Photo by Danny Rozenblit featuring Nata Sarafinchan for Mad Sounds Magazine Issue 22
Why can’t being healthy be simple like riding a bike or playing the piano? When it comes to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle, many of us fall short of actually achieving a steady routine because of life’s tendency to grab us by the hand and drag us in a billion different directions.
Hearing the word "healthy" gives the impression of eating right and exercising frequently. That’s what health means for average human beings. But I saw the word healthy as a competition -- a way to prove to myself that I had unshakable willpower. I started this health conquest a few years ago when I went cold turkey and completely changed my eating habits -- from snacking on chips and twizzlers to consuming kale and green juice. I would have to pack snacks wherever I went, refusing any kind of processed junk or food I thought would kill me if I ate some. I soon became the butt of the joke where people would taunt me because I brought my “special food” everywhere. I also started a hardcore fitness regime, working out at least 6 times a week.
What I didn’t know is that my new healthy lifestyle was detrimental to me in some ways.
My physical body drastically changed, and it was noticeable. My mood also shifted, because my brain was ambushed with new stimuli and I developed an isolated, claustrophobic persona. So both my physical and mental health were betrayed by a driving need to be “healthy.” I felt trapped in my small Healthy Town, population me.
After a trip to the doctor, it was clear that I needed a new approach to health. I started eating more nutrient-dense food, but still good food (that’s one aspect I can’t give up; I love kale and green juice still), and I learned how to eat everything in moderation through the Internet’s various health and fitness bloggers. I also lessened the intensity of my workouts little by little until I reached a point where my body was in a safe place.
Trying to be healthy is mayhem most of the time, I won’t lie. It’s a war on the brain planning every meal and gym session, while also attempting to have a social life. So much of our social being revolves around food and togetherness, which usually results in eating out often. I was genuinely scared of this idea, so I distanced myself from socializing. Sometimes when people try to be healthier, they prioritize the gym over their loved ones, and I was that selfish person at one point. The real key to health is surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you to excel and love you unconditionally, because these people give off the positive vibes which inspire us to live a smart, balanced lifestyle.
Honestly, life won’t end if you go out for dinner a couple times a week or skip the gym if your body is exhausted. Listening to your body and nourishing it is an act of health in itself.