Emo. I am.
Maybe it's because I'm a girl. Maybe not. Maybe it goes along with my empathic, sensitive, anxious nature.
Whatever it be, I am an emotional person. And I've learned to hone in on the deep connection I have to my emotions and feelings... to see them as guides.
A few years back, I got on a raw vegan kick. I decided to get "healthy." Like most people out there, I had this idea that it was all or nothing. Only raw food, sweaty workouts every day, etc. And like most people out there, I did not succeed within that template. And that is a good thing ;) It was fun and empowering at first, but keeping a strict regimen wasn't keeping me happy. <--the key ingredient.
One of the bits I love most about the integrative nutrition school I attend is that we are taught that the holistic approach is imperative. Meaning ... that we can eat all the raw whole foods we possibly can, but if our marriage (or our career, or mental health, etc) is in shambles, we will still experience physical symptoms of poor health.
The way this unfolded for me was when I decided to do away with maintaining the perfect diet and exercise program, and decided instead to follow my bliss. I eat more vegan junk food these days and exercise less (but play more!), and my true health is soaring.
Why? Because my emotional health is in balance. I've made a habit of looking inward when negative emotions flare up and listening to what the sweet-little-me-inside is asking for.
This is where we discover the paradox in health. The basics are simple, but when we balance and individualize, "health" as a concept and a plan can seem quite complex: Everyone knows what it takes to be healthy, right? ... more water, fruits, veggies, and whole foods in general; less processed foods, alcohol, coffee ... better sleep, rest, stress-management ... and exercise. I think most people understand these points as part of a healthy lifestyle. But some of the things we often forget, that are just as vital, are relationships and community, career, finances, spirituality, mental and emotional health, creative expression. These are the pieces that make up the "grey area" of health. There is no black and white when it comes to individual health. Not even one diet (even though I love to believe that plant-based living will save the world), because we each have our own little emotional attachments to food. And that's okay. The journey is in finding a way that is pleasing and nutritious to each of us, individually. And the journey never ends =) Good luck!