I call bullshit on 6 wildly popular healthy living claims

We’re always making these wild assertions on our blogs, aren’t we?

This works for me, so it must be true for everyone…I conducted an experiment with myself as the control group and myself and the test group and have come to the following hypothesis…I was having drinks with my friends the other night and we all agree…

Instead of saying, “hey, looks like I lucked out THIS ONE TIME,” it seems we feel compelled to make these broad, vague – and life-altering – generalizations about food, workouts and the rest of humanity, based on little or no supporting evidence.

This needs to stop.

So today, in honor of all you people, here are some of the most hysterical and overused claims I’ve come across:

1. Yoga makes me a better runner.

Cute, but you’re missing the point.

Yoga is what, really? It’s breathing, stretching and posing.

All runners know how important it is to breathe.

All runners know how to important it is to stretch, in order to relieve soreness and promote flexibility.

All runners know how important it is to have good posture, and to strengthen our muscles in order to reduce the pressure on our more fragile bones and joints.

But reiterating these points does not give us an excuse to post cute pictures of ourselves in our Lululemon yoga gear. Thus, YOGA is the only way to achieve running success.

Plus (and this might contradict what I just said but I don’t care), if it were that simple, I’d have seen some improvement by now. I’ve been doing yoga regularly for a couple of years and it hasn’t amounted to jack squat as far as pace OR mileage is concerned…

You know what has? Tacking on another day of running. Yep. RUNNING has made me a better runner. This year, I wiped more than a minute off my Drumstick Dash pace (4.5 mile), TWO minutes off my 5k pace and two minutes off my 15k pace. (Don’t get me wrong, I still suck at running. But I got better.)

2. Even the elites don’t run EVERY day.

Yeah, they sorta do. From Kara Goucher’s blog:

…I should clarify what I mean by “break”. I didn’t actually take any days off running. I ran 20 minutes the day after the race. But I didn’t run much for two weeks: only three to four miles a day for the first week and five to six miles a day in the second week. What I did get a break from was the grind of running twice a day, up to two and a half hours at a time, lifting weights, stretching, seeing my chiropractor, and the pressure of getting as fit as possible by a certain date.

3. This smoothie has everything my body needs.

Actually, Brawndo has everything your body needs.

Nah, but yeah. Unless you’re packing your smoothie with 700 calories and four bananas and a whole head of kale and23essentialvitaminsandnutrients, you’re not getting everything your body needs. And most of the smoothies I see are like, a pint glass with half a banana, a cup of spinach and some protein powder. MAYBE 300 calories. That’s not food, you guys. Eat a sandwich.

4. I’m healthier than you because I’m a vegetarian.

In the interest of diplomacy ($$$), vegetarians don’t often just come right out and say “I’M BETTER THAN YOU,” but they’re thinking it. We all know they’re thinking it.

It’s the way they are always certain to mention they had vegetarian lasagna. Or vegan cupcakes.

I don’t go out of my way to tell you I had a non-vegetarian pizza last night, so what’s the point of telling me your food has no meat in it, unless you think this is somehow more noble?

Guess what: we don’t care.

You can just as easily be an unhealthy vegetarian as an unhealthy meat-eater. Krispy Kremes and deep-fried butter balls do not have meat in them. That’s all I’m saying.

5. Organic food just tastes better to me.

It does not. And I dare you to take the Pepsi challenge:

6. I ran a marathon, therefore I AM SUPER HARD CORE.

Not really. Do you know how many people do marathons now? Like, everybody and their grandma.

Seriously, from 2000 to 2009, the number of marathon finishers in the U.S. increased by 169,000. And from 2008 to 2009, the number increased by 43,000! And basically, the more people who run, the less badass you are.

Yes, marathon finishers still represent less than 1% of the country. Blah, blah, blah. But only 9% of THOSE people ever ran a sub 3:30. And odds are, if you’re sitting on your ass reading this blog right now, you’re not one of them.

You'll never be a teen model, either.

Thoughts? What do YOU think is bullshit?

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35 thoughts on “I call bullshit on 6 wildly popular healthy living claims

  1. “I’m not on a diet.” This said from the person who has just given up sugar, fat, diary, and fast food. This drives me crazy, and I read it on blogs ALL. THE. TIME.

  2. I think it’s bullshit that people claim they eat the food they so carefully photograph. No you didn’t. You’ve admitted a history of “disordered eating” (somehow different from an eating disorder?) and now take 6 pictures of a green smoothie. Not much progress.

    I also think its bullshit that these women claim to be confident and self assured. No you’re not. If you need to write it on a post it, you’ve got issues. Someone’s got some lingering insecurites from an awkward adolescence, if you ask me.

