The holidays are over, which means it’s likely you pledged to get healthy and stay fit this year. If you’re anything like the reported 32.4% of Americans who make weight-related resolutions, perhaps yours involves hitting a certain number on the scale or buying a gym membership. Your intentions are good, but they could also take a turn for the worse. While many people admit to breaking their resolutions, it’s possible some may tip too far in the other direction, too. If you’ve been going at it too hard, here are four signs your resolution has become an obsession.
1. You have an intense fear of certain foods
There will always be health food fanatics out there — from vegetarians to vegans to raw foodies. Being a conscious eater is important; being overly obsessed with it is a problem. A person who’s so terrified of what they’re eating can be crippled by the very thought it’s not 100% healthy.
In The Huffington Post, Dana Ullman writes, “Some people obsess about nutrition but oversimplify the subject and believe that there are only two types of food: those that cure almost everything and those that cause slow, painful death.” Obviously, this line of reasoning is not only inaccurate, it’s absurd. Ullman also mentions the fear associated with ingesting certain foods is more poisonous than the actual food itself. For instance, your fear of pesticides in food may be causing more harm due to excessive worry than the actual food could.
2. Your exercise habits take precedence over everything else, even when you’re sick
Pledging to reach your goal weight at all costs will only end up backfiring. Although you may think you’re doing right by sticking to a strict regimen, you may be putting your overall health in jeopardy. Your obsession with getting to the gym, even when you’re sick or injured, could turn into a serious disorder: exercise bulimia. According to Eating Disorder Hope, signs of the condition include prioritizing exercise over social dates, intense guilt when forced to stray from an exercise routine, and refusal to eat if you’re unable to work out. Life’s all about balance, and if working out trumps every other aspect of your life, there’s a problem.
3. You consider violating your healthy resolutions as violating a moral code
Associating your commitment to being healthy with a personal moral code may be representative of a bigger issue. Such a way of thinking is a sure sign of orthorexia. Despite not being classified as a true eating disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), orthorexia takes total control of a person’s life. People who have it are obsessed with eating clean. They impose a personal set of dietary rules and restrictions on themselves, and feel ashamed when they’re broken. If your resolution to get healthy is leaving you with extreme feelings of guilt, it’s probably become an obsession.
4. You’re skipping periods
Unless you have a preexisting condition that’s affected your menstrual cycle in the past, like polycystic ovarian syndrome, irregular periods shouldn’t be the norm. In fact, missed periods, if you’re not pregnant, could be a sign your exercise routine has become excessive. According to What To Expect, your body can’t produce enough estrogen to support your menstrual cycle if you’re overdoing exercise without getting adequate nutrition. This isn’t uncommon among professional athletes, especially gymnasts and ballet dancers. However, it shouldn’t be the case for most women. If your period is out of whack, it’s time to see your doctor.
Despite all this negative talk, a new year can be the best time to kick off a healthier lifestyle. So good luck, really.