Do you wake up every morning in a panic just in case you don’t make your 6am cardio class? Or carefully plan every meal over and over again to ensure you have the right balance or nutrients or maybe get frustrated if you don’t get your full eight hours shut-eye?
If this sounds like you, it’s time to take a reality check.
Being motivated about your wellness plan is one thing but when you find yourself obsessing relentlessly about your exercise routine, your daily macros and sleep quality you could be actually sabotaging your health.
It’s important to understand the difference between wellness motivation as opposed to wellness obsession. Here’s why:
Carl Cederstrom author of The Wellness Syndrome says that obsessing about our wellness particularly can lead us to fuel disorders such as orthorexia.
“You move towards treating yourself not just as a commodity, but as a project,” he says.
Orthorexia often manifests when you take your wellness obsession too far and you start to focus heavily on clean eating to the point it becomes your main focus and interferes with your personal, social and work life.
You might be inclined to create certain unrealistic rules around your food and exercise which becomes an unhealthy fixation on your wellbeing.
You may also find yourself obsessing over social media and body image.
“Those with orthorexia become fixated on these expectations put forth through social media and today’s society. However, orthorexia is not defined by a person’s desire to reach a certain body type, but rather to reach a certain ‘healthy’ lifestyle.
“You may also find yourself relying on these presences, which can perpetuate misinformation about healthy eating,” says eating disorders expert Dawn Delgado in Psychology Today.
If you find yourself heading down this track, take a step back and allow yourself to bend the rules now and again.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make the gym class in the morning or if you’re too tired to exercise that day.
And allow yourself the odd treat and don’t chastise yourself if you haven’t managed to journal today or get in the recommended eight hours sleep.
Being healthy isn’t about being perfect 100 per cent of the time, it’s about ensuring you are following a balanced wellness plan, which might mean only 80 per cent of your goal.
If you make your 100 per cent goal, then give yourself a pat on the back, but most importantly don’t obsess about it.