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Setting out on a health challenge? Here are 5 red flags to avoid

Before you start a health challenge, check these red flags.

Every January as the newness settles in, many women enthusiastically dive into health challenges, from shedding a few pounds to amping up workout routines. It’s all about setting those positive intentions for the year ahead.

Studio 5 Health Contributor Miki Eberhardt shares advice if you are taking on a health challenge this year.

Find more advice from Miki on Instagram, @nutritionbymiki.

 

Red Flags to Look for in a Health Challenge

Health challenges can be like a double-edged sword. On one side, they promise a path to better health, but on the other, there are pitfalls we need to watch out for.

The Allure of Health Challenges

Miki acknowledges the appeal of any step towards better health. We all believe that moving more or cutting back on sugar is a win. But Miki throws up a cautionary flag. While it might seem like these challenges are the perfect springboard to launch into a healthier year, there’s a need for a bit of caution and awareness. It’s not always smooth sailing.

Red Flags

Miki shares five red flags to look for to ensure your health challenges are more helping than hurting.

1. Be Cautious of Everyday Workouts. Miki warns against challenges demanding a workout every single day. She uses the example of the 75 Hard challenge, emphasizing the importance of rest and listening to our bodies.

2. Progress Photos and Measurements. She urges us to reconsider the constant documentation of our progress through photos. The focus on visual changes can sometimes lead to hypercritical self-analysis instead of appreciating overall health improvements.

3. Challenges Requiring Specific Supplements. Miki advises against challenges pushing a one-size-fits-all supplement regime. Food should be the primary source of nutrients, with supplements as a safety net, not a mandate.

4. Challenges Cutting Out Entire Food Groups. Miki raises a flag against challenges that enforce extreme restrictions, as they often result in binge-eating once the challenge concludes. Sustainable, balanced changes are key.

5. Challenges with an All-or-Nothing Mentality. Miki highlights the importance of the language used in challenges. Rigid rhetoric like “no pain, no gain” can sometimes lead to an unhealthy mindset. Striking a balance between prioritizing health and listening to our bodies is crucial.

Building a Foundation: Miki’s New Year Challenge

Miki introduces her own challenge—a unique, progressive approach. It’s like building a house from the ground up. You don’t start by putting a cute couch on a pile of dirt, right? We need a foundation. So, pick one habit from each area—mental, physical, and spiritual health—and stick with them for two weeks. Then, gradually add more. It’s about building a sturdy foundation for long-lasting habits.

A Healthier, Balanced 2024

As we set sail into 2024, Miki’s advice encourages us to approach health challenges with mindfulness. Let’s ensure our journey towards a healthier self is filled with positive changes, sustainable habits, and, most importantly, self-love.

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