I’ve been into health my entire life.
I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t completely enthralled with the latest health advice and the best new diets.
Strolling around a health food store was my idea of a “good time.” Everything I picked up or read excited me—but for the wrong reasons.
I’d like to call it a “healthy obsession”—no pun intended.
Every choice I made, every book I read, every Facebook post I embraced, was coming from the unachievable goal of perfect health. I remember reading somewhere once that, “Food will either harm or heal you.” I often quoted that powerful statement. It wasn’t until years later when I realised that the statement itself does more harm than good.
You see, the choices I made in the past were not coming from a place of love: They were coming from a place of fear.
I was so scared of the glycemic load of oats that I was no longer eating one of my favourite breakfasts. I could only imagine those demonic oats rushing through my body causing insulin to spike and full blown war to be fought in my poor body.
I’d probably gain a kilo, bloat, and all around feel like crap for the rest of the day. It just wasn’t worth the risk. I look at this now and think—for god’s sake. These are oats—not an episode of Game of Thrones!
Then there was sugar.
It wasn’t enough to cut out the white stuff, oh no, I had to get rid of the maple syrup, the honey, and the dried fruits. But no, that wasn’t enough, either. If I wanted to be truly healthy—fruit had to be gone, too. Banish the fruit! It will send me into a diabetic coma!
Oh, and we can’t forget toxins. Those little nasties that are hiding in everything from farm fresh veggies to toothpaste. Then there are anti-nutrients. I could vividly imagine each little bugger zapping away at my favourite nutrients like full blown space wars until my body was left depleted and—gasp—unhealthy.
You may think I’m exaggerating, and maybe I am a little. But there is a moral to this story.
The more we worry about health, the more we obsess over it and experience anxiety over it—and the further away we are getting from it. If the thought of going to eat with friends at a less-than-perfect restaurant causes knots to twist in your gut—that’s not healthy.
If everyone is eating ice cream on the beach and you’re craving it like a madman and thinking about the guilt that will follow. That’s not healthy. If you don’t eat vegetables because you can’t find organic—that’s not healthy.
There are no professionals on the planet that will tell you that stress, worry, and guilt are healthy, and yet it has been socially acceptable to embrace all three when it comes to food.
The hype, the pressures, the conflicting messages—they are doing more harm than good. They are constantly telling us we’re not healthy enough. We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re just not enough, and they are making heaps of money by doing so.
Because of this, we’re losing the ability to live life and experience health for what it is. We’ve lost the intuitive ability to know what is right for our own unique bodies, a birthright to us as human beings. And that, to me, is a tragedy.
Am I saying you need to just eat crap and get on with it? Maybe sometimes. Overall though, no. We need to find a place where we want to eat the foods that fuel us because we want to and not because someone else is telling us we should.
We need to make choices for our health from a place of self-love rather than self-hate.
I want you to eat well because it makes you feel alive! Because it gives you energy for your children, because it makes you feel good, and not because you need to lose a few kilos. Trust me, eat to live, to nourish, and to thrive because you want to, and your body will go to exactly where it should be.
I’m at a place now where I no longer worry about my health, but I do thrive on it.
I no longer worry if my celery has been sprayed during those times when I can’t find organic. I just wash it well and get on with it. I don’t worry about a little bit of maple syrup in my oats and for that matter, I no longer worry about the oats either.
I no longer worry—full stop.
That has been the best decision for my health that I can ever make. I eat delicious, healthy foods because I love them.
They make me feel great and I deserve to feel great. And so do you.
Author: Michelle Yandle
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Emily Bartran