Are We Missing Something?

It seems like all over the “healthy living” blog world women are losing their menstrual cycles and jeopardizing the chance to have children.

The first time I ever went to an eating disorder doctor one of the questions they asked was if I still got my period.

“Unfortunately I do.” I said, half joking because I really do not appreciate the cramping, cravings and other horrific aspects of those few days a month.

Anyway, the doctor looked at me kind of quizzically and I wondered why he cared.

Well it isn’t really a secret that the absence of a women’s best friend is a good indication that they are undernourished or over-training, and I think the fact that many of those writing about health and wellness are addressing the issue is a great thing for awareness.

I do, however, feel that it is alarming how many are facing this dilemma, and perhaps that means it is time to evaluate our current perception of what is “healthy.”

Brace yourself because I am going to go into another discussion about comparisons and trying to live up to social media/societal “expectations.”

When I first became a reader I would see all these organic, natural, totally new-to-me brands and products that I just had to have.

Where the heck was there a Whole Foods because I needed to find one, stat.

I searched online for fancy nut butters, healthy bars I couldn’t find in the store, items that weren’t available on the East Coast; all things I HAD to have because it meant I would be healthy too.

My grocery allowance nearly doubled due to shipping, food hoarding and just wanting to be like everyone I was looking up to.

And then the exercise routines.

Holy Shmoly how were these people running marathons a few times a year;doing hours of workouts for fun daily, basically sprinting 5ks, training hard and just being so fitness-ly (yes that is a word right now!) PERFECT?

I have always LOVED exercise, participated in sports, and literally did hit the gym everyday throughout high school and college, but running 26.2 miles wasn’t even on my radar; 45 minutes on the treadmill seemed like a pretty good daily routine to me.

So then Ryan and I signed up for our first 5K and the obsession with running began because I too wanted to be super fast and have the endurance of these beautiful, strong bloggers.

My taking what was published to the extreme and physically doing myself harm is ABSOLUTELY NOT the fault of those I followed. I have a personality that tends to be overzealous and very black and white when it comes to most things, so I warped everything I read in a way that ended up being dangerous, but I do think there might be a trend starting to occur.

Our world today is fighting the “epidemic” of obesity. Just listen to Michelle Obama for thirty seconds and she will tell you “Let’s Move!” and visit myplate.org, or whatever that website is, to become a more balanced, healthy, individual.

I get it. I see it. I work in a school and have served at many restaurants where students or patrons would pile on mounds of mashed potatoes, gravy, butter, etc. and sit there thinking it was the greatest thing in the world.

And that is ok, every once in a while…

But now I feel like there is another problem that might surface, as well; being almost TOO health conscious.

That is probably a terrible way to describe it, but I know for me, I never ever want to be obese so that means I can only eat a certain number of calories a day, I HAVE to exercise a specific amount, and anything other than that is completely gluttonous and horrible.

If I leave my very specific box, I am unhealthy and gross.

That is not true and I am living proof because abiding by rigidity and maybe overriding the signals of my body when it said slow down, or, “CJ I am hungry,” has landed me in a place that I would prefer not to be.

Our bodies like balance, and they will tell us what to do to achieve that.

Some days we might eat more than others, think Thanksgiving or a birthday.

Some days we might take a 20 mile bike ride and the next sleep in and snuggle with a loved one on the couch.

These are the things I am trying to accept and acknowledge because I struggle immensely with listening to my internal cues, rather than the external acceptance of my peers and the media.

But maybe the new definition of healthy, according to some popular social outlets, is wrong.

And the evidence could be more and more women losing what truly makes them, women.

Just my thoughts, and a little heavy for a Friday, but I thought it was a pretty significant topic.

Enjoy your weekends!!!

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10 thoughts on “Are We Missing Something?

  1. Great post CJ. I think it’s so true how much our society can swing in 2 polar opposite directions, but I think the world is more focused on the obesity side and helping to find a solution. For years, I’ve have been what I would call premenopausal…since 18, but most doctors are ok with dealing with it with medications. I wonder if that side of the spectrum will come onto the radar before it becomes too severe. Keep up the great posts!!

    • thanks! I hope society realizes it soon! there are so many negative side effects that can occur from undernourishment, overtraining and losing the essential functions that make us women. i think that is pretty darn important for others to be aware of, and it is really never mentioned.

  2. great post CJ! One blogger that I have recently started reading and absolutely adore is hungryrunnergirl. She has posted on this topic before and eats all sorts of food, fuels her body, etc. Seeing what she can eat has helped “justify” that maybe I can eat some things like she does too. I had to stop reading most other “healthy” living blogs. I read your blog often, I just want to tell you hang in there I know it is so so so hard but life really can get better…I’ve been there and I’m through pretty much the other side and there is an entire better life out there.

  3. I relate to your post a lot. I was actually just thinking about this at work today. I am trying to accept that health is really a subjective term and means something different to everyone. And that’s awesome. I have gone through phases where I’ve really resented people who do things that are, for me, very disordered, but for them, are actually really healthy. I am trying to learn to be careful about judging others’ recovery (I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing – I myself have been guilty of it – “Oh, she’s eating a salad, she must be restricting or sticking to safe foods.”)

    It’s been hard to come to terms that while eating disorder do have behavioral components, they really are mental disorders. The major problem is the way we think and feel about food, exercise and our bodies. That’s partly why they’re reevaluating the diagnostic criteria. Someone may be extremely mentally and emotionally attached to food and/or exercise, but not meet any criteria for an official diagnosis…

    • I think the criteria is so outdated. There are way more people effected by that way of thinking than ever go detected and its really sad because it is no way to live, think or feel 😦

  4. What a wonderful post CJ! I completely agree to everything you said. We are definitely a culture ultimately way to focused on nutrition and exercise and not always for the best. There is a huge rise in obesity, but also a huge rise in eating disorders in people as well. Have you read the book Health Food Junkies? Its a really great book about orthorexia (the obsession with healthy eating) and I learnt a lot from that book. I try so hard to appear “perfect”, but its not realistic or attainable and I’ve learned in the past that that mindset is unhealthy to have. There definitely is a limit on being too healthy. Which I’m still working on overcoming. Have a great weekend sweetie!xo

  5. I completely agree that being “too healthy” isn’t healthy at all and might be just as psychologically damaging as someone who doesn’t practice healthy habbits. There needs to be a middle – a happy balance 🙂

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