Are You Trying Too Hard to Eat Right?

September 24, 2015 Updated: April 28, 2016

In our age of hyperprocessed food and sneaky additives, it behooves us all to read labels and select those with pure, whole ingredients. However, the quest for a good diet can also go to an unhealthy extreme and become a fixation that starts to consume your life.

Board-certified nutritionist, personal trainer, and creator of the Spiderbands workout series, Franci Cohen, discusses how to recognize if trying to be healthy is blocking you from good health.

Epoch Times: What are signs that someone is fixated on eating healthy in an unhealthy way? 

Franci Cohen: Increasingly avoiding foods because of food allergies, when a person does not suffer from any food allergies at all.

A higher than normal consumption of supplements, herbal remedies, or probiotics. Drastic reduction in the number of food choices one allows into their diet because they view the rest as unhealthy. Spending an inordinate amount of time with food preparation techniques, especially washing food or sterilizing utensils. 

When someone refuses to drink a sealed bottle of water because it isn’t the brand they deem “healthy,” or when someone will refuse to eat a worldwide accepted “healthy food” (such as a piece of grilled chicken or an apple), even if they are starving, these are signs of attempting to eat healthy, in an extremely unhealthy way.

Epoch Times: What kind of mindsets drive fixation with healthy eating?

Ms. Cohen: Desire to achieve control over one’s life through control of food intake, self-esteem issues, extreme personality disorders such as OCD or obsessive compulsive personality disorder, can lead a person to [try to] achieve perfectionism through food.

Epoch Times: Any tips for creating balance between eating right and having time and energy for the other important things in life?

Ms. Cohen: Never eliminate any food group entirely. Allow yourself to indulge every now and then. Do not spend the bulk of your life worried about food pesticides or germs, and understand that the human body was created to cope with external germs and pesticides that may occasionally enter it.

After all, our stomachs are highly acidic for a reason (to kill incoming bacteria on foods, etc). Basically, eat healthy, exercise, and definitely try to make wise food choices for both you and your family, but do not allow food to permeate your every thought and become the venom that kills the life in you.

The terms “fixation” and “healthy eating” are contradictory terms. Any sort of fixation is unhealthy.

Relax, eat healthy as best as you can within the confines of your daily lifestyle, and don’t berate yourself for the occasional food mishap.

The interview has been edited for style and clarity.