Healthy Choice or Harmful Habit?

How to avoid hidden hazards of some healthy behaviors

October 13, 2012

While many of us take steps to live a healthy lifestyle, it is very possible to do what I call “over-stepping”. Those so-called healthy behaviors we work so hard to make habits can sometimes harm, instead of help us. This is usually the case when healthy behavior tips are done in excess or are just simply misinterpreted. Here are five common healthy habits with possible harmful effects.

1. Organic Overload: Buying anything and everything labeled “organic”.
Possible hazard: While the consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the “health halo” associated with the organic label leads many people to buy non-nutritional / junk foods labeled organic.
Instead: Always check the nutrition label for calorie and nutrient content and just use common sense. Keep in mind that an organic cupcake is still a cupcake!

2. Cardio Queen: Torturing your body with hours of cardio day after day.
Possible hazard: Killing yourself with cardio only can leave you with a protruding belly. Even if you burn major calories on the machines, lifting weights is what builds and maintains metabolism-boosting muscles, fueling your calorie burn long after your workout is done.
Instead: Add three or four 30-minute strength training sessions to your weekly routine.

3. Carb-Control…Freak: Completely eliminating carbohydrates from your diet.
Possible hazard: While simple carbs are quickly converted into sugar, quickly raising the blood-glucose levels and subsequently affecting fat loss, your body needs carbs to support the central nervous system and muscular system. Without carbs, your body will compensate to survive and those systems will suffer.
Instead: Choose complex carbohydrates (higher on glycemic index), limiting the intake to earlier in the day.

4. Tap Out!: You drink only bottled water, never tap.
Possible hazard: If bottled water is your only source of hydration, your teeth may soon suffer. According to the American Dental Association, the majority of bottled water (as well as some filtered tap water) does not contain optimal levels of fluoride or contains no fluoride at all. Plus, drinking from plastic bottles increases your exposure to the toxin BPA.
Instead: To keep your teeth strong and healthy, wean yourself from the bottle and fill your glass straight from the tap.

5. Daily Winer: Drinking a few glasses of red wine a day for its heart-health benefits.
Possible hazard: While it is true that wine contains antioxidants and a plant chemical called resveratrol, which can help lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease, drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of other diseases, including high blood pressure, obesity, certain types of cancer and liver damage. Studies have shown women who drink more than two to five alcoholic beverages a day are 50 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all.
Instead: If you don't currently drink wine, there's no compelling health reason to start. If you do drink, remember, moderation (one 8 oz glass/day) is the key.

Thanks for reading and until next time…

Wishing You Wellness,

M.S. in Exercise Physiology
B.S. in Food & Nutrition
Certified Trainer for 21 years
6x IFBB Pro Figure Champ
Proud Mother of 3!