Why Healthy People Are So Miserable

Turns out being skinny isn’t everything.

I am slightly fascinated by people who are extremely healthy.

I’m not just talking about choosing to pour skim milk over your cereal, stepping away from the biscuit tin, declining marshmallows on hot chocolate or picking up the odd bag of grapes from the local supermarket. The ones that make me do an inquisitive double-take are the people zooming around local farmers’ markets in their activewear.

When I wander around such farmers’ markets, I see lots of produce that looks very fresh, bright and healthy, but I know deep down I won’t eat it. It will sit looking fabulously virtuous in the fridge for a while before going limp and using the last of its energy to eventually Zumba its way to the trash. And besides, all those bushy leaves and muddy roots are intimidating.

The fascinating folk who make my eyes grow stalks are the super-breed who blitz superfoods into the super-nutrition that fuels their super-life. These are the super-focused foodies who monitor absolutely everything they put into their temple – sorry, body.

You’ll find them clogging up the queue when they’re ordering their takeaway coffee because it’s not just a coffee, it’s a grande, quad shot, non-fat, vanilla soy, extra foam, light whip, blah, blah, decaf obnoxious and something bratty.

You’ll hear them in restaurants tweaking the menu to their liking, quizzing the poor waiter about ingredients and asking for something deconstructed with a leaf of attitude on the side.

You’ll spot them in supermarket aisles, hating the fact that the health-food store closed early due to an unforeseen yoga class, staring at the calorific content of a packet of muesli.

It may be super-healthy to take an interest in your intake, but do you know what it also is? Super-charged annoying with a full-fat foam of irritating.

When friends of mine have become exhausting to go out for dinner with, I know it’s time for an ice-cream intervention – and not of the homemade kale variety. I’m talking a tub of something indulgent and a quiet word to get them back on track.

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Of course, with obesity now a genuinely concerning health epidemic, I’m not suggesting for one slim second that we all hang out in fast-food ‘restaurants’ and abandon a healthy diet. But you do not need to go to the extreme with healthy eating to the point where your friends start to dodge going out to dinner with you because it’s so painful – with a deconstructed side of embarrassing.

No one needs to be an overachiever with their healthy eating. Being obsessed is never a positive, and being addicted to anything has the potential to be dangerous. With absolutely everything in life, keeping a balanced outlook is vital, and banning entire food groups isn’t good for your body or your mind.

Taken to the extreme, having an obsession with eating foods you consider healthy is a medical condition called orthorexia, which is a growing concern within our diet-fixated and body- conscious world. Often beginning with a healthy change, eating clean can spiral into an eating disorder. If we’re not careful, good intentions to get fit and healthy can leave us with an entirely new issue in our path to tackle and overcome.

Incorporating healthy eating habits into our daily routine is good for all of us, but constant dieting and placing harsh restrictions on your diet can also result in making you miserable. Denying yourself even the occasional mood-boost treat can leave you feeling flat (even though you’re delighted to not be fat) and some studies have even shown that dieting increases the risk of depression.

The aspirational dieting industry pumps out plump messages that when you’re thin you’re happy, and that’s simply not true. Continual efforts of sticking to a gruelling diet plan can leave you miserable, and, most importantly, being thin isn’t going to fix problems in your life that were there before you swapped for sugar for soy.

Comment: What type of people can you not stand being around?