Mixed Messages

I hear a lot of complaints about all the mixed messages in health reporting. A friend recently asked me in exasperation, “but how do I know what’s right? I read a fitness magazine yesterday and it contradicted itself in every article!” To make matters more difficult, scientists are constantly making new discoveries. Suddenly, the thing that you think is good for you is really bad for you. How can we keep up with all this?

Sometimes, I think there’s a conspiracy in the media, to keep us all fat and unhappy.

I’m kidding! I don’t think there’s a real conspiracy, but I do think the media does a good job of keeping us fat and unhappy because they have to sell us their products and programs. The best way to sell to us is to make us feel inadequate. Most headlines are designed specifically to make you feel insecure about your appearance or even make you believe you’ll die or your health will suffer.

The things that will really take care of what makes you feel inadequate–proper diet and exercise, sleep, stress management–will not sell copies of books or get enough shares on social media. Even the headlines for the good advice have to be sensationalized. And what’s the best way to sensationalize? Make you fearful and insecure!

Since there is not one plan that works for everyone, we each have to take the time to determine what is important to us. We each need to take the time to establish what our personal goals are, and how we can fit the right habits into our lives to help us reach those goals.

So few people actually do this. Most of us just try to cram other routines and tricks into our lives with the intention of “getting healthier”. Without a good grasp on our own goals and our own habits, we will succumb to whatever shiny message about getting lean and looking hot quick instead of building the habits to help us get what we really want.

I used to feel bitter about all these mixed messages in the media, and I stayed out of shape for years as a result. It took a lot of conscious effort, but now I am impervious to the sensational headlines! I took the time to determine what MY health goals are, and learned to be comfortable sticking with a routine that I know will work for me, even if a headline with a picture of a hot body tries to lead me astray.

What types of mixed messages do you receive? Are they hindering your progress?

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