Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Jun

Health Suicide in 10 Easy Steps

We know most of our readers here at Mark’s Daily Apple are well attuned to what it means to live healthily, but sometimes even the pros can make mistakes.

Read on to learn 10 ways to commit health suicide…

1. Eat Like a Bird, Drink Like a Fish

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Hot chick, but her appetite stinks!

Favored by the likes of a pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan, this diet calls for you to fast all day in order to “spend” your calorie allowance on sugar-laden cocktails in the evening. While followers of this so-called diet say it serves two purposes – allowing them to maintain a slender frame and get drunk more quickly – it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this eating pattern results in severe deficiencies in protein, vital vitamins, nutrients and fat, all of which can up the risk of osteoporosis and other diseases of the so-called skinny fat.

2. Do the Same Thing and Expect Different Results

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Challenging at first, but after a few weeks, these steps will be a cinch!

While with fitness, consistency is often key, doing the same old activities day in and day out won’t get you the results you’re looking for (and will likely bore you to tears). The mechanism behind this? When your body is instructed to do the same thing over and over – like running that 3 mile loop on the nature trail – it quickly grows savvy to what you’re doing and comes up with ways to complete the exercise more efficiently and therefore, with less exertion. To ensure that you are progressing with your workouts, try mixing it up: Swap your usual bike ride for an hour of pilates or sub your ho-hum half hour elliptical routine for 15 minutes of interval bike sprints followed by a 15 minute uphill speed walk. Not only will it challenge muscles you forgot you ever had, it’ll also challenge your mind and reinvigorate your desire to hit the gym (or track…or trail…or studio).

Oh, and for those of you still sitting on the couch when you could be moving about outside… that’s not going to get you in shape either.

3. Eat Things You Can’t Pronounce

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All this for a supposedly “fresh” cake!

If you’ve taken a look at a nutrition label recently and walked away confused, consider yourself completely normal. You see, these days only an organic chemist with an uncanny interest in the food biologies could possibly make sense of all the HFCS, trans fats, and other highly unpronounceable additives that make up the majority of (processed) foods in the supermarket. And, while we will be the first to admit that there have been numerous positive technological and scientific advances made in almost every realm of life, when it comes to food, natural is best.

4. All Work and No Play…

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Not only will all work and no play make you a dull (boy or girl), keeping your nose to the grind can actually be counterproductive. In a study conducted by Air New Zealand of travelers flying between Auckland and Los Angeles, it was determined that travelers were 82% more productive following a vacation, and the benefits didn’t stop there: Study participants also reported getting more high-quality sleep following a vacation. However, the researchers note that more than 43% of Americans had no plans to take a vacation in 2007 due to work pressures. Need further incentive to shut down the computer and take a break? A 2006 study profiled in The Sunday Times finds that the percentage of married couples citing overwork for the basis of their divorce has more than tripled in recent years! The solution? Slow down, relax, unwind and leave work on time.

5. Fat Fighter

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Low-fat, no-fat, all FAD! We’ve been preaching the value of fat for quite some time but we’ll say it again: Dietary fat is necessary to support biological functions! According to a recent study, for example, the fat found in fish oil (Omega 3 fatty acids) are particularly integral in reducing the presence of inflammation in the arteries (which, in turn, is associated with increased coronary risk). Our advice? Don’t fear the fat!

6. Believe Everything You Read

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Are you sure you believe everything you read?

According to the fine folks over at Consumer Reports, the average American is exposed to some 247 advertising messages per day. However, other sources peg the number at as many as 3,000 messages per day. How many of these pertain to food and beverage isn’t exactly clear, but you need only turn on your television to see that we are literally bombarded with messages about the latest and greatest foods. But consider this – how many of these advertisements are dedicated to declaring the value of spinach? How about good ol’ cabbage? The point we’re making here is that it is a very rare instance that the types of food you should be eating are advertised on television, including those items that are marketed as “health foods” in order to take advantage of the latest health buzz. Eschew the hype, the latest fads and diet trends. You don’t need that roller coaster ride to nowhere.

7. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Matt Scott puts your best excuses in perspective!

Too old? Too out of shape? Too busy? Too sore (at least according to some of you!)? Sometimes the easiest thing about working out is making up an excuse to get out of it! We’ve talked about this one at length in a previous Top 10 post but we’ll say it again: The time spent convincing yourself (or your poor personal trainer) that you simply can’t make it to the gym today could have been better spent squeezing in a quick workout. So quit resolving your cognitive dissonance with excuses and self-justification, and instead get out there and, we hate to say it, just do it. For more than one reason it is a much healthier way to be happy with your decisions.

8. Risky Business

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If this sounds like an invitation, then you might want to heed this warning.

Despite common depictions, early man was far from a numbskull (at least, if the insurance ads are to be believed!) Primal man was most certainly attuned to his surroundings and was skillful in his ability to avoid trauma and other events likely to endanger health. Today, however, we often fail to take these factors into account and throw caution to the wind either through laziness or the pursuit of a cheap thrill. In today’s society we have all the equipment and knowledge necessary to safeguard our lives and yet at times we simply just don’t use our heads. Don’t be a numbskull and avoid risky business!

9. Salads are for Sissies

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mmm….salad

Think you’re more of a meat and potatoes man? Then chances are you’re also a man who is constipated and severely lacking in a number of essential vitamins and nutrients. But isn’t a man that orders a salad a sissy? Well, probably no more than a man who has love handles from eating a mountain of mac and cheese or a guy whose hair and skin is pale, sallow and generally unattractive as a result of a vitamin deficiency. Because, and remember this, there are far more women out there who’d prefer a man with an insatiable appetite for Steak-umms than one with six pack abs and a chiseled chest, right ladies… ladies…wait, what?

