They say that the best way to make a difference in your health status is through taking big leaps and making big changes in your diet and exercise routine. That’s why a lot of people have bought gym memberships and have paid thousands of dollars for unique, customized diets that are pattered to fit their body type.
But despite these efforts, many fall short of expectations and find themselves weighing in the same every time. Wonder why?
The reason might be simpler than you think.
The fact is, you don’t need to make big changes to your lifestyle just to get fitter and healthier – the devil is actually in the details. All those little habits you have might seem unimportant can come together to become very big, unhealthy practices that accumulate and worsen over time.
Ultimately, there are five major unhealthy habits that – when stopped – can bring about major changes to your life for the better.
- Unlimited Snacking – According to recent surveys, snacking is one of the world’s favorite pass times, hungry or not. Many of us are g uilty of enjoying a bag of chips or a donut here or there whenever we’re preoccupied with work, play, or recreation. Of course, up close, this habit might not seem like too big of a deal.
But when you snack constantly, every time your hands are freed from what you’re doing, even when your stomach isn’t asking for it, you’ve pretty much developed an unhealthy habit. The best way to segue this unhealthy habit is by re-introducing yourself to hunger. Determine first if you’re hungry before you take a bite of that pizza – this will help you cut back on unwanted calories that do no good for your system.
- Staying Up Late – “Just one last episode!” you whisper to yourself the fifth time as you load the sixth episode tonight. Yes, watching movies and TV shows late into the night can be very enjoyable (especially when you’ve got a bag of chips and some hot chocolate to keep you company) but staying up way beyond your elementary bed-time can be working against your health.
Studies have shown that sleep is an important process that doesn’t only rest your tired body but also repairs any damage caused by stress that you might have experienced throughout the day. When you deprive your body of sleep, or when you keep yourself up longer than you should, you effectively hinder your cells from getting the repair they need. What’s more, night time movie marathons make it much easier to snack unnecessarily, which has been identified as another unhealthy habit you should break.
- Skipping Breakfast – Well, after you had spent the previous night sobbing to your favorite TV show, you find yourself waking up to the sound of your alarm clock. It’s 8:30 AM already?! It’s not like you’re not used to being late anyway. Right before you dash through the door with your shirt inappropriately buttoned, you grab a cup of coffee and make your way to the bus stop just in time. Forget breakfast, you’ll just have lunch early! Right?
Yes, of course it seems convenient to skip breakfast so you can keep going on with your night time marathons, but studies indicate that overlooking the morning meal might be doing you more harm than you’ve come to accept.
Breakfast is important because it gives us the necessary fuel and energy to start our day. So when you skip it, you deprive your body of the nutrition it needs to properly function. By the time lunch time comes rolling around the corner, you’re probably already running close to empty. What’s more, eating a healthy breakfast will set the tone for your metabolism which is basically the rate at which your body burns calories.
Eat breakfast and your body will feel confident to burn calories knowing that you have healthy, regular food intake. But deprive your body of nutrition, and it’s forced to store calories to save for later so you have something to use for energy when the time comes that you start to sputter.
- Spending Hours on Your Smart Phone – Really, who doesn’t do this? Smartphones have become an essential piece of technology for all people, young and old, thanks to the unparalleled convenience that they provide. Even if you get tired of that old game you have installed, getting a new one is a cinch thanks to the millions of apps available for download. Not in the mood for playing?
Switch to social media to see what those around you are up to. There are over a hundred different things you can do on a smartphone, and that’s why it’s so easy to get hooked. Many fall into what some like to call “smartphone paralysis” which is characterized by endless hours of smarthphone use without getting up to stand or move, unless of course you’re off to grab a snack from the kitchen.
Spending hours on a smartphone can prove to be very counterproductive, as studies have shown that staying motionless and sedentary can lead to health issues in the future.
- Overthinking – You probably didn’t assume that this common unhealthy habit would make the list, but you’d be surprised just how bad overthinking can be for your health. When you worry and stress out too much over a problem or impending issue, you inadvertently increase your anxiety levels. And this has been proven to cause negative effects on heart health and brain health when done in excess.
Yes, it’s perfectly normal to think about problems, but a negative outlook shouldn’t be your point of view. Instead, look at things from a constructive vantage point – yes the problem exists, but what can you do to resolve it? This way, you become calmer knowing that there’s something that can be done to eliminate the threat.
A healthy life doesn’t rely on your exercise routine or strict diet – sometimes, it’s all about the little things. Bad habits die hard, they say, but if you start today, that happier healthier future will be just one day closer than it was before.