When we talk about health, we often emphasize eating good food and getting regular exercise. But in a recent article in MindBodyGreen.com, life and happiness coach Alicia Melgoza writes that being healthy also encompasses our “emotional, mental, relational and spiritual well-being.” She cites what she calls the five big health myths, and she recommends better ways to live a healthy, happy life:
Myth #1: Fitness comes first.
The truth: Research has shown that social ties and relationships may be more critical to our health than exercise. Try planning your workouts around your life, rather than life around working out. Sometimes it’s a good idea to choose family game night over hitting the gym.
Myth #2: You are what you eat.
The truth: What you eat has nothing to do with your character, or your value as a person. You are not virtuous because you forgo a piece of cake, nor are you a bad person because you indulge in a bowl of ice cream. In our quest for health, we have mistakenly attached guilt and shame to food, causing us unnecessary pain and in the process, generating a lot of cultural judgment of people who are overweight. It’s time to stop labeling foods as “bad” or “good.”
Myth #3: Never miss a workout.
The truth: It is important to honor your body. If you are injured, or very tired, or feeling sick, the healthy choice is to skip a workout. Listen to your body, and make rest as much a priority as exercise.
Myth #4: You should fight your cravings.
The truth: Health studies indicate that denying yourself the foods you are craving can trigger binge eating. Instead, try serving yourself the food you want, then practice mindful eating. Focus on and savor every bite.
Myth #5: Every Oreo you eat means extra time at the gym.
The truth: Exercise should never be penance for what you eat. In fact, that is called “exercise bulimia,” and it takes away the joy that moving your body should bring. To regain a healthy approach to fitness, try a fun dance class, or enjoy a hike with your dog.