently MORE IS ACTUALLY LESS.

Yes, it can be good for periods to do MORE, but those periods should all have an expiration date and be used to KICKSTART your program or break a plateau.

You simply shouldn’t workout every day.

RECOVERY IS WHEN YOU REBUILD! Days off are KEY TO GETTING RESULTS.

When you don’t take days off, you are basically hindering yourself from getting the results that you should be getting from your workouts.

And two a days?!?!

While as I said, I can see using them for a few weeks to create big changes, they shouldn’t be used in the long run!

Exercise breaks down our body. We only regrow stronger with more muscle and lean body mass if our body has the change to RECOVER.

So while going hard for a few days, a few weeks, can be a great push in the right direction, YOU CAN’T MAINTAIN IT!

Going that hard leads ultimately to you falling off your program – either due to injury or due to the fact that you’ve created something that is truly unmanageable long-term.

Same goes for obsessing over eating cleanly.

I won’t go into a whole rant here, as I already have numerous times recently, but IF YOU RESTRICT YOUR CALORIES TOO MUCH YOU WILL COMPLETELY STALL YOUR WEIGHT LOSS!

Not to mention you will PREVENT LEAN MASS GAINS! Aka…all those workouts will be for nothing because you aren’t fueling them properly.

Plus, most people can’t eat 100% clean day in and day out without it eventually leading to a complete, uncontrolled binge, which in turn leads to them giving up on their healthy eating program all together. We just don’t have that much self-control especially with all the other life stressors we have to deal with each day.

Just think about how much self-control you are expending by trying to go so intense and PERFECT your diet and exercise program. Self-control isn’t infinite. And trying to control ever last detail is STRESSFUL!

Think about how much you STRESS over not missing a workout. Over eating cleanly even when there is no healthy food around.

STRESS can negatively impact our progress. It can negatively impact our healthy. Heck if you are trying to lose weight, STRESS can prevent you from getting the results you are working so hard for!

Geez…Cut yourself some slack, people!

I know many of you don’t want to believe it, but LESS IS MORE. Working out every day and eating 100% clean really aren’t going to get you greater results.

Actually they may get you WORSE RESULTS.

So stop obsessing.

Don’t stress over miss workouts.

Don’t stress over a treat.

STOP OBSESSING and try ENJOYING.

Seriously, stop bragging about how you workout EVERY DAY. Or do two-a-days. Stop bragging about how you don’t eat ANYTHING BAD EVER.

There is no pride in being stupid and wasting your time!

Trust me…I want people to get results and if I’m saying there is such a thing as too much…THERE IS!

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Posted on September 17, 2013, in Conventional Wisdom - How I hate you, Rants, Uhm? and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Truth – I tried two a days for a little while as it was the culture I was in at the time and that is what people did. I was tired, cranky, overly-emotional, and so hungry all the dang time even tho I was eating big… could never get full it seemed.

    I chalked it up to age and not being able to hang with the younger/fitter people. I backed off and have since left the place I was.

    I am very happy to have 2 days off a week and have my recovery walks with dogs to move and get fresh air on those days. I look forward to my off days!

    Good article!!!

    • Thanks Shannon.

      Definitely signs of overtraining.

      And you’d be surprised at how many “in shape” people are overtraining. They just aren’t listening to their bodies and they don’t realize how crappy they truly feel. They don’t realize how bad they feel because they are too busy obsessing vs. experimenting and realizing their body can feel soooo much better.

      I’ve done the long workouts. I’ve done the push your body to the ultimate limit day in and day out. And I can tell you that I’ve gotten WAY better results doing a whole heck of a lot less than I used to do!

  2. Well said. It’s about finding balance. I think most people who are into health and fitness have probably toed both lines, actually. If you find yourself avoiding all social aspects of life because of your fitness goals, you’ve probably gone too far. Learn how to fit fitness into your lifestyle, not fit your lifestyle into fitness.

    • I agree. And I think there are times to be “obsessive.” There are times where, yes, fitness does take precedent. The point is that it shouldn’t happen all the time. It should be a means to an end with a quick end date and a return to NOT obsessing.

  3. I did that for quite a while, not realizing that “all my hard work” was really hindering my body from being the best it can be. That said, I’m still doing 20 minutes a day of 30 Day Shred, except for when I play racquetball. So I guess I’m not necessarily taking a break… But it doesn’t seem obsessive because it’s 20 minutes, you know? But yeah, a healthy balance is a must. Since I’ve started eating more (aka a healthy amount) and exercising less I’ve been able to better manage maintenance and enjoy life.

    • Time makes no difference. I can do workouts in 15 minutes that absolutely destroy my body. It is all about taking time for recovery. You should feel good each time you go to workout…not worn down.

      There is no set limit for any person. It is learning your body and not being afraid to take days off.

      I usually take 2-3 days off and most of my workouts are about 15-45 minutes. I rarely hit an hour anymore and when I do it is because I’m lifting really heavy and working out with other people. HOWEVER, there are those random weeks where I workout every day. It just depends on how I’m feeling.

      I just know my limits and understand that my rest requirements are going to vary and respond to what I need that week. 🙂

      Sounds like you are doing a great job listening to your body and enjoying the exercise!

  4. You are SO SO right, and it is hard to strike a balance once you’re stuck on either side of the fitness line. I think it’s sort of human nature. I am proud to report that I ate a BLT tonight with white bread AND CHEESE!

    • haha YUM! I think there are going to be times that you will cross the line. You just have to know that it isn’t maintainable in the long run and only a kickstart!

      Balance is hard especially if you are getting results and have a very specific goal. Sometimes the closer we get the harder we push when really we need to lay off a bit!

  5. Time makes no difference. I can do workouts in 15 minutes that absolutely destroy my body. It is all about taking time for recovery. You should feel good each time you go to workout…not worn down.

    Yeah – THAT was hard to adjust to as well… thinking I wasn’t doing “enough” because I didnt’ feel completely wiped out at the end of my new workout style. I am learning. And finding that I have a happier attitude, I do enjoy the workouts more -I like discovering how I am improving and appreciating how my body is adapting and gaining proficiency in some of the movements I am working on.. which means I can move up in a progression vs. just pushing so hard I am going to pop some internal organ somewhere – grin.

    Hard tho’ when you’ve been a year at that all or nothing mindset to hit the ctl/alt/delete and refresh how you are doing things. Makes you feel you aren’t doing enough and I honestly felt pretty panicked in the beginning… but slowly I am getting there. And ya know one thing I’ve noticed lately is less adult acne!! Win – body perhaps not as stressed and rewarding me with lack o’ nasty cystic pimples. Ya think?

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