Hold on to your hat because I’m about to debunk 4 “healthy” habits that – sad to say – aren’t healthy at all.
But there’s hope. I’ll also tell you how to get them back into the legit healthy zone with small hacks and tweaks.
Here’s the thing…
Healthy habits is pretty much all I talk about these days.
I even have dedicated rooms to it on Clubhouse… and hundreds of people show up each week.
(PS – are you one of them? Follow me @hayleyhobson to get in on the action).
People wanna know how to be healthy.
I tell them: broccoli. Straight up broccoli. JK JK.
Here’s the thing: there’s a whole lotta noise out there about what “healthy” actually is.
It can be confusing AF.
So I’m gonna give you the real deal facts you need to know about some of the most popular habits that you *think* are healthy… but actually – not so much.
4 “Healthy” Habits That Are Actually Pretty Unhealthy
Habit #1: Eating a big breakfast
Did you grow up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?
I mean, it’s been a thing for like… decades.
Or if you’re like how I used to be, then dinner’s your biggest meal.
Well, my friend, what I’m about to say may shock you…
Lunch should be your biggest meal of the day.
TBH, I don’t even eat breakfast. I intermittent fast until mid day. More on that in a bit...
According to Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old system of health that comes from India, our bodies are tied to the sun.
And our bodies are made to digest literally everything. We can digest energy, emotions, experiences… and yes, of course food.
In Ayurveda, this digestion process is described as fire. 🔥🔥🔥
So the bigger and hotter the fire, the faster and better the digestion process will be.
This is why Ayurveda recommends that you eat your largest meal of the day when the sun is highest in the sky.
Hottest fire in the sky = hottest fire in your belly = optimal digestion.
When you eat too much food in the morning or at night, it won’t process as well.
And if you skip a mid-day meal? Well, you’re basically spitting on your fire. LOL
For me personally, this is directly tied to intermittent fasting.
There’s tons of science coming out showing the health benefits of not eating all day, every day. With intermittent fasting, you don’t consume calories for at least 12 hours in a row.
For me, I pair these two hacks by having my fasting window be 8pm - noon the next day. That’s about 15-16 hours of overnight fasting – and lunch is my first meal.
So my hot take on when to eat your biggest meal is… chow down on lunch.
If you wanna have a morning breakfast and evening dinner, just make them smaller and lighter than your mid-day meal.
And give intermittent fasting a shot.
You can have water, lemon water, tea, or black coffee – try to stay under 100 calories during your fasting period.
It takes a little practice, but once the habit kicks in, it’s not so hard.
Habit #2: Juicing
I’m talking about fruit juices specifically.
I see you there with your fancy juice press – and that’s a good start – but what are you putting into it?
Green juices are awesome. Ones made with veggies like spinach, kale, celery… all the leafy green things you probably hated as a kid.
Well, guess what… mom was totally right – they ARE good for you. LOL
And I bet you grew up thinking that having a big glass of OJ in the morning was good for you too, right?
I hate to tell ya this but… that fruit juice is full of sugar.
Yep, even if you make it at home.
Here’s the deal.
Fruits are good for you when eaten whole.
Your body can process all that sugar because it’s paired with fiber.
That helps slow down the absorption of all those sugars and make them more digestible for your body. The fiber is also what makes you feel full when you eat fruit, like an apple.
Compare that with having a glass of apple juice. Not so filling.
When you squeeze the juice out, you’re removing the fiber. But keeping all that sugar in there. So if you’re a big time fresh fruit juice person… it’s actually not that healthy of a habit.
To twist this habit back into the healthy category, you can do a few different things:
Skip the juicing process. Peel that orange and eat it straight up.
Switch up your base to be a green juice and add in a little fruit for sweetness.
Change it up from a juice to a smoothie. Blending fruit keeps the fiber in so you get the best of both worlds. And to keep the sugars down, use only 1 cup of fruit max. Be sure to include some healthy fats and proteins, like peanut butter or avo.
Habit #3: Standing to eat
I’m lookin’ at you, busy bee with the jam-packed schedule.