10. Hospital Helper

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If you had a 10% risk of picking up a nasty, potentially deadly condition just from visiting a place, would you want to go? What if we told you that place was a hospital? Yes, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, approximately one in 10 patients develops a nosocomial infection during hospitalization, that is an infection that they did not have prior to checking in. While this is certainly an extreme example, the reality is an over reliance on the modern healthcare system can be…well, deadly. In fact, the majority of people enter hospitals for ailments that could be better treated (when caught in their early stages) through lifestyle modifications such as exercise or a healthier diet. Our advice? Invest in your health now – by taking care of your body, going for regular health screenings and generally trying to live the healthiest, cleanest life possible – and you’ll be far less likely to languish in a hospital bed.

KateMonkey, tanakawho, Waldo Jaquith, MyBarina, Daniel Y. Go, VermontJm, Vicki & Chuck Rogers, SiFu Renka, Laura Mary Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Top 10 Reasons to Stay Healthy

Top 10 Reasons to Wriggle Out of a Workout

What Happens to Your Body When… You CARB BINGE?

The Best Low-Carb Fruits (and Worst)

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I love it! Without diligence on our part, it’s easy for some of these to become the norm.

    Lance wrote on June 24th, 2008
  2. I certainly know a little about #7. Excuses are like noses, everybody has one. The too busy excuse is one that I am currently using and it is getting old. I know that I really have to try to find the time to get in 45 minutes of exercise and but I am a busy guy, and especially with my kids it is just simply hard. But the above are all good tips on combating our justification for unhealthy habits. Great read!

    Allen wrote on June 24th, 2008
  3. #2!! I didn’t start enjoying exercise until I left the gym. I still go to the gym, but I also run stairs, do wind sprints on the beach, hike, bike, follow along with yoga internet videos in my bedroom, and jog the parking lot right outside of my gym. Funny thing is, I don’t particularly spend more time per month working out than when I was a plain old gym rat.

    Oh, and I even occasionally leave my iPod at home. Time alone with my brain can be even more enjoyable than time alone with Beyonce and Justin Timberlake.

    McFly wrote on June 24th, 2008
  4. I’m with you on everything. #2 on your list was an eye opener for me just this past Sunday when I had to walk up a short but somewhat steep hill on my way back home the other day. It was hard. I’ve been doing intervals and weight training and muay thai and yet was unable to easily walk up that hill.

    The body will adapt to everything and change is the only constant thing needed to fool it.

    Nkem wrote on June 24th, 2008
  5. “I am a busy guy, and especially with my kids it is just simply hard.”

    That’s why I like taking my kids to the park. While they are busy playing around on the swings, monkey bars etc. … I am too!! If you want ideas for exercises you can do at the park, look at bodyweightculture.com

    Best.

    SB wrote on June 24th, 2008
  6. I’d also add “Eat things you don’t enjoy” to the list. It’s unsustainable for people to try transforming their diets to more healthful foods, and cutting out detrimental ones, if they don’t focus on finding healthful foods that they enjoy.

    Luckily, most people like good quality meats and saturated fats (mmm, butter), and fresh and ripe produce. In which case it goes back to your #5 and #6 examples. You have to have the right information in the first place!

    It’s no burden to eat well when what you’re eating is delicious.

    Food Is Love

    Huckleberry wrote on June 24th, 2008
  7. I first met my husband in college. I was impressed that he always bought salad and vegetables instead of the typical cold cereal and mac and cheese.

    Crystal wrote on June 24th, 2008
  8. So my excuse today is that I’m too sore from yesterday. I haven’t exercised (and I mean REALLY exercised purposefully) in several months but I got a new yoga-pilates fusion DVD and a yoga mat and I did half the workout Monday and the full workout Tuesday and my muscles are tired and sore. Should I do the DVD again today or do my muscles need a day of “rest” to recover? I don’t want to push myself too hard to where I give up exercising again. Should I just do something different (like take the kids to the pool and swim a few laps)?

    Nancy S wrote on June 25th, 2008
  9. It seems to me that you know the answer, Nancy S. Take your own advice and ease into a new workout schedule. There is no reason to overdo it early on. Go on an easy walk or swim a few laps to get the blood flowin’ and your muscles stretched and then get back to the yoga when you feel you can do it. Good luck!

    Tony R . wrote on June 25th, 2008
  10. Great post. That Matt Scott video had me in tears I was laughing so hard.

    Geekgirl wrote on June 25th, 2008
  11. #9) Salad for Sissies??? Heck NO, In a relationship one of the BIGGEST ways to say and show “i love you” and “love yourself” is being healthy!
    I believe a woman wants a healthy guy, and guys want a healthy woman,I BELIEVE THIS!!!

    Not only do i not believe everything i read, i do not believe everything i hear!

    Donna wrote on June 25th, 2008
  12. This may possibly be the best Internet list (on health) I have ever read. I want to print it out and send copies with my Christmas letter. Although that might mean a lot of coal lumps in my stocking;)

    charlotte wrote on June 25th, 2008
  13. I stumbled across this site and it is my favorite. Keep up the great work.

    shawda wrote on June 25th, 2008
  14. I love the ‘Excuses’ vid. LOVED IT.
    As for the Healthcare Helper… you might have mentioned the why’s to nosocomial infections, or better yet the contributing factors within the stressed healthcare system that are increasing the likelihood of those infections.
    Just my humble opinion.
    :)

    Strong One wrote on June 29th, 2008
  15. If someone doesn’t want to live any more as she has a great cancer pain and there is no chance to live,in that situation she needs an easy step to suicide. Please help & understand her situation.

    Tina wrote on March 4th, 2010

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