“There are lots of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven’t the time to enjoy it.” –Josh Billings
I came across this quote the other day and couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard it before. Billings died in 1885 which proves that society’s fixation on health started long before our time. Insane, right? However, I do think that we’ve taken our obsession to a new level in the recent years. We’re constantly debating which foods are ‘healthy’, whether we’re eating too much or too little, what type of exercise is most effective, the fastest ways to lose weight…it’s absolutely exhausting.
I’ve read a number of articles and blog posts recently that challenge the idea of labeling our diets. Why is it necessary? All it does is limit us and make us feel guilty any time we break the ‘rules’.
I’ve been there. I followed a strict vegan diet for 2+ years and convinced myself that I was happy that way. For a while, I was. But eventually I realized that, for me personally, it wasn’t the healthiest choice.
Putting any type of strict label on our diets is stressful. We’re constantly forced to make modifications, ask extensive questions, and search for foods that fit our requirements. Don’t get me wrong, I love vegan food and there are tons of vegan options that I still take advantage of (I’ll choose almond milk over real milk any day!) but I was sick of restricting myself to only those things.
I wanted to be able to eat what I wanted, when I wanted, without guilt. I wanted to go out with my friends and order off the menu like a regular person. I wanted to stop making trips to 3 different grocery stores just to find all of the obscure items I needed. I wanted to find bliss by being free.
I stopped following a vegan diet 7 months ago and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Have I gained weight? Yep. Is my diet as ‘healthy’ as it was before? Probably not. But I’m perfectly okay with that. My skin has cleared up, my hair has gotten thicker, and I have more energy than I’ve had in years.
Life is about so much more than food. When you’re 80 years old and you look back on your life, are you going to remember how many macros you ate one day? Or whether or not you enjoyed that bowl of ice-cream you were craving? NO. You’re going to remember living, not eating.
So, here’s to letting our only obsession be an one with happiness…