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Is it possible to be too healthy?

July 6, 2009

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It seems odd to even broach this topic when 34% of the population is obese and millions of people suffer from preventable diseases every year. Millions of Americans can afford to adapt a healthier lifestyle by improving the foods they eat and adding more movement to their daily routine, but many people have an all-or-nothing mentality. When some people decide to improve their health they change their eating and lifestyle patterns too quickly and obsess over eating only veggies and exercising if not one, but multiple times a day. This is when the behavior becomes unhealthy and one may develop orthorexia nervosa.

This doesn’t seem like it would be a problem, but drastic changes often backfire and result in bad outcomes. One nutrition professor says that making sudden changes may cause an imbalance of neurotransmitters, leading to a decrease in joy and an excess of fear.

Improving your health can be a simple and enjoyable experience. Think of how you want to improve your health. Do you want to eat better or start exercising more, or do you want to do both?

If you eat mostly processed foods, don’t cut them out right away. Instead, pick one vegetable that you’ve been dying to try and add it to your diet. Maybe it’s edamame or even kale. Pick a recipe that is easy and sounds interesting to you. Prepare it once or twice this week. Notice how you feel after eating it. If this dish isn’t delicious, don’t give up. There are many other vegetables to try and creative ways to prepare them.

If you’re one that finds the gym boring, summer is the perfect time to explore new and fun ways to get moving. Simply call up a friend and go for a walk. Grab your bike and go for a ride in the park. Schedule two or three days this week that you’ll get outside to move around a little.

As you slowly incorporate more veggies into your diet and more movement you will realize that healthy living doesn’t require drastic measures and can actually be fun. What are you going to try this week?

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.