Every one of us have a bad habit or two. Maybe even more. But there are several bad habits that can wreak havoc on your health and fitness, thereby affecting your life in a detrimental way. Bad habits can be hard to break, especially if it is something you’ve been doing for a lifetime. Below you will find ten habits that could potentially ruin your life and advice on how to break them.
1. Snacking Non-Stop – Even When You’re Not Hungry
Comfort eating. Stress eating. Whatever the cause, eating when you’re not hungry or snacking non-stop can be a serious bad habit. Why? It can cause you to lose touch with your body’s natural hunger and satisfaction signals and this can pack on the pounds – leading to heart disease and diabetes. How can you break the habit – wait until you’re truly hungry to eat. If you -think- you’re hungry, try drinking water – you might just be thirsty. Stop eating before you feel stuffed – just before you feel full and wait a few minutes. You’ll eat less this way and that can translate to weight loss.
2. Eating Too Much Junk Food and Skipping Breakfast
This ties in closely with number one. Not only can you lose track of natural feelings of hunger and fullness, if you’re snacking primarily on processed and junk foods, you’re filling your body with unhealthy ingredients. Switching to healthy snacks and meals can cut calories, get your body the nutrients it needs, and this can translate to feeling better and dropping weight.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. It fuels your body and gets it ready to take on the day ahead. Skipping it can cause serious issues with your blood sugar levels and actually slow down your metabolism. Even if you just nosh on a piece of whole wheat toast or bran flakes it signals to your body to kick your metabolism into gear. Break the habit by listening to your body. Not hungry when you first get up? Wait an hour or two and then eat. Another tip is to eat what you like. Not a fan of breakfast food? Eat a sandwich.
3. Spending Too Much Time Watching TV
Sure, we all have our must-watch shows or have gone on a Netflix binge. The more time you spend in front of the TV, however, leaves less time for exercise. TV time instead of engaging in hobbies or exercising your brain can also speed up memory loss. Break the habit by setting a limit on your TV time – no more than 2 hours a day. Also, aim for 30 minutes of exercise. You can also limit TV time by only turning on the television when you have something specific you want to watch.
4. Smoking Cigarettes
The statistics don’t lie. Smoking is the cause of 30% of heart disease deaths and nearly a third of all cancer deaths. It is also responsible for 80-90% of all lung cancers. Quitting smoking is also one of the hardest habits to break due to the addiction strength of nicotine. While some people can just quit cold-turkey, others need help. Consider switching to vaping. Studies indicate that vaping may be healthier than cigarettes – there are none of the carcinogens associated with smoking cigarettes. Vape juice, also known as e-juice comes in many tasty flavors and nicotine levels. Start with the one best suited for your smoking habit and gradually decrease until you can completely say goodbye to the habit.
5. Abusing or Overusing Painkillers
Over time, medications like ibuprofen and aspirin can increase your risk of developing ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Prescribed painkillers like Vicodin or Oxycodone, if taken incorrectly can develop into a habit that can damage your liver. Break the painkiller dependency by taking medications only as they are prescribed. You can also look into alternative therapies such as acupressure or other herbal remedies. If you live in a medical marijuana state, talk to your doctor about your symptoms and how medical marijuana might be able to help you.
6. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol can turn into a poison if you overdrink too often. Women who consume more than 2 drinks per day and men who down more than 3 drinks per day increase their risks of certain cancers, high blood pressure, depression, and of course, liver damage. Curb the habit by limiting yourself to one drink per day if you are female and two drinks per day if you are male. If you’re having issues quitting drinking or cutting down – contact your doctor or reach out to friends or family members for help and support.
7. Getting Too Many Sunburns
The commitment to maintaining that sun-bronzed skin may look great.. but there’s a drawback. It also begins to prematurely age your skin. It destroys the fibers that keep skin elastic and looking great. More importantly, just a few sunburns can increase your chances of skin cancer. Break the habit by making a habit of applying sunscreen. Use a high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. You can get that bronzed look with self-tanners without the cancer risk.
8. Skimping On Sleep
Consistently getting by on just a few hours sleep can really affect your mood, concentration, and even your immune system. Loss of sleep can affect your body’s ability to fight off germs and pathogens. It can also lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which can trigger stress eating and cause weight gain. Break the habit by getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
9. Not Exercising
Not exercising can be nearly as bad as not smoking. Experts are in agreement: an inactivity epidemic is worse than the obesity epidemic. Exercise is a natural inflammation fighter and one of the largest killers, heart disease, is associated with inflammation. Exercise also boosts mood and helps fight depression. Break the habit by scheduling time to at least go for a 30-45 minute walk daily. Incorporate strength training into your TV time by doing dumbbell curls while you sit and watch. It will help burn calories and help you lose weight.
These ten things could sabotage your efforts to lose weight and live a healthy life. Bad habits are hard to break, but by tackling them one at a time and overcoming them, you can be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.