Redefining the Reality of Health

Is our idea of healthy even close to paralleling the truth? We marvel at our decision  to order ‘tall’ instead of a grande sugar filled coffee and in turn treat ourselves for our ‘healthy’ decision. Labels on healthy choices read nothing but unhealthy nutrients and we wonder why our health is- well, poor. The reality is that the idea of health to many Americans is in dire need of a rewrite.

Proportions should not resemble obese pants sizes, unless you really want the “you are what you eat” to be valid. Large fries are unnecessary, grande burritos and XL burgers all bare pants sizes in their name and are truthfully a whole lot of future health issues all wrapped in enticing fast food packaging. One problem that our perception of health is skewed is because fast food defined their healthy options with choices that are not. Some are loaded with sugar, others high in sodium. So let’s begin with stating that there is probably not a healthy morsel at a fast food place, despite the marketing for better choices. Salads can sometimes be served up with fattening dressings or fried chicken pieces, turning what was once healthy into a horrible option. Now the blame cannot be placed solely on the fast food industry, but the out of proportion, portion sizes available and unhealthy health choices may have many American’s confused.

The marketplace is not innocent in this discrepancy, either. Strolling through aisles other than the produce section may once again bring confusion. Juices may sound like a good option to have around because they are made with fruits and veggies. But remember, fruits have a lot of natural sugars in them and when sugar is added on top of that, it could mean more sugar than some sodas! Another dangerously disguised aisle is the frozen food section. I don’t care how healthy they may say they are, but frozen dinners contain so many preservatives that make them anything but healthy. Another grocery store culprit? Healthy hundred calorie snacks. While many of them may make you feel better for choosing that over the real snack, it still has a slew of issues. Some are not satisfied with the tiny bags and may end up eating two or three packs. Many of those snack packs are still loaded with sodium. Another problem? These snacks could easily be replaced by real fruits and veggies, a much better problem that improves your health, rather than making it decline. Next time you have sought out a grocery store dilemma think about if the foods you are choosing are helping your health or hurting it.

Exercise is also a bit skewed for many reasons. Taking the escalator up to the gym entrance or getting in the car to drive to it is backwards. Making those small changes could really improve health and these are concepts that apply to your overall life. Use the stairs at work! Walk to the mailbox instead of driving! Small but mighty, these actions can make differences. Another issue is that despite making the effort to go to the gym, what is happening there may not be cutting it. Walking a mile on the treadmill still beats sitting on the couch, but many people think this exercise will make up for the meal they will devour post- workout. How many people say, “I worked out today, so I can have this piece of cake.” Apparently a lot. The problem that exists is that the workout may not compensate for what’s being consumed. 30 minutes on a slow cycle bike probably won’t cover the cheesecake brownie bites later.

The problem with unhealthy America is that the reality and perception of health are completely unaligned. We have advertisements for healthy candy and people qualifying working outs as treadmill strolls with a cell phone glued to their ear. It’s skewed, but it’s nobodies fault. Being informed and making good decisions can help in defining and amending health, and actual positive changes can be seen from developing a lifestyle with real healthy choices.

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