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“It’s Okay If…”: When it comes to your health sometimes it’s good to be bad

Posted Jul 31 2012 1:38am

You show ‘em, birdie!!

Being the law-abiding, Type A, total rule follower that I am, I’m rarely a bad girl. But sometimes even I need to rebel. Case in point: today I sent my kids with dirty socks to tie-dye for day camp because I couldn’t be bothered to go to the store. (Plus: what better way to camouflage dirty socks than with tie dye?) Then I had them all eat dinner off of paper towels because I’d just started the dishwasher and didn’t want more dishes to besmirch my clean sink. AND now I’m watching the Olympics while I work which means I’m really not working at all, unless by “work” you mean working to keep my jaw off the floor watching the Chinese gymnasts. I know, I’m basically James Dean.

But when it comes to your health sometimes being “bad” is really good for you! (And I’ve even included research to prove it!) So in honor of my lazy day today, I’m declaring it the Day of It’s Okay. Here are some of my favorite rules to break:

It’s okay to not to eat every 3 hours! R esearch from Vanderbilt University shows that your metabolism won’t nosedive if you don’t snack and the break from constant eating can have long-term health benefits. If you love toting baggies of almonds in your purse, keep on my sweet squirrel. But don’t feel bad if you can’t make the mini-meal thing work for your schedule. You’ll be just fine.

It’s okay if you sleep in and skip your workout every once in a while! A University of Chicago study shows that when it comes to your weight, sleep is actually a more important factor than exercise. Sleep deprivation increases levels gherlin – a hunger hormone – and decreases levels of Leptin – a hormone that makes you feel full – which can lead to overeating to the tune of about 500 extra calories a day.

It’s okay if you splurged and ate one of everything from the buffet at the company picnic! Eating one large meal won’t derail your diet but black-and-white thinking — “I’ve ruined it now, might as well eat whatever I want!” — will. Plus a 2009 study showed that cycling your calories (i.e. alternating large and small amounts) produced greater fat loss than consistent eating.

It’s okay to order your salad with dressing that does not have “low” or “reduced” in its name! Researchers from Purdue have discovered that salad dressing is just as nutritious as it is tasty because the fat in the dressing unlocks the vitamins in the veggies by maximizing your body’s absorption of health-boosting carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that can help prevent some forms of cancer and heart disease, and improve your immune system. The key to maximizing this delish discovery is using the highest quality ingredients in your dressings. Skip the cheap soybean oil and looks for dressings made with olive, grapeseed or walnut oils as a base.

It’s okay to skip your super intense spin class sometimes! A Louisiana State University study reported in a Time cover story shows that exercise, especially high intensity “sugar burning” workouts like running and spinning, can make y0u ravenous afterwards. Even worse, subjects craved quick calories like candy — a combo which can quickly undo that hard-earned calorie burn.

It’s okay to do something just because you love it! Who cares if ballroom dancing is a great calorie burn or not? Who cares if you stink at rock climbing? Does it matter if you speedwalk the entire way to the top of the hike? It’s easy to get caught up in the we! are! exercising! mentality but doing something active just because it’s fun can be even better for you than pushing yourself through a punishing workout you don’t like.

It’s okay to not weigh yourself every day! Getting caught up on that one number as an indicator of your health is losing battle, says Rachel Cosgrove in The Female Body Breakthrough. She suggests having a pair of “thermometer jeans” (i.e. jeans that make you feel smokin’ hot) that you can try on to make sure you are maintaining. In the meantime work on getting stronger, faster and having more fun rather than worrying about a number.

It’s okay to caffeinate yourself sometimes! While too much caffeine can lead to jitters and anxiety, sometimes you just need something to help you power through a long afternoon. New research even shows that a moderate amount of coffee can help prevent type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

It’s okay to ask for help! Whether it’s asking for a spot on the weight floor so you can up your weight or asking for help with a hard-to-reach zipper in the locker room, according to Psychology Today, reaching out to people helps both the giver and the receiver feel happier, more connected and less worried for hours afterward.

Do you ever find yourself feeling like a health rebel? What’s your favorite “rule” to break – Finish this sentence: “It’s okay…”? Anyone else just amazed by what the male gymnasts can do on a pommel horse? I don’t know that I’ve ever fully appreciated that apparatus before…

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