Everyone is talking about it, healthy habits, healthy lifestyle, healthy foods and so on. Everyone nowadays loves to throw around the word 'healthy' as much as they love their peanut butter and chocolate cups. The word just feels good to say, like it will magically transform us into a more clean and 'healthy' form of ourselves. This is (unfortunately) not true. To live a healthy lifestyle and become a better version of yourself you need to work hard and be consistent, which is very difficult for loads of people, including myself.
So trying to develop these healthy habits can be a challenge by itself, something with all these salads, smoothie bowls and healthy meal preps, getting enough sleep and working out on a regular basis. All these things cut into time that could be spent having fun. Then, add this extra topping of difficulty that is all the conventional wisdom that is out there that, whoops, sometimes turns out te be false.
I have experienced this with quite some clients now, they think they are living a healthy life but when they come to me for advice and we discuss their lifestyle, it turns out that their lifestyle is not as healthy as it is supposed to be. The result of this is that common 'healthy' habits can sometimes lead to problems, backfiring on the very benefits they intend to provide you with. Here are some 'healthy habits' to reconsider, or at least learn a little more about these so called habits:
1. DIET EVERYTHING IS GOOD FOR YOU
This is just like fat-free foods, it is incredibly misleading. You are much better off drinking regular or eating regular or full fat products, though soda is not great in general when you really feel like drinking or eating it, use the full normal version of the product. Zero calories is not helpful when your body does not know what to do with all that 'fakeness'. The opposite of the name happens, you can actually increase the fat stores according to this study performed at Harvard that shows that the drinking of light sodas can increase your weight. So whenever you are craving for that sugary drink, a glass of unsweetened iced tea would probably be the best option. Still a sweet tooth? Add in some honey for natural sweetening.
2. TRYING TO CATCH UP ON SLEEP
It seems like a very simple math problem. The stagnant effects of skipping an hour or two of sleep each night to binge-watch your favorite series or to have some more drinks at the bar can be compensated by 'catching u on sleep' over the weekend right?
Well, unfortunately it's not that ideal. All the snoozing in the morning (admit it you do it too!) will certainly help you feel better in the upcoming days, but this won't cancel out your sleep 'debt' in the long run. As you only do this every once in a while, there is no problem. However, when you start to do this on a regular basis, this can lead to chronic sleep deprivation which leads to serious health problems. If you need 'recovery sleep', this is best done by adding an extra one or two hours each night for a couple of weeks or months, in order to let your body return to a normal rhythm. Finding your own 'sleep schedule' and sticking to it is the best way to maximize the health benefits from sleep. Note: don't add this extra one or two hours by staying in bed longer in the morning. Add these hours in the evening.
3. PROTEIN OR GRANOLA BARS ARE A GREAT SNACK OPTION
Depending on the nutrition facts, these snacks are basically a bad version of a candy bar. They are packed with artificial ingredients and loads of sugar, just make sure to read the label before buying or eating any of these bars because there are good ones out there, but they are just like men, hard to find. Or just make your own granola or protein bars (this unfortunately does not go for men).
4. WHEN DINING OUT, AUTOMATICALLY ORDERING A SALAD
This obviously depends on the restaurant you are going to, but let's just say your average type of restaurant or standard chain, the salad selections can be more bad than anything else on the menu. Besides their portions, some of those salads are packed with cheese, bacon, eggs (basically a full breakfast) that just happens to lay on a bed of some leaves of green and I am not even talking about the dressing yet!
Don't get me wrong salads can be very healthy and nutritious, you just need to watch which one you order. Be sure to check the contents or just order a grilled chicken, salmon or steak with a side of asparagus or broccoli and you have your perfect healthy meal.
5. GOING TO THE GYM DAILY
Although exercise is very important, it needs to be done (like everything) with moderation. Too much time at the gym leaves little time for your muscles and mind to recover from all those intense workouts. Make sure to get at least one or two days a week of rest. The other days you can hit the gym and do your thing. These rest days are very important injury wise, your muscles need time to recover. If you don't give your body that time, it can lead to injuries and if you give your body the rest it needs, you will get better results in the end.
6. EATING LESS AND GOING TO THE GYM OFTEN WILL GET ME SKINNY
As your body needs energy to keep all the processes running smoothly, eating less and still working out on a regular basis will help to unbalance your body. Think about your hormones (for us women) they will be completely out of balance when doing this. And if we want to keep something in balance, it is our hormones ladies!
I have seen this happening by some clients and also read a lot about it on different blogs. People want to lose weight and therefore they will start to lower their calorie intake and hit the gym more often. Believe me girls, this will not do anything for your weight loss. It will probably cause the opposite to happen, weight gain. When you are eating too less on a regular basis, your body experiences loads of stress. Your metabolism will work slower to save energy and your body will start to 'save' all nutritions that are entering your body because it does not know when it will receive 'fuel' next. Because of this process, the body will start to store fat in stead of burning it. Hello muffin top and love handles, welcome back!
So try to avoid these diet and light products, take full fat and regular products. Better of course, is to avoid them completely and just eat and drink natural. Get your hours of sleep, it's ok to skip them sometimes but try to sleep around 8 hours a night if possible. When snack shopping, check the labels for hidden additives or sugars or make your own. Read the menu and look for the best option which is not always a salad! Finally, try to find your balance in your workouts as well as your nutrition eat enough of the right foods (carbs, protein and fats) balance your workouts and take a rest day. You will be just fine!
Any more questions or comments? Please comment below or send me a message!
Love, Nienke (Healthyfoodiefood)