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OCD – Health Wise

Recently, I have been hearing about a lot of adults who obsess over some aspect of their health.  I’m talking about adults that fall into the age group of 40 something to 60 something.  I’m also talking about individuals whom most would perceive to be ‘perfectly healthy and fit’…individuals, that if I looked at, I’d say, ‘They are in good shape.’  I guess, for some reason, I always assumed that this type of obsessive behavior around weight, eating and exercise was mostly prevalent among people in their teens and early 20s.  I never really associated this kind of behavior with adults in a mature age group.

I personally know many individuals who at some point, struggled with their weight, were bulimic or anorexic or would work out extensively to ‘work off their calories’.  Many of these individuals eventually saw the light and have overcome these problems, but many, unfortunately haven’t.  It isn’t easy.  Whether it be stress induced, peer pressure or an emotional response, many people have an unhealthy relationship with food and/or exercise.  As a result, some become obsessed.  It is terribly disturbing and for them, it is terribly frustrating.

One individual I know, would exercise in the morning, at lunch and at night.  That is three times in one day!  And she would do this at least six days a week.  I know another individual who did the same thing throughout her whole pregnancy.  Unfortunately, her baby was born with health issues and mental disabilities.  The doctors believe that this was attributed to her over-exercising throughout her pregnancy.  I also know individuals who look great and keep cutting things out of their diet so that they can lose more weight.  Yet, they can’t.  I know women who at one point were anorexic and have messed up their metabolisms for the rest of their lives.

It is hard to maintain our weight and make sure we get our daily activity in, but when we do, and we are truly mindful of how we are eating and living, it is important to remind ourselves that our bodies have a way of knowing what is healthy.  If we aren’t being healthy, our bodies will find a way to let us know.  It is important to pay attention to how our bodies communicate with us…in a sense, they are our health compasses.

If you are dieting and you are doing all of the things you are supposed to be doing, but you can’t lose any more weight, sit back and really think about the reality of the situation.  If you are being honest with yourself, there is a chance that your body doesn’t need to lose any more weight.  If, however, you journal your food intake and exercise, and you find that in reality, you are eating more calories than you should, or you are depriving yourself of the right nutrients, or you are over-training, there is a good chance that you won’t see any more results.  How often you eat, what you eat and when you eat are all very important to maintaining a healthy diet.

The same can be said for exercising.  Over training (exercising more than you need to or should), as well as under training can be just as detrimental to your health and balance.  There is very little reason for any individual to have to exercise three times a day.  Unless you are an athlete, professional exercise instructor or training for a competition, one really productive workout should be enough.

Obsessing about your health is just as detrimental as neglecting your health.  Be an informed consumer.  Understand good nutrition and understand effective exercise programs.  Set realistic goals and listen to your body.  It will tell you what is working and what isn’t.


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Posted in Brett's Blog, Fitness, Nutrition Tagged with: , , , , , ,
  • All very true. Sadly, the majority of the messages we recieve seem to be incredibly twisted when it comes to food, weight and health. Finding healthy role models and reliable reassurance and support can seem nearly impossible, especially for ‘recovered’ bulemics and anorexics.

  • PoiJoy

    Great article! Loved it!

    I have a question. How would you go about teaching someone that they don’t need to exercise as much as they do and binge on “good” foods? My friend, a very good friend, is 43. He goes to the gym every day. When he misses a day, he “feels” bad physically. Could that be a physical manifestation of a psychological issue? Also, he eats “bad” foods for a couple of days then decides that he’s eating badly and goes gung-ho on healthy foods. The problem is, he doesn’t like to chew his vegetables. He makes “smoothies” as he calls them. He piles 7 or 8 different vegetables into a blender and then drinks it. He drinks 2 quarts of this stuff in a day! And he doesn’t really eat anything else. But then, 3 or 4 days later, he goes back to the “bad” food. How do you get someone to moderate the “good” so that they don’t do the binge thing with it. I’m not saying I don’t want my friend to eat unhealthily. I’m saying he could eat more healthy by gently working up to 2 quarts of veggie juice per day and could possibly keep the good habit because he worked up to it.

    Anyway, thanks for the article. I’m definitely going to show this to him!

    • brettblumenthal

      PoiJoy, when it comes to exercise, it is easy to become “addicted.” Remember, we get a natural high from exercise from all of the endorphins and happy hormones that are released. It also allows us to manage stress. As a result, when your friend misses a day, he might feel bad because he isn’t getting his “fix” of this. That said, as long as he isn’t being unrealistic or beating up on himself as a result, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Also, when it comes to the food situation, a lot of people are all or nothing. Which I agree, is not the best approach. As a matter of fact, it can be downright unhealthy. I think talking openly to your friend, and possibly talking about the importance of moderation could most definitely help. In the end, however, it is up to him to take responsibility for his actions. The best you can do is help shed light on the subject and of course, be there if he needs you. Best of luck!