If you stand when you eat, you’re not doing your stomach any favors.
The ideal position to be in while eating is sitting down. Like at a real table (imagine that, LOL).
When you sit down to eat, your body processes food better. The science isn’t super clear on why this is, but it’s thought to have something to do with gravity. 🤷♀️
When you sit, food empties from your stomach more slowly than when you’re standing. 22 minutes slower, in fact.
Here’s why this is important.
If you eat while standing, your stomach whips through that food real quick. Which means you’re going to be hungry again sooner.
Munching while standing up can lead to overeating.
Recently I brought this up in a Clubhouse room and someone decided to fact check me while I was talking…
JK, it was totally fine. 😂
He brought up the fact that eating while standing actually burns more calories than when you’re sitting.
50 more calories an hour, if you’re into trivia like that.
And yes, this is true.
But here’s the part that really makes a difference…
How fast you eat.
Most of us eat in like 15-30 minutes. So you’re only really burning an extra 12-25 calories doing that same thing while standing.
And if you’re eating fast and eating MORE because you’re hungry sooner, burning those extra 12 calories doesn’t sound so amazing, now does it?
The other thing about sitting to eat is you tend to eat slower.
As we all know, it takes your stomach about 20 minutes to throw up that “I'm full!” signal.
Another point in favor of sitting down and eating slowly.
You’re way less likely to over-indulge and end up being all “OMG why did I eat so much??”
No one likes that food baby feeling.
So if you’re someone who stands to eat, I’m gonna recommend you plop yourself down instead.
Habit #4: Cutting carbs
Carbs are not your enemy.
Oooh, those keto lovers are mad at me RN. 🙊
If you think cutting out carbs is the key to your diet, you’re dead wrong.
You ask any nutritionist or dietician… they’ll tell you carbs are important. It’s about choosing the right ones.
There are certain carbs that should be eliminated. Highly processed ones like white flour and white sugar. These guys should be kicked to the curb, wherever possible.
Which is super hard because they’re in so many things – especially if you grab off-the-shelf food items.
In terms of carbs… you’ll want to include whole grains in your diet. These are healthy carbs. They’re awesome for gut health, loaded with that amazing fiber we love so much, and lots of other holistic goodness – because they’re natural.
Here’s a list of some “good” carbs for ya:
Oats and oatmeal.
Leafy green veggies.
But wait... there’s more! 🤣
I’m gonna let you in on ONE MORE bonus secret…
And it’s about HOW you shop for groceries.
Yeah, we all know the saying about “don’t shop when you’re hungry”...
And that’s TOTALLY true.
But if you stick to the PERIMETER of the store, you’re gonna find way healthier options.
This is true of basically any grocery store chain. Even the healthy ones.
Think about where the layout of grocery stores… what’s along the edges?
Probably your healthy staples, right?
The produce section… refrigerated section… generally items that are fresh.
And what’s in the middle of the store? All the pre-packaged items. This is the danger zone, my friends!
Whenever I go into a new grocery store, I like to play this little game in my head…
You know, like a totally normal, sane person. 🤪
I look to see if my theory about shopping the perimeter is true.
And most of the time, it is.
But every once in a while, they get fancy with their layout and throw refrigerated items in the middle of the store. Or put fast food options along the edges.
The Grocery Store Challenge
The next time you go grocery shopping, see if you notice this too.
I’ve asked everyone to note if their grocery store has all the processed, packed foods in the middle… and all the fresh, healthier options along the edges.
And to note where most of the items on their shopping list live.
It’s gonna be fascinating to see if this holds up all over the world.
And if you wanna get in on this… you’ve gotta join me inside Habit Hackers.
This is a private, members-only community where we talk about making healthy shifts for people with super-full lives.
Which means if you’re an entrepreneur… I’m talkin’ to you!
I know telling you to overhaul your life just isn’t a legit option.
That’s why I share small, incremental changes to make habits that really work… and actually stick.
Even when you’re crazy busy.
I totally, totally get it.
And so does everyone inside Habit Hackers.
I’ll see ya online.