    Good list. I’m sure there’s way more than six though.

    • Heh. Because any therapist would recommend compulsively photographing anything that goes into your mouth as a way of combating an eating disorder. And also the best way to quit smoking crack is TO SMOKE MORE CRACK.

  3. Yes, yes, yes. Except…I call bullshit on your vegetarian claim. And I do this for all the vegetarians who go about eating vegetarian because we do believe it’s ethically and nutritionally a better way to eat/live(run?). And we also don’t cram it down people’s throats. Consider us the Presbyterians of the non-meat eaters. I can tell you I’m eating pizza without indicating that it is vegetarian pizza in the same way I can tell you I am wearing a sports bra without clarifying it is a women’s sports bra. Anyway.

    I also call bullshit on the belief that your smoothie must spill over the lip of the cup to look delicious. You know what that looks like to me? A sticky mess. Learn how to pour.

    • Well, you can see how my entire argument – krispy kremes don’t have meat – might fall apart under intense scrutiny.

      I still think some vegetarians are smug bastards and have no basis for it. Not you, though. I like you. I LYK U ALOT!

      I’m not big on the whole look-how-gross-this-is-I-swear-its-really-good-though trend, either. Whatever happened to “presentation is everything”??

    • Obviously it’s impossible for me too. But I like to pluck arbitrary numbers out of the sky, and I also didn’t want any smug 4:00 finishers who happen across this blog to feel too great about themselves.

  4. I call bullshit on the bloggers who call themselves writers or experts on blogging when their blog content sucks. A food and workout diary with some usually bad pictures is not writing. It’s just a lame ass food diary. I also call bullshit on anyone who makes enchiladas with whole wheat flour tortillas. No no no. They must be made with corn (which, you know, is a whole grain so you can still be “healthy”). Plus, corn soaks up the actual chile much better. Also, owning a digital SLR and a fancy lens does not make you a photographer.

    • I agree to an extent – losing 20-30 pounds doesn’t make you an expert. I don’t know what the threshold is, but it’s certainly not jogging off the beer belly you gained in college.

      • Um, I’ve lost 60 and I don’t think it makes me an expert on anything except knowing how to gain that weight, keep it on so long, and pose to make me look 10-20 lbs thinner in photos.

        I think with 60 lbs lost, I could reasonably take on that expert title and some people would take my advice. I can show results. I wouldn’t feel right doing that because I’m a sample of one. All I know is what worked and did not work for me. That’s the reason I called BS on that.

  5. You’re like my idol.

    I call BS on the term “happy weight.” I hate it. To me that means, a weight that is in fast healthy (or even below it) but not my ideal-yet-unrealistic weight. As in, no amount of living off of green smoothies + yoga + running can get me to my ideal weight and so I’m stuck here and I might as well be happy about it.

  6. I love every single one of those and agree! It’s so inferiating especially the smug vegan/vegetarians. I was a vegetarian for 12 years and was obese. Now? I’m a 100 lighter and feel a million times healthier eating a big steak after a 40 mile bike ride. 🙂

  7. You should hear all of the 20 something year old hipster morons in my school. *hipster voice* OOOOOOOOO I DO NOT EAT MEAT. I ONLY BUY FROM THE FARMERS MARKET. I RUN BECAUSE I HAVE AN AMAZING BODY */hipstervoice* This rang so true, even for us non-runners and the bullshit we have to listen to everyday 😉
    Yet another reason why, my dear, you. rawk.

    And I’ll join you for the chicken wing and cookie dough binge any day 😉

  8. It is not so much posting the pictures in cute yoga gear so much as it is posting the pictures of them demonstrating the actual poses. Which, I might add, are shown incorrectly because they are not trained to demonstrate!

  9. “healthy living bloggers” who insist on taking pictures of their oatmeal/chia seed/tree bark. ON THE FLOOR. With their ridiculous useless ugly ass dog that we have seen like 9 million pictures of “sneaking” into the shot. Um, gross. Don’t put your food on the floor to take a fucking art shot with your SLR.. AND LET YOUR DOG GET ALL UP IN YOUR FOOD. (tangent: DO NOT call them “fur babies” for the love of god. Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs. And cats. But I’m pretty sure they did not spring from my loins, and will not grow up to make me proud and/or need therapy for my parenting skillz.)

  10. well dang. i certainly crave broccoli more than i crave either of those two disgusting items. and yes, there are smug vegetarians/vegans/stick+rock eaters. but there are EQUALLY smug meat eaters.

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