Integrative Nutrition Blog

Notes from the Founder: Why “Being Bad” is Good for Your Health

March 13, 2015

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When I started Integrative Nutrition, I was just one person who felt that if I could improve what people eat, I would play a role in making the world a healthier place. We are facing a global health crisis, and the standard diet of processed, chemicalized food is making people sick. If we want to be healthy, we need to eat nutritious foods. It’s pretty simple.

But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re already a health-conscious person who drinks smoothies instead of soda and eats kale instead of KFC. The issue for you likely isn’t over-consuming foods that can lead to health problems – it’s discovering the joy and freedom of sometimes throwing away the rules.

We live in a society where many people suffer from what I call Superwoman and Superman Syndrome. Modern women frequently end up living chronically stressful lives as they struggle to balance all their options. They want to be successful at work, have a great marriage, beautiful children, a flat stomach, involve themselves in the arts, and maybe even run for office someday. Phew! Just thinking about it makes me feel tired. Men, too, face enormous pressure to be strong, to provide for their families, to be there for their wives or lovers, as well as have six-pack abs and be highly successful in their careers.

I am a great believer in encouraging people to slow down and overcome the pressure of being “perfect.” Many of us feel that “being good” – following a strict diet, succeeding at work, going to the gym – is what makes us worthwhile. We put pleasing others above pleasing ourselves. Learning to put yourself first and find your voice is priceless.

Over the next week, I invite you do something “bad.” When I say “bad,” I mean something you feel is irresponsible or something you shouldn’t do. Obviously, I’m not asking you to rob a bank or hurt another human being. Perhaps you’ll delete unread emails, play hooky from work, or tell someone what you really think. Start slowly. Gradually build your “being bad” muscles. Write down three things you can do this week to get started.

Examples:

  1. Leave early from work to get a massage.
  2. Order the expensive dessert at my favorite restaurant.
  3. Schedule a playdate for me instead of the kids.

The purpose of this exercise is to put you back in charge of your life. That way, you remain true to you. There’s nothing more health promoting than that. In the comments section below, I encourage you to share: what’s one “bad” thing you’ll do this week? I’d love to hear!

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