5 (Definitely Unhealthy) Things I Did When I Tried To Be Healthy

At one point in my life, I was a Twinkie away from weighing 300 pounds. It wasn't a good look for me, and it certainly didn't do my organs and arteries any favors. I knew it was time to make a change.

On my journey to wellness, I did a lot of things that at the time, I thought would benefit me. However, in retrospect, I've realized that so much of what I considered "healthy" was actually sabotaging my health. We don't automatically lose our good health just because we get old; rather, we give it away with our actions now.

As a holistic health coach, it's easy for me to look back and scold my younger self for what I did wrong in the pursuit of wellness. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes before it's too late!

1. I believed that if I worked out, I could eat whatever I wanted.

I started doing yoga religiously when I lived in Los Angeles. It was calming and I started to notice muscles developing in my back and arms. It was awesome. What wasn't awesome? Getting in my car with my post-yoga glow and feeling "namaste" all the way to the drive-thru.

It didn’t occur to me that burning 200 calories from Downward Facing Dog and then eating 2,000 was bad math, so I felt pretty good about myself as I drove to my Hollywood apartment glistening with sweat from class and ketchup filled with high fructose corn syrup dribbling down my chin.

These days, I box, kickbox, play in a roller derby recreation league, run and take barre classes. I've figured out the right way to fuel my body. After a workout, I make sure to get some protein (usually a handful of almonds) and I rehydrate with coconut water.

2. I refused to eat apples or other produce if I was wearing lipstick. (Seriously.)

My makeup was more important than getting my daily nutrients. And, since I was almost always wearing lipstick (even when I slept!), this meant that fruits and vegetables took a back seat.

Luckily, I've seen the light since those foolish days of trying to mimic the glamorous women of Dallas and Falcon Crest. I cleanse my face of all its “war paint” before bed and moisturize. And even when I’m wearing bright red lipstick, I'll bite into an apple without a second thought because — guess what? — you can reapply makeup if necessary.

3. I got my vegetables from greasy Chinese food.

If you asked me in college if I ate vegetables, I'd say “sure, all the time!” But I was counting the slice of tomato and shred of lettuce that came on my sandwiches, or the soggy broccoli that accompanied my weekly General Tso's chicken.

Now, I see the error of my ways. Today I eat a mostly plant-based diet, and eating roughly 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day reminds me how much I enjoy fresh produce.

4. I let my hair dictate if I worked out and how hard.

Like many African-American women, my hair is a trial some days. When I had a relaxer, I didn’t want to “sweat it out,” so I only exercised when I had braids. And since I only had braids on vacation ... that meant I didn’t work out much at all. When I did commit to working out, I'd stop as soon as my scalp started to perspire.

Now that I wear my hair natural but straightened with a flat iron, I still don’t want to sweat it out, but the difference is I don’t care as much. I feel I've had a disappointing workout if I’m not out of breath and dripping sweat. Feeling good from an awesome sweat session is more important to me than having straight hair.

5. I allowed myself unlimited portions of healthy food.

I remember being so incredibly proud of myself when I gave up cheap meals at fast-food restaurants so I could cook for myself. Except instead of sticking to normal portions, I'd eat giant bowlfuls at one sitting.

A box of pasta would only last me two days. My salads were — a supposedly healthy alternative — were loaded with cheese, nitrate-laced chicken, croutons, sugary dried fruit and drowned in store-bought dressing. I also lived on granola bars as snacks instead of going to my favorite cupcake spots.

My intentions were good, but I felt these were all free foods since they were “healthier” than my previous Standard American Diet (SAD), so I never concerned myself with portion sizes.

I've made all the mistakes people make when they’re trying to change their habits, so today I make conscious choices to keep my health so my golden years are spent being golden … not lining a doctor’s pockets with all of my ailments.

Want to know if you should you go Keto? Paleo? Deciding what to eat to feel your best shouldn’t be complicated. We’ve removed the guesswork to give you all the best nutrition tips & tools, all in one place. Ready to kickstart your health journey? We’re here to guide you.

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