A couple weeks ago, I posted about things that people do because they think they are healthy. It was a short post and didn’t include much explanation, but I wanted to hear feedback about these 7 things and was thankful to hear your thoughts. Here was my list of things to stop doing:
- Chewing gum loaded with artificial sugar.
- Drinking diet soda (drink Zevia if you must).
- Putting Splenda in your coffee.
- Falling for words on packages that say “light”, “low-fat”, “sugar-free”, “all natural”, or “organic”.
- Using anti-bacterial soap/hand sanitizer multiple times a day.
- Obsessing about calories.
- Losing weight fast.
I will share my thoughts one by one, and hope to answer some questions that some of you had. For the most part, many of you were in agreement and I am thankful that we are getting smart to marketing schemes and money-makers.
1. I was a gum chewer back in the day. I would eat meals, and then chew gum between them. It was a way to control my eating. It was something to do. It was an addiction. Once I started cutting artificial sweeteners from my diet, gum was the last thing to go. Being a constant gum-chewer creates a desire to perpetually have something in the mouth. Ultimately, we need to train ourselves to be ok with not always eating something. That is the start to weight maintenance. Most gums are “sugar-free”, but have artificial sweeteners to make them taste good. Need to freshen your breath? Grab an Altoid.
2. Diet sodas are just not good for you. What is in them that has any redeeming value? Caffeine, I suppose, is nice if you need a boost. I think a lot of people drink them for the same reason as I mentioned in number 1 — it’s something to eat without calories. There have been studies that suggest diet sodas actually cause weight gain. Whether or not there is a direct cause-effect relationship, it is just not a healthy habit to have.
3. Ok I get it – what you sweeten your coffee with is a personal thing. I find that people are very certain about what should be in their coffee and how it should be made. Splenda is marketed as being so great because it is “made from sugar”. Chemistry is not my thing, but the “real sugar” undergoes a lot of chemical changes before it is put in a bag and labeled as Splenda. It may have a few of the same compounds as real sugar, but that does not make it ok to eat. Why not just use the real thing and have the 11 calories per packet? It probably will not be a deal-breaker for your waistline. The Spenda website does a good job of making you feel like it is a wonderfully healthy choice, but remember they are also trying to sell you their product.
***The first 3 are mainly an issue due to the fact that they contain artificial sweeteners. For those of you with diabetic concerns, consider using Stevia, but make sure it doesn’t interact with your medications. The important thing is training yourself to decrease your need for sweetness. Artificial sweeteners are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA, but that does not mean we should consume them abundantly.
4. Products are labeled so that you will buy them. These labeling terms do not make them bad for you, but beware of the fact they want to make money off you. If they are low in fat, they will likely be high in sugar (ever notice the low-fat sign on a Twizzlers package?) or maybe the opposite is true (sugar-free but high in fat). All-natural is a term that sounds nice but can be deceptive. Organic products aside from produce are not bad, but the word organic does not make it all good for you (although, I’ll admit that I do feel less guilty about eating something out of an organic package than I do other packages). Bottom line: shoot for products with simple and few ingredients. The closer to nature it is, the better it will be for you. God gave us food to nourish us, remember? Why change/alter a good thing?
5. Soap and water works wonders. There is a time and a place for the anit-bacterial soap, but using it constantly will start to lose its effect. We need to help our bodies that fight germs, not rely on chemicals to fight them for us.
6. Our bodies are amazing! The biology that God has given us is amazing. The healthiest people and longest-living people in the world don’t count calories. People haven’t been counting calories for thousands of years and they were much more “fit” than today’s generation. I have been encouraging people to NOT count calories for a while now, but I recently stumbled across Jonathan Bailor’s material. He has been researching this for years and is trying to stop people from believing the calorie myth: to be healthy you have to count your calories. Watch this. This is an excellent 12-minute clip that will explain this concept extremely well.
7. Whenever I hear people talk about how much weight they lost in a short amount of time, I cringe inside. Yes, it is true that some people need to lose weight. However, the speed at which you do it is often inversely related to the amount of long-term success you will have; in other words the faster you lose weight the less successful you will be in keeping it all off. A healthy rate to lose weight is between a half of a pound to one and a half pounds a week. You need to make lifestyle changes that you can maintain long-term.
“The harder we’ve tried to be healthy, the sicker we’ve gotten.” Jonathan Bailor
Being healthy really isn’t rocket science. Feed your body good quality food, move regularly and effectively, and don’t fall for gimmicks.