This crazy health obsessed world of ours is constantly telling us what we absolutely need to be doing in order to stay fit and healthy. It's hard to stay on top of it all, which is why I'm here to help clear some of the stuff off of your plate.
It's time to bust the bullshit on some of the stuff we've been wasting our time on - here are 17 so-called 'healthy' habits and trends that are not actually good for you.
1. Stepping on the scale too often
A lot of people advocate stepping on the scale once in a while to monitor oneself, because once you stop weighing yourself altogether, you may wake up one day and feel like those 30 pounds crept up on you without warning.
But stepping on the scale too often can also be unhealthy. The number on the scale can cause a lot of unnecessary emotional stress and lead to obsession. The scale does not tell the whole story. Your weight will fluctuate up to 5 pounds depending on how much liquid you've consumed, so you could weigh that much more at night versus in the morning. Also, muscle weighs more more than fat, so you could be working out hard and looking great and still gaining weight. So don't obsess over the number on the scale. If you need a barometer for your health and fitness improvements, let it be your mirror or your jeans.
2. Catching up on sleep
Unfortunately, sleeping-in on weekends will not make up for your 5 hour sleeps all week. Studies show that there is no real way to recoup or make up for lost sleep. The only thing you can really do is to try to get better-quality, longer sleeps on a regular basis.
3. Using artificial sweeteners
While artificial sweeteners don't have any calories or sugar in them, they have tons of chemicals which are much worse in the long run than sugar. Also, by creating an illusion of sweetness, artificial sweeteners activate your sweet tooth and can trigger binging.
4. Daily showers
Believe it or not, cleaning yourself more often is not always better. Your body goes through natural cycles of repairing itself through oil production, and by scrubbing yourself every single day, you disrupt that cycle and in turn wind up with dried out hair and skin. Don't you wish your 5 year old self could've known that when you were looking for a valid excuse not to bathe?
5. Going gluten-free
Gluten-free living is a diet trend that is quickly fading. A lot of GF products contain excessively modified ingredients and chemicals that are way worse than bread. Unless you actually have celiac's disease, you're better off eating a well-rounded diet and just limiting the bread and pasta intake.
6. Drinking carbonated water
While still a better alternative to pop, carbonated water is not an adequate replacement for regular water. The carbonation is created by sodium, which means that it is dehydrating. In order to hydrate yourself, you need regular water. Carbonated water also causes a lot of bloating and turmoil in your tummy.
7. Skipping meals
If you skip lunch you'll just end up eating more at dinner. A bigger serving in a later and single sitting is a surefire way to gain weight.
8. Eating fat/sugar free foods
As aforementioned, the chemicals subbing in for fat and sugar will cause bigger health problems in the long run than a little bit of fat or sugar will.
9. Eating protein bars instead of meals
First of all- make sure you're checking the nutritional information on the back before you dive in. You could be tricking yourself into thinking that it's healthy, meanwhile, many protein bars pack twice as much sugar and calories than chocolate bars. Secondly, protein bars will never fill you up as much as a real meal will, so if you're not on the go, make a real meal. If you are in a rush, at least pair your protein bar with a fruit or some veggies to create balance.
10. Drinking enhanced waters
Vitamin waters pack tons of sugar, artificial colours, and a useless amount of actual vitamins. Stick to actual vitamins and old-fashioned water.
The idea that you can clean out your body in a three-day stint has officially been declared a myth. If toxins built up in a way that your body couldn't naturally excrete (without the help of beet juice and 18 cucumbers) then you'd be dead. This isn't to say that eating healthy, clean foods is not useful. It just won't make a long-term difference after 3 days. You need to integrate clean eating into your everyday routine in order to feel great.
12. Hot Yoga
Sweat creates the illusion of physical exertion when we're doing hot yoga. It is rewarding to be sweating so much, which is why so many people prefer hot yoga over regular yoga. "Sweat out the toxins," they say. As we previously explored in the last point, toxins cannot be excreted in any such forced way. The rewards of doing hot yoga are mythical, or at least exaggerated.
Another more important note to consider is that when we are working out, our body's internal heat rises, which of course, is why people sweat when they exercise. But if you're also in a hot room as your body's internal heat is rising, you are faced with a heat-on-heat response, which can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you wouldn't go for a run in 35 degree heat and humidity, you shouldn't do hot yoga either.
13. Stretching before you workout
Static stretching before your warm-up is useless, and dynamic stretching before your warm-up can cause muscle tear. Until your muscles are warm, they cannot be stretched out in a productive way. So always do a quick warm up before you stretch. That can mean anything from 30 jumping jacks to a 30 minute jog.
14. Avoiding the sun
Obviously, overexposure to the sun is highly dangerous and can lead to skin cancer. But strictly avoiding the sun can be bad for you too. The sun emits Vitamin D, which protects against 17 different types of cancer, as well as heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, infectious disease, etc.
The sun has also been shown to improve mood and elevate serotonin levels!
16. Using lifting machines
While they might be more controlled and able to target muscle groups more precisely, they can cause muscle imbalance because they focus on one body part. While building muscle, they won't actually burn many calories or improve your fitness level. Unless you're trying to build muscle, you're better off doing functional exercises and using free weights.
17. Hot tubs
While allegedly good for relaxing muscles, the only real thing that has been proven is that hot tubs are a cess-pool of bacteria and a breeding ground for germs. A one spot stop to get a rash AND an infection!
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