Unhealthy habits – we all have them. We often just don’t realize that what we’ve become so used to doing is actually detrimental to our well-being. From obvious bad habits like smoking and drinking too much to less evident ones such as forgetting to floss and distracted eating, here are nine things to stop doing to yourself today.
9 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself to Start Living Healthy Today1. Smoking
This one’s a no-brainer, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s the first thing on our list. While everyone already knows that smoking is bad for you, we’ll say it again, especially for those who have yet to give up this harmful habit.
The leading preventable cause of death worldwide, smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, and stroke. It also increases the risk of mental decline and blindness. Yikes.
Of course, quitting smoking will reduce your risk of those diseases. In addition, you’ll experience more energy and you’ll be able to breathe more deeply, and you’ll feel the difference in as little as two to four weeks after quitting.
2. Not Sleeping Enough
Being constantly sleep deprived has negative consequences on your health. If you’re not getting sufficient shut-eye, you’re at risk for various health problems, including heart failure, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
Studies have also shown the link between lack of sleep and weight gain, mood disorders, and lower life expectancy. Sleep deprivation leads to bad skin and poor memory as well, and who wants that, right?
So the next time you’re tempted to stay up late just so you can watch a couple more episodes of your favorite show, go get some Z’s instead. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason.
3. Distracted Eating
Eating while you are working, watching TV, or looking at your smartphone is a modern-day malady that we are all too familiar with. If you’re not guilty of this yourself, surely you know someone who is.
A report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that distracted eaters tend to consume more. This is because aside from hunger, attention and memory influences how much we eat.
So if you’re not paying attention to your food, you don’t remember what you’ve put in your mouth and you will be more likely to eat more at that meal or munch again later on. Watch your weight by slowing down and watching what you eat.
4. Eating Too Much Sugar
The average American consumes about 32 teaspoons of the sweet stuff per day. That’s a lot, considering the World Health Organization’s recommended intake is only about 6 teaspoons per day.
So how exactly is sugar, which makes a lot of our favorite food and drinks taste better, bad for you? Well, excess sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, liver failure, and kidney disease, among others.
Sugar is also addicting! Like drugs, it triggers the release of feel-good chemicals dopamine and opioids, causing people to need more of it. And that’s not sweet at all.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
The European Food Safety Authority recommends a daily water intake of 2 liters for women and 2.5 liters for men. About 70-80 percent of this should come from drinks, while only 20-30 percent should come from food.
Unfortunately, a lot of people are chronically dehydrated. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headaches, constipation, dizziness, and dry skin.
Because the human body is mostly made up of water, it is important to make sure that we’re replenishing ourselves with enough H2O. So, drink up!
6. Being Sedentary
You may have heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking,” indicating the negative impact a sedentary lifestyle has on your health. Frequent sitting shortens your lifespan because it puts you at a greater risk of developing cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression.
Meanwhile, regular exercise provides a host of immediate and long-term benefits such as better muscular strength, increased flexibility, lower blood pressure, better mental health, and a stronger immune system.
So whenever you feel like going into couch potato mode, remember that the human body was designed to move. Think about it. Who doesn’t feel better after exercising?
7. Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Some say that a glass of red wine every now and then is good for the heart. But too much of anything is bad for you.
Heavy drinking comes with several drawbacks, including increased risk of injuries and health problems such as sleep disorders, depression, liver disease, and stroke. Drinking too much too quickly can also lead to alcohol poisoning, which impairs the body and can affect your breathing, heart rate, and temperature.
8. Not Flossing
Are you one of those people who think that brushing your teeth twice a day is enough? Flossing isn’t just for when you have food stuck between your teeth. It actually plays a big role in your dental health, which is why your dentist recommends it.
Did you know that each tooth has five surfaces, and floss is the only thing that can clean at least two of those surfaces, i.e., the spaces between the teeth? When you floss, you get rid of plaque, which can cause cavities and gum disease.
Brushing and flossing are more effective than just brushing and can even save you money by decreasing your trips to the dentist.
9. Not Putting On Sunscreen
Sunscreen protects you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, preventing sunburn and lowering your risk of getting skin cancer. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen whenever you are outside, regardless of weather condition. UV rays can penetrate your skin even on cloudy days, and water, snow, and sand actually reflect those rays, making them more intense.
Moreover, skin that has been repeatedly damaged by the sun becomes wrinkled, discolored, dry, and weaker. So remember to make wearing sunscreen a part of your daily regimen – apply it 15 minutes before heading outside and reapply approximately every 2 hours.
Your turn: Your body is an incredible, complex machine that lets you do amazing things. Take good care of it as you’ve only got one.
Tell us, which items in our list are you currently doing but would like to let go of? Pick one or two things to stop doing so you don’t get overwhelmed and build a healthier you from there.