It’s a new year and you’re probably excited to work on a new you (even though you’re definitely pretty awesome already). We often focus on health when we write down our goals, wishes, and dreams for the next 365 days. We’ll work out five times a week, never eat another onion ring ever again (yeah right), and go to bed at 9 p.m. every single night. Health is a pretty complicated subject and there’s no one size fits all approach that works for everyone. Some of us have food allergies that force us to eat in a certain way, others struggle to not eat junk food three times a day. There are some common things that we think will make us as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes what we think is good for us really is the exact opposite. Here are 11 signs you’re not as healthy as you might think.
11 You’re Working Out Too Much
Breaking a sweat is healthy, right? It’s so much better than lying on the couch watching Netflix. Whether you’ve just started exercising or you’re an old pro, the fact is that you absolutely need to take a break every once in a while. Experts swear by what are called “rest days” aka days when you’re not working out at all. If you don’t take a day or two off every week, you’re going to get seriously tired and feel like working out is a real chore rather than the feel-good activity it really is.
10 You Only Do Cardio
Cardio is good for you. Running, dance, sports – they’re amazing for your physical and mental health. But in order to be truly healthy, you need some variety in your exercise routine. That means switching it up and not only doing one thing. If you’re an avid runner, it’s a good idea to spend a day or two every week going to a yoga or pilates class to work some different muscles. If you’re crying over the idea that you can’t go to your favorite dance cardio class every day of the week, remember this: you’re going to get bored and not see as much progress if you only do cardio.
9 You Only Do Yoga
It’s not super healthy to only focus on cardio workouts and it’s also not the best idea to only do yoga. That’s because you do need some cardio in your weekly routine and we have to face facts here: no matter how fast-paced a yoga class is, experts don’t believe it counts as cardio. Your best bet for your healthiest year ever is to do a mix of cardio and strength-training classes. You’ll have more fun too, if you constantly do different types of workouts. Getting and staying healthy is not always the enjoyable thing, so you might as well give yourself your best chance of success.
8 You Eat Kale Salads For Lunch
Kale is healthy, right? It’s a trendy superfood and is supposed to be the best food you can put into your body. Well that’s true – and you should definitely enjoy lots of leafy greens on a daily basis – you need protein if you want to feel your best. One cup of kale has 2.7 grams of protein and that’s just not enough to power you through your crazy busy afternoon. If you can’t live without your kale, then add some salmon or chicken (or black beans if you’re a vegan/vegetarian). Then you can have your kale and eat your protein too.
7 You Eat Sugar Without Knowing It
Sure, you avoided those gooey brownies that your coworker brought in this morning, and you try to keep your sugar intake down. But if you’re not aware that sugar basically lurks in every food product you buy at your local grocery store, then you’re just not as healthy as you think you are. Sugar is in the spotlight these days since it’s in salad dressings, pasta sauces, etc. If you can cut out all processed food and make that tomato sauce from scratch, you’ll not only be truly healthy, but can brag to everyone that you made it yourself.
6 You Eat Too Many Whole Grains
Of course whole grains are healthier than empty carbs like pasta, bread, and white rice. But that doesn’t mean you should be eating whole-wheat bread at breakfast and lunch, and tons of quinoa at dinner. Those calories add up super fast and are definitely too much of a good thing. You don’t have to cut all carbs cold turkey – your body needs them to function properly. Carbs give you fiber, and get you through the toughest workout. Just keep your portions in check and maybe skip the carbs at dinner if you feel you’ve been overdoing it.
5 You Never Splurge
Sure, salad and lean protein and lots of water instead of sugary soda make up an obviously healthy diet. But if you’re not allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite treats every once in a while – that chocolate cupcake from the shop around the corner from your office, the cheesy nachos at your local pub – then you’re not that healthy after all. Life is meant to be lived (YOLO, as they say) and it’s totally okay to enjoy a treat once or twice a week. It’s all part of your healthy lifestyle. Plus, if you allow yourself to eat what you want sometimes, you won’t end up eating way too much of it and feeling gross. It’s a win-win.
4 You Work Too Much
Of course we all want to build a fabulous, successful, thriving career for ourselves. However, working should never replace actually living. If you’re working weeknights and weekends on top of your typical 9-to-5 routine, that means you’re neglecting the people that you love. Being healthy means taking care of your emotional and mental health too, and that includes drinks with your best friends or that weekly dinner date with your mom to keep in touch. You should also be doing things you love – swimming, painting, playing an instrument, starting a blog. Don’t forget about having fun – you can’t be healthy without it.
3 You Have Zero Energy
Let’s face it: you can eat the most perfect diet in the world, work out all the time, and sleep proper hours and still feel absolutely exhausted 24/7. That means you’re not healthy, no matter how good your habits are. Being healthy means having energy – period. If you can’t figure out why you’re struggling to get through every day, it’s worth it to go see a doctor to rule out any serious issues. You also might want to visit a nutritionist to learn more about how you should be eating to make sure you have tons of energy every day.
2 You Sweat The Small Stuff
Stress is a huge part of health – specifically, keeping stress levels as low as humanly possible. You may do everything right from diet to exercise, but if you freak out over every little thing that goes wrong – a friend rescheduling dinner, your boyfriend going away for the weekend unexpectedly – then that’s not good news. You want to stay calm and be able to weather life’s storms no matter what’s going on. You can get seriously sick if you remain in your stressed-out state and could experience everything from insomnia to depression.
1 You’re Not Yourself
You can follow every good habit that people suggest, and yet, if you don’t feel like yourself – you just feel “off” somehow – then nothing else matters. Good health means being your best self, no matter how cheesy it sounds. You want to wake up with a smile on your face and enjoy every moment of your daily routine. So what if you eat salad every day for lunch, but you don’t feel happy? If this describes you, then make some changes and you’ll be back to your old self in no time. It’s a new year, after all – it’s the perfect time to actually get healthy.