This super easy Paleo Apple Crisp recipe is below. Enjoy it, it’s scrumptious.
Today I’m talking about devotion v. obsession when it comes to our health. And a lead-in question I want to ask is this, has your pursuit of health become… unhealthy?
It started years ago. I turned over a new leaf, I ate incredibly “healthy”, worked out every single day (sometimes twice), limited my sugar, alcoholic beverages, tracked my food, calories and workouts. And it became a habit, a new normal. If I ate (or drank too much) one day, the next day I’d workout even harder. If I thought my workouts weren’t serving me, I’d double up on something else. Most of my actions revolved around this idea – sure it was slightly obsessive (and compulsive), it was restrictive and controlled; but it gave me a plan and a goal and something to be committed to. And why wouldn’t I want to be completely devoted to my health?
The thing about restrictive or obsessive habits is that they give us a false sense of accomplishment. We believe that if we restrict more or do more in regards to our health, that means we’re healthy – that we’re on the right track.
We’re lying to ourselves. There’s absolutely nothing in us physically, mentally or emotionally that has the capability to receive true accomplishment to anything that is either completely restrictive or unrealistically insatiable. We’re dancing on the extremes of a very destructive scale.
And because of this, and our inability to endure these habits, we will inevitably “fail” at keeping them. And that’s where it gets dicey.
When we build these types of habits, we don’t personally see them as controlling, punishing, or restrictive (yet). We see them as a means to an end. I’m counting my calories to loose weight so that I can be healthier. I’m going to workout, and then maybe run a few miles, to be healthier. I’m not going to eat tomorrow because I ate too much unhealthy food today.
And don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we absolutely need to have these inner conversations. Absolutely. Sometimes these conversations are what keeps us accountable. Our inner-self telling us we deserve more and have the ability to take action. But when these thoughts and ideas become constant, when these thoughts make us feel guilty and shameful, when they trigger the be more restrictive or do way more approach. That’s when they tip the scale to unhealthy.
I remember about a year ago I didn’t meal prep for about a week. It made me feel completely out of control. What do I eat? What if I eat something bad? What if this one week leads to one month of unhealthy eating? Those were seriously my thoughts. I had allowed a healthy action, like meal preparation, to completely control my day-to-day. I was obsessed with the control and predictability it gave me, so much so, when it was removed or when I “failed” at meal prepping I was left completely frantic and anxious. Healthy? Absolutely not.
Another memory that sticks out was when I injured my shoulder. My doc told me I was going to be out for weeks. Weeks? I’m going to loose all my strength. I’m going to have to cut calories. What if I get fat? Guilt, worry, anxiety. Healthy? Nope.
I was obsessed with my health. It controlled my thoughts and actions. I used restriction and planning to give myself the comfort of control. I found accomplishment in doing more when I had slipped up or thought my current plan wasn’t enough.
This devotion to health that so brightly shined from the blogs I followed and the books I read had been morphed into something much less healthy.
Stepping back about a year ago after being exhausted, stressed, guilt-ridden and never feeling like I was doing enough, I did a big ole’, WTF, Katie? Why aren’t you satisfied? Why is your definition of “healthy” not making you feel so?
And it came down to what I had morphed my health into being. It became a rigid, diligent, chore, sometimes even a punishment. It was something I could control too much. I had exhausted it and squeezed every last bit from it.
So I took a step back.
I rested on days I normally wouldn’t
I didn’t plan on going to the gym 7 days/week
I ate sugar when I felt like it
I’d go 50% during a workout when I didn’t feel the best
I stopped tracking my meals
I stopped counting calories
I threw out my scale
I removed any type of low-calorie/fat/sugar or diet food from my cabinets and vocabulary
I ate out at restaurants
I enjoyed good wine
I went on walks, hikes, stretched and tried yoga
I eliminated everything about my health that held too much control. Everything that ever held any guilt over my head or that could result in me not feeling like I was doing enough. Anything that could make me anxious, obsessive or controlling. It went away. And when it did, my world didn’t come crashing down, my health didn’t completely plummet, I didn’t gain weight, become weak or lazy. I actually became more aware of what true health felt like.
I never gave much credit to my body or mind while I was obsessing over my health. Because I was controlling so much, it was kind of on auto-pilot. But in taking a step back, my body and mind would signal what they needed. Silly me for thinking I needed to control that.
And after throwing out the obsessive control, I feel way more healthy and in all regards – physically and mentally.
Control of our health is not the issue. It’s when we allow that control to go to new, unhealthy heights. It’s when it controls our daily actions, restricts us and produces guilt, when we use it as punishment or the idea that we must do more or eat less. That’s when it becomes unhealthy. That’s when it becomes less of a devotion and more of an unhealthy obsession.
Always be open to taking a step back.
Sometimes it’s needed to take the next healthy step forward.
Paleo Apple Crisp
Gluten, dairy free apple crisp that's paleo-friendly, too!
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For apple mixture
- 3 apples
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- 1 tbs tapioca (or arrowroot) starch
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbs honey
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
For crumble topping
- 1 ½ cup almond flour
- 1 tbs melted coconut oil
- 2 tbs raw honey
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Dice apples into bite-sized pieces
- Place apples in glass bowl and sprinkle with 2 tbs water. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until semi-soft
- Add cinnamon, tapioca starch, salt, honey and vanilla to apple mixture. Stir and place into a small baking dish (I used an 8x5 in dish). Set aside.
- In the same bowl, combine almond flour, salt, cinnamon and stir.
- Add in honey, coconut oil and mix until mixture becomes crumbly.
- Sprinkle crumbles over apples, cover with foil and place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and back for another 10 minutes or until top is golden brown.