Read on for six signs that you need to back away from the treadmill and maybe just enjoy a nice pasta dinner for a change. If you exhibit multiple signs, you should see your family doctor immediately for help getting your diet back on track for the good of your health.
Sign #1: You're so "good" it hurts. Then you lose control and go on an eating binge.
Orthorexia, anyone? This pop-psychology term, coined by Colorado doctor and author Steven Bratman, refers to an obsessive condition that the author describes as a pathological fixation with "healthy" foods. Orthorexics deem foods negative or positive based on whether they contain fat, refined flour, sugar, preservatives, animal products or other bugaboos, and will refuse to eat anything they deem "bad."
The bad news? In real life, it's pretty much impossible to eat only "good" foods. Healthy choices are always better than bad ones, but honesty, does anyone really think a diet of, say, raw vegetables, fruit and tree nuts can keep you happy forever?
For many people, deprivation can lead to breakdowns, such as a late-night ice cream-cake-hot-dog-and-cookie binge, followed by regret, or, even worse, vomiting and bulimia.
A better plan: everything in moderation.
Sign #2: You're blowing off important dates to get to the gym
Sure, it's important to get to the gym several times a week. Prioritize it in your schedule so you have time set aside for your fitness goals.
But if you find yourself regularly bailing on dinner with friends, missing important family events, or blowing work deadlines because you're unwilling to skip or reschedule the odd workout, your fitness obsession is already affecting your non-gym life.
Working out should make you feel good, not inflexible.
Page 1 of 2 -- Four more ways you could be overdoing your diet on page 2.
Sign #3: You lie about what you eat
Lying about what you ate is never a good sign. It indicates an unhealthy fixation on food and calories. If you "cheat" on your food log because you feel guilty about that mocha-latte you drank mid-afternoon and think neglecting to write it down means it never happened, or, you choose to tell your partner you ate dinner on the road because you don't feel like consuming dinner calories tonight, you have some food issues you need to work through with a doctor and nutritionist.
Sign #4: You weigh in everyday – sometimes throughout the day
If you find yourself stepping on the scale throughout the day, you need to move it to an out-of-the-way spot where it's not tempting you every time you walk by. Excessive weighing is counterproductive anyway, given the fact your weight varies throughout the day.
A smarter option: weigh in at the gym after your workout.
Sign #5: You're visiting pro-ana websites
The Internet has a wealth of resources when it comes to advice on healthy dieting and fitness. It's also got its share of fringe elements, and that's where we'd place "pro-ana" websites, which provide a community for anorexics and bulimics to share their tips and tricks.
If you find yourself gravitating to the advice of extreme dieters because fitness websites featuring advice from doctors, registered dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness trainers and the like aren't getting you the results you want…maybe the results you're after aren't healthy.
Sign #6: You're freaking out your friends
If your friends or family seem unnerved by your weight loss, dieting or fitness regimen, get some unbiased professional advice – pronto.
Although we're inclined to give friends and relatives the benefit of the doubt and assume they have your best interests at heart, we'll concede that if your social circle and family is filled with the weight-challenged, your weight loss (even if it's perfectly healthy) may inspire envy and confusion.
So don't drive yourself nuts trying to figure out who's right or wrong: just schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out if you're on the right track, and if not, how to get back onto it.
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