by | Mar 8, 2022 | 0 comments

It can seem like, everywhere you turn, there’s another thing to start doing for your health … eat more veggies, drink more water, get in more movement, do a morning routine … and trust me, those are all healthy habits!  But sometimes it’s mentally refreshing to think about things we can stop doing for our health.  So today, I present to you 7 things you can stop doing, while still maintaining (and improving!) your health.  Let’s go (well, I guess, let’s stop 😉)!

7 Things to STOP Doing for Your Health

    1. STOP demonizing fat (or any macronutrient). It’s really hard, I know!  It’s still hard for me, even after teaching this for years.  But the 1990s convinced us that fat free cookies and fat free TV dinners were the epitome of health food … and those thoughts can be hard to erase!  We’ve been told that fat makes you fat, but that’s mostly wrong.The truth is, even healthy fats do add up.  If you eat too many nuts or avocados, you will gain weight and likely also feel digestively uncomfortable, so balance is essential with fat (and everything else in life).  But the fat-free options are not only devoid of taste, they’re actually not good for our health!Healthy fat, though, is essential for so many bodily functions, including blood sugar stability, hormone balance, brain health, reducing inflammation, and more.  For more on the benefits of fat, see this post.

      So next time you see a package labeled “fat free,” instead of thinking “ooh, I’ll grab 2,” think “I wonder what else they put in there to make it fat free.” Likely, the answer is a whole bunch of sugar, preservatives, or artificial flavorings, and not only will the item not taste great, but it will leave you feeling hungry right afterwards.Enjoy your avocados, eggs, nuts, seeds, olives, healthy oils, fish, and coconut – all in moderation, of course!

    2. STOP telling yourself you’ll start over Monday. This is one of the biggest tricks our brains play on us. Look, I get it – it’s easier to put off your commitment to an arbitrary time in the future so you don’t have to do the hard thing now.  But delaying your exercise start date until January 1st or telling yourself you’ll start drinking water on Monday … it just doesn’t help.The answer is (almost) always to start NOW.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing now.  Don’t let your brain tell you otherwise!If you’re holding yourself to some standard of perfection (as in, “once I reduce sugar, I can never ever have sugar and have to be perfect for the rest of my life”), then of course it will be easier to put off the start date.  But if you commit to reducing sugar now, and realize that you won’t be perfect and that’s OK, you’ll make much greater progress over the long run.
    3. STOP tying success to daily weigh-ins. If you need to, or even want to, lose weight, I’m OK with that!  It’s a common goal of my 1-to-1 clients, and if it’s done in a healthy way that promotes a longer, healthier life, a feeling of self-pride, better athletic performance, or even fitting proudly into your pants, I want that for you!  So, it’s not the goal of weight loss itself that I’m against.It’s not even – necessarily – the scale that I’m against.  If the scale works for you, that’s great!  (If you’re wondering whether or not it works for you, check out this post!
      What I’m against is weighing in daily and using that number as an indicator of success.  And here’s why: for one, our body weight fluctuates a lot throughout the day and even from day to day.  Some of the many reasons for these normal fluctuations are hormone fluctuations, sodium intake, inflammatory food intake, activity level (you could be dehydrated from a long aerobic workout, or you could be inflamed because your muscles are recovering from a tough strength workout), digestion (as in, did you have a big enough bowel movement that day), water intake (either being dehydrated or overhydrated can cause the scale to uptick!), and SO many more.  So, over weeks and months and years, weight trend is accurate, but day to day, it’s just not.
      Secondly, I’m against using something that’s not in your direct control as a barometer of your efforts.  Trust me, I wish weight loss was an exact science.  But many of you are with me in knowing that you can string together a veggie-heavy, low-sugar week full of the right amount of exercise and “all the things” … and the scale still doesn’t budge.  There are just so many other factors at play, so I’d rather people measure something that they’re in direct control over, like their active minutes or servings of vegetables or ounces of water.Finally, this is an emotional spiral waiting to happen. You are worth SO much more than the number on the scale.  It has absolutely nothing to do with your personality or value as a human, yet many of us let it have enormous power over it.  If that’s you, read this post, and give yourself the gift of breaking up with the scale!
    4. STOP assessing the health of a food by its calorie count. Another one that’s easier to say than to do! And to some extent, calories are important.  For example, if you’re going to eat some M&Ms, choosing the 230-calorie package of M&Ms is going to be the better decision than the jumbo size 1540 calorie bag.  (And by the way, if you’re going to eat M&Ms, I want you to do it and enjoy it!  Do it consciously and eliminate any guilt!).Aside from comparing sizes of the same thing, though, looking at the calorie count hardly tells us anything.  It might be like saying “I traveled 200 miles today” … but not revealing if you traveled by foot, bike, car, train, boat, or plane.  Those are very different scenarios!

