My first senior year of college (yup, it took me 4.5 years to graduate, don’t judge), I made the decision to go to grad school for public health.
I got this idea in my head that if I was going to be a health educator, I better walk the walk. Being the all or nothing person I am, I decided I’d only make healthy decisions from now on.
I was never unhealthy. I was the girl who prided herself on never touching a cigarette and flossing each day. But as a health educator, I was going to be a role model, so I needed to be even healthier.
- I stopped drinking alcohol.
- I stopped drinking soda.
- I drove exactly the speed limit.
- I limited my TV watching.
- I slathered myself in spf 50 daily.
- I became a germophobe. I heart hand sanitizer.
- I was in bed by 10 pm every night.
- I warmed up and cooled down before and after every run. I have no clue why I decided a 5 minute walk at the beginning and end of every run was “healthy”.
- I baked all of my own “sweets”. I was really into fat-free and sugar-free baking for awhile. Don’t try it. Your tastebuds will hate you.
I was basically a huge nerd for a year or so. It was ridiculous. I’d get embarrassed if anyone noticed my tan lines or saw me eating a lollipop. I honestly thought people wouldn’t take me seriously if they saw me doing something “unhealthy”.
Then one day, I bit into the yummiest cake ever and all of my obsessive healthy behaviors went out the window.
Some of my crazy behaviors did stick; I rarely ever drink alcohol, I keep my skin nice and pasty, and I’ve only become more of a germophobe. But for the most part, I’ve embraced moderation.
But there still are some things I do that I’m embarrassed to admit. Especially now that I’m intertwined in the health blogger world, I know that few people engage in (or admit to?) these unhealthy little habits.
1. I drink diet soda. Yup, artificial sweeteners, ingredients I cannot pronounce, and all. I know soft drinks are unhealthy for a ton of reasons, yet I still drink them. I do limit my consumption to weekends only so they seem like a treat.
2. I eat fast food. Specifically, Chick-fil-a. When I was 17, I gave up fast food for Lent and never wanted it again. After grad school, I moved to Atlanta and all of my coworkers loved Chick-fil-a. I never had it before, but I was hooked after one milkshake. I only eat it on car trips now, but I do purposely seek it out on those blue interstate travel signs.
3. I watch a lot of TV. Gossip Girl, 90210, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Desperate Housewives, Jersey Shore. Practically one TV show for every night of the week. And I really look forward to plopping my butt on the couch each night and watching my shows.
What pains me about my unhealthy secrets is that each behavior is a vital player in the childhood the obesity epidemic. I don’t want to promote these behaviors. The only reason I’m admitting to them is because I also spend a lot of time exercising and eating well. I’ve just learned that I’m cool with being the kind of health educator who advocates for a balanced lifestyle.
After all, who’s going to respect someone who sticks to fat-free and sugar-free baked goods? Certainly not I.
Do you have any “unhealthy” habits? Come on, fess up :)