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Lies We Tell Ourselves About Our Health
Are you one of those who read health articles, but when it comes to certain warnings or pieces of advice, you believe that they don’t apply to you? The truth is, some probably don’t, but the truth also is that some probably do and you are only telling yourself those little white lies so you don’t have to make changes that you don’t want to make.
Seriously, all that stuff about smoking- a little puff now and then won’t kill you, right? And who has the money to eat all that organic food, let alone the time to cook it!
Well, if this sounds like you, keep reading about the top little white lies most of us are guilty of at one time or another in our lives.
1. I’m never outside, so I don’t need sunscreen.
If you think that because you work in an office that the only time you need to apply sunscreen is on your beach vacation, you are doing more harm to your skin than you know. Driving your car exposes you to tons of sunlight. Running errands or even just stepping outside for a breath of fresh air exposes you to the sun, even if it’s cloudy, raining, or snowing. Damaging UV rays are present all the time unless it’s night. You do need some sun for healthy vitamin D levels, but be certain that you are getting safe sun exposure.
2. I’m on my feet all day; I don’t need to exercise.
Unless you are a farm worker, professional dancer, yoga instructor, or professional athlete, no matter how much you might feel that “running around” is exercise, it’s probably not. You need both aerobic exercise and strength training, so unless you are literally running for several blocks each day carrying your child, get some regular exercise.
3. I can’t lose weight because of my genes.
It’s true that your genes play a role in your metabolism, your weight, body shape, and risk of obesity, but that doesn’t mean it controls your life. New research shows that environmental factors and nutrition can make changes to our overall genetic makeup. Eating a plant based diet with whole grains, nuts, legumes, and organic fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce your chances of being overweight, no matter what your genetic makeup might consist of.
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4. I can’t afford the kinds of foods those health articles talk about.
Yes, some of those organic food stores are expensive, but no one says that you can only shop at those stores to eat healthy. There are dozens of ways to save money and still eat a healthy, organic, plant based diet. Eat foods in season. Shop at farmers markets. Practice meal planning so you don’t waste food. Grow some of your own food whenever possible. One study done by the Department of Agriculture showed that the most affordable fruits (in season) were bananas, apples, pears, peaches, and pineapples. The most affordable vegetables were lettuce, eggplants, greens, potatoes, squash, and carrots.
5. Even if I could afford it, I certainly don’t have time to cook!
If you have the time to drive to a restaurant, wait to be seated, wait for your order to be taken, wait for the food to be cooked, wait to pay the bill, then drive home, you have time to cook your own. In fact, eating at a restaurant probably takes more time than it does to cook simple home meals. And don’t even think about going to a fast food joints if you want to eat healthy! If you plan your meals ahead, cook double meals and freeze half for another day, and use crock pots, you shouldn’t have any trouble whipping up healthy meals at home in a jiffy.
6. I only smoke now and then; a couple of cigarettes won’t hurt me.
If you think you are OK because you only smoke when you are drinking, or only on the weekends, or only after really tough days, well, you are only kidding yourself. It’s true that one cigarette won’t kill you, but smoking even occasionally is like playing Russian roulette occasionally. You don’t know when that one cigarette will be the one to put your cells over the edge and start mutating. It’s like the straw that breaks the camel’s back, only no one knows which straw that will be; your 20th cig? 200? 201? You know the risks, so why don’t you stop fooling yourself today and quit?
7. I’m good on 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
In today’s world, people who make these kinds of statements are thought of as virtuous, or someone everyone else should aspire to, but you should know that several studies show that continually being sleep deprived is linked to an early death. Most people need at least 7 hours and some even 9 hours of sleep each night. There are a great many health risks involved in not getting enough sleep, and you are only kidding yourself if you think you’re immune to those risks.
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8. I don’t eat potato chips, I eat healthy veggie chips!
Seriously? Do you really think veggie chips are better? Do you know that potatoes are veggies, so in some ways, they are the original veggie chip? And although those veggie chips sound healthier than potato chips, a serving of veggie chips have the same amount of calories as potato chips. They are also made with nothing more than some veggie puree or veggie powder, not whole slices of veggies. Dump the veggie chips and opt for some real, healthy snacks like nuts or cottage cheese.
9. I need a few drinks at night so I can sleep.
Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone. Many people have a glass of wine at night to relax. Alcohol works really well that way, too. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, making you feel more relaxed, even drowsy. Once it starts to wear off, however, you have that rebound affect and most people find that they can’t fall asleep or that they wake up. One glass of wine with dinner: that’s fine. Several glasses of wine each night: not fine.
10. I can’t do that.
You might have been using this excuse for any number of things that are keeping you from being healthy. Everything from “I can’t stop smoking,” to “I can’t cook from scratch,” to “I can’t lose weight,” because we are somehow convinced, truly convinced, that we really can’t do it. If you’ve tried to stop smoking and failed, if you burned dinner a few times, or if you tried to lose weight but gained it back, why try?
If you are convinced from the start that you will fail, chances are good that you will. Stop telling yourself all the things you can’t do, and start telling yourself all the things that you can do. More than likely you have already done some things in life that weren’t easy, but you managed to do them (like growing up!) Some things take longer than others, and other things simply take practice, but you can do it. Hold on to a positive attitude and you will succeed.