Don’t listen to the media.
Seriously, they don’t have your best interests at heart. They want to sell advertising, not good news. And, they sure don’t want you to like yourself or feel comfortable with the world around you. Because, after all, if you feel safe and happy, they don’t know how to sell you things. Do you think I’m lying? Then let me give you an example: health and fitness magazines.
I’ve known for years that my favorite health and fitness magazine, Men’s Health, has recycled headlines. (Gawker confirms this for me, by the way, so it’s not just my imagination!) And, I’ve noticed that they recycle those same headlines for Women’s Health, too, as confirmed by this comment left on that Gawker story:
“My boyfriend subscribes to Men’s Health; I have a subscription to Women’s Health. One month, I discovered that they had used the same exercise tips for both magazines (something regarding BEST ABS EVER!), but the men performed the exercises with weights, and the women didn’t.
I figured they always recycled stories and tips, but this is insane.”
The problem with that is that they’re all headlines meant to make you feel bad about how you look, eat, shop, or your sexual prowess. The sad thing is, the information in the magazines, at least Men’s Health, is often quite good and actually may not even have much to do with the recycled headlines that are used to sell the magazine! Of course, I tend not to follow the latest fad when it comes to health and exercise, and I certainly don’t follow 99% of their suggestions about dating and sex. I always figured if I ended up looking like the male models on the covers and in the stories, I’d be involved with crazy, high-strung models and actresses and then I’d follow their advice. Thankfully, that never happened and I married a sweet, down-to-earth woman.
But, I encourage you to ignore all the loony fad diets whether they’re the paleo-fantasy diet or some other extreme shift in how you eat, because, when you get past the hyped headlines, the real choice is to just eat more sensibly. My rule of thumb is to just eat twice as much plant-based food as animal-based food and to try and eat the least processed thing. Of course, I fail at that regularly, but I get a little better every day.
Also, check out the, oddly somewhat controversial, new suggestions from the government about health and eating at ChooseMyPlate. Brought to you by the same people who brought us the food pyramid, this is the new, better, way to eat healthier. It’s simple and sensible and not a bad way to go.
And, no matter what you do, do it because you want to be healthier, not because you want to fit some artificial and impossible standard of “fitness” or “beauty” that even the stars who are used to sell it can’t achieve without Photoshop.
Make this year the year you stay true to who you are and just be healthier!
UPDATE: Yahoo Health ran a story this morning, coincidentally, titled “I Tried 10 Diets in 50 Days“, that supports my thoughts on skipping the crash/fad diets and eating sensibly according to more standard guidelines endorsed by major health organizations and governments.