I’m all about being healthy, but through research and personal experience, I’ve learned that there are some “health rules” that it’s okay to occasionally break. Here are a few of them:
1) Eating breakfast. Sometimes the boyfriend won’t consume anything except coffee with sugar in it until the afternoon, yet he is able to go to work, study and run or go for walks without any fatigue. He also certainly has no problems with weight, which is one of the main reasons why people say to eat breakfast. Myself, I find that usually I need food as soon as I wake up in the morning. Other times, I can go for a couple hours without feeling hungry. What really depends with this one is your activity level, the time you wake up at and what you’re doing in the morning. If I need to really be on top of my game, I like to eat at least something small within the first hour or so of waking up; but honestly, if you feel comfortable and healthy with not eating breakfast for the first couple hours, then you’re probably okay.
2) Exercising daily. If you exercise intensively every day, your body never gets the chance to rest. For strength training, you need to have rest days because that’s when the muscle rebuilds. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get some form of exercise every day, but if there’s one day a week when you don’t do much more than walk for 20 minutes when you’re out doing errands, it’s not going to kill you. It’s probably going to help your muscles out and replenish your energy so that you’re excited about exercising the next day. It’s important to keep excited and motivated about fitness, and sometimes taking breaks is one of the best ways to do it.
3) Being super clean. Okay, I admit that I can be neurotic about cleanliness, but it’s very important to get outside and play in the dirt once in a while. I’ve never had allergies, and I attribute that to the fact that I spend much of my childhood playing outside and hanging out in a vet clinic around animals. Studies suggest that children who grow up in houses with animals, where they are exposed to more germs, are more likely to have better immune systems and to have less allergies when they become adults. So there’s no need to live in a bubble! Sanitization is important, but our society has really brought it to unnecessary extremes.
4) Eating less sugar. This one has a couple major caveats. First, if you are diabetic or have other blood sugar problems, then yes you need to be careful about how much sugar you consume. Second, it’s the type of sugar that matters. I wince whenever I hear people without blood sugar issues say that they don’t eat bananas or carrots because they’re “really high in sugar.” Yes, there are some fruits and vegetables that contain high quantities of sugar, but our bodies need sugar to survive – and this is the good kind of sugar. If sugar is naturally-occurring in foods (ie. whole fruits and vegetables), then you’re in the clear! But please remember that “natural” sugars such as honey and maple syrup do not fall in this category; nor does fruit juice added to foods.
5) Choosing low-fat foods. Everyone has a different body with drastically different needs. Some bodies require a diet high in fat to function well; others require a diet low in fat. L0w-fat foods are not always healthy foods, and we also need fats for brain and nervous system health (as well as for many other functions). The key is to experiment with different ratios of fats to see what your body likes the best – it might be that you only need 1 teaspoon of fat at a meal to reap the benefits, or perhaps you need 4 tablespoons. It really does depend on your body. Listen to it and it will tell you what it needs.
What healthy rules do you occasionally break? Are there any you would add to this list? Are there any that you disagree with? Share in the comments section below!