6 Health Cliches Re-envisioned
Look, I like sound bytes and motivational quips like the rest of us, but something about the 6 health adages below really get under my skin. Maybe it’s the fact that they set up huge expectations for people to look perfect, eat perfect and strive for a “perfect” body. Maybe it’s because they are so one-dimensional and shallow in nature. But mostly, I think it’s because it traps people into black-and-white thinking, which in my opinion, is the main reason why so many of us stay on the yo-yo dieting train. If we cannot live up to these ideals in an aggressive and consistent way, we are some how judged – by others and ourselves. Let’s look at re-envisioning the 6 health platitudes below – to not be so stringent, so judgmental and to pursue such unattainable goals. Here we go:
No pain, no gain
I get it, this is supposed to motivate us to work through the pain and keep exercising no matter what the cost. But, sometimes pain is our body’s way of telling us to slow the $%^# down or even stop for a little bit to heal and recover. It’s dangerous to have a slogan like this out there, because some people simply cannot tell the difference between the discomfort of vigorous exercise in that powerful, positive way, and the pain of a potentially long-lasting and debilitating injury.
New Slogan: Work hard but listen and respect your body!
Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
This one really irks me. Maybe it’s the word skinny and the fact that it’s this ideal of “skinny” that is perpetuated in our culture that can cause disordered eating and shame around food. Food is to be enjoyed and savored! There is no shame in tasting and loving wonderful, delicious food. I don’t believe that attaining a healthy weight and enjoying tasty food are mutually exclusive either.
New Slogan: Savoring food and loving your body can go hand-in-hand.
You are what you eat
What does that even mean? If I eat avocado does that make me green, creamy and a great complement to corn chips? If I ate munchkins does that make me small, cute and sweet?
New slogan: Pick foods that simultaneously nourishes your body, and delights your taste buds.
If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it
Um, I just had quinoa last night with some edemame, jicama and some haricot verts on the side. Should I not have eaten that? Whoops! My bad!
New Slogan: If it’s made of man-made chemicals, try not to eat it (most of the time).
Eat Clean, train dirty
I never really jived with the whole clean eating phenom. Does it mean that I should scrub my potatoes more before eating? Does it mean that if I choose to once in a while eat food that has a heavier sauce or (gasp!) that is even fried, that it is dirty or that I’m dirty? Instead of training dirty, what if we trained because it made us feel good, and healthy?
New Slogan: Eat and Move joyously.
Unless you puke, faint or die – keep going!
This is supposed to be motivational? Maybe only if you’re one of Jillian Michael’s disciples. I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to get anywhere close to puking, fainting or even dying when exercising.
New slogan: Move your body often, challenge yourself -but most importantly marvel in what your body is capable of doing.
What are some of your most irritating health, fitness or motivational platitudes or quotes?
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Let’s add to this list and re-envision!