      In reality, a calorie is a unit of measure that works perfectly in a lab.  But in our bodies, different calories produce very different results, and a calorie of a sugary processed food sets of a hormonal cascade that leads to far different health outcomes than a calorie of broccoli!

      We talk a lot about things like this in my Health Accelerator, Revitalize.  If you’re curious about how to actually take what you know about health and implement it, Revitalize could be a great fit for you!  Set up time to chat with me about it right here.

    5. STOP eating every time you think you’re hungry. I am not here to say you need to be hungry to be healthy – not even close!  I believe in fueling our bodies well and ensuring they have the nourishment they need to function optimally.  That said, if I ate every time I personally had a passing thought that food sounded good, I would not be a healthy person.So often, what we think or perceive to be hunger is actually something else … thirst, need for stress relief or pleasure, boredom, fatigue … you name it, there are several situations that lead us to reach for the bag of chips or bar of chocolate.For me, taking a few deep breaths before reaching for a snack helps a lot.  In just a moment, I can assess whether or not I’m experiencing physical hunger, or if something else is getting in my way.  (This post shares more on that!).

      If you’re truly hungry, eat!  But if not, find another way to soothe whatever is going on – go for a 5-minute walk, have a 2-minute dance party, text a friend, drink some water or tea, or cross something off your to do list so you can get to bed early!

    6. STOP constantly hopping on the next diet bandwagon. I wish there was reason to hope that “the miracle diet that will make every person healthy and happy” was just around the corner.  And often I wish that I could just eat chocolate and tortilla chips all day if I only drank grapefruit juice before or did a magical hula dance for 4.89 seconds after each bite (I’m being facetious if you can’t tell!).  But that’s just not reality.We cycle through different variations of “miracle diets” over and over again.  Atkins is reincarnated as keto.  Various promises of pills or magic foods come and go.The only time-tested solution is eating whole foods in the right balance for your specific body.  More veggies, less sugar.  More water, less soda and alcohol.  Moderate protein and healthy fat, fewer refined carbs.  This all sounds simple, but I get that it can be complicated to put it into practice.  Again, I teach you just how to do this in my Revitalize Health Accelerator, and I’d love to chat with you about it!
    7. STOP putting your health last on the list. I know you are busy.  In fact, if you’re reading this, I’ll bet you are achieving an incredible amount … you’re prioritizing your health, you’re probably crushing it in your family, career, and community lives.  And that all takes time.But when the time it takes to do all of that causes a long-term compromise of YOUR health, it’s just not worth it.  If something costs you your peace, your health, or your life … it’s too expensive.You will show up to all the other aspects of your life as the best version of you when you’re prioritizing your health.  This doesn’t mean you need to do 8 hours of yoga per day or spend 2 hours cooking every meal.  But it does mean taking some time and energy for you.  Only you know the right balance, but if you’re last on your list (and constantly getting booted from the list at all), I know that you know.  Put yourself back on the list and give yourself VIP access to head right to the top.

Now it’s your turn … Which one(s) of these will you stop doing for your health?

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Megan Lyons Headshot

Hi! I'm Megan Lyons,

the voice behind The Lyons’ Share. I love all things health, wellness, and fitness-related, and I hope to share some of my passion with you. Thanks for stopping by!
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