Are you undermining your physical health with the quest for diet perfection?
Preventative health measures involve more than just improving your diet and adding nutritional supplements. Overall wellness involves balanced nutrition, stress management and improved sleep habits. While most of my clients need to improve their diet and add nutritional supplements, there are also a few individuals that need encouragement to reduce the quest for diet perfection. If you suffer from diet perfection than you may feel or think the following: 1. There is never anything to eat at a restaurant, 2. I can only shop at a health food market or my health or the health of my family will suffer, 3. I am completely overwhelmed and stressed every time I have to prepare a meal or snack, 4. I do not know how to socialize when food is involved, and 5. Everything we do revolves around the food I feel we have to eat.
While most people fail to take responsibility through their health through eating, if you find your quest for eating healthy is undermining your stress levels, then you may be going overboard. When eating healthy causes more stress than is warranted, your stress levels may be interfering with the chemicals in your body, even digestive juices causes your “perfect” diet to backfire on your physical health. Stressful restrictions if not medically necessary may undo the advancements you are trying to make at the table. Heightened stress levels may interfere with cortisol levels which may interfere with stomach acid production. So, what can you do? 1. Understand that nothing is gained by striving for perfection. Strive for excellence which allows for mistakes, and balance which allows for exceptions to the rules. 2. Consider each situation independent of your food knowledge, and then decide what are appropriate choices that are balanced, and not perfect. For example, the family might be going to a pizza place. Choosing a local pizza place over a chain is helpful, and making sure everyone eats a side salad to create balance is a better goal. Or, you can make sure that leading up to the pizza place, everyone has a piece of raw fruit or veggie. 3. Use dialogue with yourself and your kids about how important it is to eat as healthy on a regular basis, but there are “sometimes” foods that can be eaten occasionally. By understanding and teaching our children the difference between healthy choices that make up our foundation, and appropriate “sometimes” foods we will have less stress and also be parenting for successful decision making on the part of our children.