Health Myths: 10 Crucial Mistakes People Make in Getting Healthy

By Julie Petersen

January 25, 2017   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

get healthy

Everyone is trying to live healthy these days. Pinterest is flooded with healthy grocery shopping lists and exercise infographics. And let’s not forget those motivational pics of beautiful men and women. They seem happy and complete because they are living healthy. And, we all want to be like them.

We get the impression that everyone is healthier and more responsible than us. The reality is different. Do you know how many Americans actually live a healthy lifestyle? Less than 3 percent. Now that’s a surprise we didn’t expect.

Is there anyone who doesn’t want to be healthier? Those motivational pics on social media do motivate us. We don’t lack motivation, but we lack action. Even if we take action, we’re making crucial mistakes. We’re getting tips from all over the place. So it’s easy to take the wrong path on our mission to staying healthy.

Here are the 10 critical mistakes people make when trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle:

Getting 8 hours of sleep

eight hours of sleep

At some point in history, someone decided to recommend getting 8 hours a sleep every single night. No more, no less. People adopted that rule for healthy living and we’re seeing it all over the place.

The thing is: everyone is different. Some people feel energized when they get many short sessions of sleep throughout the day. That’s how Nikola Tesla and Leonardo da Vinci slept. Others need 6 hours of sleep at night. Some people like to sleep during the day and work at night. That’s when their body and mind reach the peak of activity.

Yes, continuous sleep is important. However, the 8-hour sleep is a pure myth. Sleep allows our brain to flush the waste and get ready for the new day. The trick is to discover your own rhythm and get as much sleep as you need. No more, no less.

Quitting smoking when you’re not ready

You know how bad smoking is for you. But, ask yourself this question: can you guarantee that you’re ready to quit once and for all? Can you do that in this very instant? Are you ready to never smoke another cigarette ever again?

If you argue with yourself or you’re making a compromise on that question, you’re not ready. When people are not ready to quit smoking, they can be successful at quitting only for a certain period of time. Then, they go back to the old habit. If you’re mentally prepared to quit, you’ll do it without failure.

Take some time to prepare. The first step to success is admitting you’re an addict. Make a commitment to quit. Analyze your habits and start changing them, step by step. If you’re smoking a pack a day, stretch it out to two days. After some time, try stretching it out to three days. Continue with this practice and, at one point or another, you’ll quit quitting.

See Also: 5 Easy Healthy Habits You Can Start Straight Away 

Too many food restrictions

Don’t eat gluten. Meat is bad for you. Carbs are the worst. Corn is genetically modified. Fruits and veggies are treated with bad chemicals. Okay. What can you eat? Organic fruits, veggies and seeds are great, but you can’t limit your diet to it.

If you decide to make food restrictions, you have to do it in a way that doesn’t affect your health. Are you getting enough protein? Are you getting all nutrients you need within a day? That’s the main question to ask before you start starving yourself for the sake of living healthy.

Brushing teeth right after eating

brushing teeth

That’s what your mom taught you. That’s what TV commercial teach us. Food is bad for our teeth, so we need to brush and floss right after eating. Here’s the real doctor’s advice: that’s not the right thing to do.

Brushing your teeth immediately after eating doesn’t make them healthier. In fact, that practice leads to dentin loss. Wait at least 30 minutes after a meal. Then, brush your teeth and feel good because you’re doing them well.

Drinking too much water

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! That’s one of the most important tips you’re getting from any guide on healthy living. Too much of anything is never a good thing. Drinking too much water leads to a condition called hyponatremia. The levels of sodium in the blood get abnormally low and the cells begin to swell. They are practically flooded.

Remember: all fluids count. If you have a soup or a smoothie, it counts as fluid. If you exercise, you drink more. If you stay seated in the office all day, your body doesn’t need too much water. Try to drink more water than you’re currently drinking. But, don’t go overboard.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated 

Reading too many articles on healthy living

When you’re trying to get healthy, you’re willing to accept any advice. So you start pinning one article after another. This is the coolest Pinterest board of all. It’s motivating, to say the least. But, when you start reading those articles, you notice the conflict. Some say ‘stay away from sodium’. Other authors warn you against drastic sodium restrictions. That could lead to insulin resistance and high cholesterol levels.

Here’s the best advice someone could give: accept advice only from sources you can trust. Once you find a healthy living routine that works for you, there’s no need to keep pinning.

Running in the morning

So you wake up at 5 am each morning to get a good run? That’s great! Or is it? Do you know that you’re losing muscle when you’re running on an empty stomach? You decide to get a protein shake to eliminate that possibility? That’s okay if you’re a morning person. If not, the morning run won’t do you any good.

There’s something called a circadian rhythm. It determines the performance of our body and mind throughout different periods of a day. The trick is: it’s different for all of us. Some people have a problem to function in the morning. That’s not because they are lazy. It’s just because their body clock tells them that’s the time for sleeping.

The lesson? Find your own optimal hour for running.

Doing yoga as you like it

do yoga

Yoga is invigorating and energizing. It’s an awesome addition to your healthy lifestyle plan. Some poses stimulate your nervous system, and others calm it down. Here’s the problem: you need a balanced program. Otherwise, you may suffer the consequences.

There’s a possibility to overstimulate your nervous system or make yourself too passive. It’s important to find a certified instructor and follow the instructions well. Once you’re confident that you can follow the program, you can start your home practice.

Exercising every day

When it comes to healthy living, routine is the key to success. However, overtraining can have negative effects on your health. In women, it may disturb the menstrual cycle. It can cause insomnia, mood problems, and bigger appetite for both women and men.

Your muscles actually grow when they rest. So take that rest when you feel like you need it. Motivate yourself to exercise as frequently as possible. But, don’t force yourself to train hard every single day.

Getting obsessed

Is health all you can think of? Are you sitting at the office thinking about the salad you’re gonna have for lunch? Are you disgusted by the meals other people are having? Are you constantly giving them the advice to follow your awesome example? You’ve made the worst mistake of all: you got obsessed.

There are plenty of joyful things to experience in a lifetime. If you get obsessed with something, you’re missing out on all the fun you can get from other things. Parties are fun. Eating salty popcorn while watching a movie is okay. Don’t get obsessed with healthy life choices. That’s not healthy!


Julie Petersen

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