Conquer your unhealthy habits
Next time: Adding healthy habits to your daily life
Our health is, for the most part, in our hands. The choices we make each day will have an effect on our health. Here are a few examples of daily choices that, over a period of years, will eventually result in you becoming sick and unhealthy. Starting with the most obvious and then going into a few you may not think about.
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Not exercising
- Not drinking enough water
- Drinking soda regularly
- Eating too much sugar
- Eating too many prepared and processed foods
- Sun – too much or too little
- Using tanning beds
- Using chemical hair, skin and dental products
Our health is not just about our body, in fact our body can reflect issues we have mentally and spiritually. Its a proven fact that stress, for example, can cause actual physical illness. We have to maintain ourselves as a whole person, and only then will we be able to lead lives that are as happy, healthy and fulfilling as they can be.
Slowly swapping out bad habits for good ones will be a process. Take it in bite size chunks, one at a time. Give yourself a realistic time period to accomplish the swap out. Here are a few practical tips:
Smoking. If you smoke, that should be the first thing you work on. See below for the many health risks. Here is a good link if you are looking for ways to quit: http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/tipsforquitting/
Alcohol is not unhealthy in moderation, unless you have alcoholism in your family. It can be both a medicine and a poison depending on the dose. Moderate alcohol is known to be good for the heart and the circulatory system, while overconsumption is associated with inflammation and cirrhosis of the liver as well as several types of cancer. For more detail on the health benefits and risks of alcohol go to: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/
Lack of exercise. The most common excuse I hear from people is the lack of time to work out. Many of my clients meet with me specifically so they have accountability, and to ensure that they work out regularly. They know I’m going to check in with them to be sure they are getting more than just our workout in during the week. If a trainer is not possible for you, start by moving more, walking further, parking farther away from places. Take the stairs and not the elevator. Start small and increase gradually, keep a log so you can see the improvement. Check out my workout page for some easy ideas for working out at home.
Not drinking enough water. We each need about half our body weight in fluid oz of water daily. This is the best visual image of why
water is so important that I found. It’s an easy change to make, keep a bottle with you, replace consumption of a sugary drink with a refreshing glass of water.
Drinking Soda. Slowly replace soda with a healthier choice, could be herb tea with honey, or water with cucumber or lemon. Diet soda is not better as it contains harmful chemical sweeteners. Here is some further reading on why it’s so important to avoid soda: http://www.healthambition.com/what-is-in-soda-why-so-addictive
Overeating. Many people overeat on a daily basis. Treating food as an emotional comfort, or as a reward is part of the reason. We need to take the emotion out of eating, and see it as providing fuel and nutrition for our bodies. Try finding a different habit to comfort you when things don’t go as planned, or a different reward when things go well. This will be a big step in the right direction. Diets can provide a short term solution, but unless you change the way you eat long term, eventually when the diet ends you will resume old habits and gain the weight back again. Slowly purge your pantry of ‘trigger’ foods, those you can’t stop eating, and incorporate healthier choices. For more on this topic go to the ‘Change the way you eat’ page of this site.
Eating too much sugar This goes with the last one. If you can’t eat sugar in moderation, try to stay away from it. The only safe substitute sweetener that’s low calorie is Stevia which comes from a plant. Honey, maple syrup and molasses are marginally better nutritionally but still have lots of calories.
Eating too many prepared or processed foods Simple answer…. cook more. Try to carve out some time to prepare your food from scratch, see the recipes section of this site for some great ideas.
Sun – too much or too little Obviously one has to be careful about sun exposure, especially if you have fair skin. But too little sun can lead to a vitamin D deficiency which can lead to health issues such as osteoporosis. Many of the sunscreens out there contain harmful carcinogenic chemicals, so I make my own. See my beauty recipes page for some tips. Its best to avoid summer sun from 11am-2pm when it is the strongest, and to limit exposure.
Using tanning beds Cancer, premature aging, Immune suppression and eye damage to name but a few. For more information go to: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm186687.htm
Using chemical hair, skin and dental products This may be something you don’t consider when assessing your choices health wise. However, there are many harmful chemicals in the beauty products that we use daily. Try reading the ingredients and look them up. There are natural alternatives you can purchase or if you have the time and energy, you can make your own. See my ‘Home made beauty products’ page for some recipes.
Stress If you can identify stressful situations that currently exist in your life, then perhaps you can make a commitment to yourself to remove the stress. Studies prove that too much stress can make you physically ill if not dealt with. ie. either ‘let it go’ if it’s something you are just stressing over. Or perhaps its stress at work, in which case adopting a different mind set could work. For some practical tips on dealing with stress check out this link: http://www.livestrong.com/article/19198-natural-deal-anxiety/
Negativity Do you find yourself thinking the glass is half empty rather than half full? Negativity and a negative self image can really get in the way of your journey toward a healthier, happier life. Turning those negative thought processes around is imperative if you are going to be successful. I found this article interesting in strategies to deal with negativity, be it your own or those around you: http://top7business.com/?Top-7-Strategies-To-Overcome-Negative-Attitudes-In-The-Workplace&id=561