By Dr. Janet Brill
Ah, bad habits. Everyone has them, and they’re lying to themselves if they say they don’t. The thing is, some of our bad habits are not only annoying and/or costly, but can actually have detrimental effects on our health. Once you really take a close look at how you’re living your life and what effects the choices you make have, it becomes clear that certain changes need to be made.
The trick to cutting bad habits out of your life is to find a method that you can truly stick to, even if it takes a long time to achieve your desired results. It may be a long road toward tackling some of these, but taking the time is more than worthwhile. After all, this is your health–your life–we’re talking about here!
1. Non-Stop Snacking
Non-stop snacking (even when you aren’t actually hungry) is a compulsive habit that many people throughout the world share, and it really does hit people of all walks of life. When you compulsively snack, though, your body has an exceptionally difficult time reminding you of when you’re actually hungry, which can throw off your diet and metabolism. Try to be mindful of your level of hunger and stop eating before you get full. If you must snack, replace the potato chips with healthy foods like fruits and nuts.
2. Watching Too Much Television
Watching too much television is not only a veritable waste of time, it encourages a lack of exercise and perhaps influence one’s chances of becoming overweight. Instead, take the time you might use to watch TV and spend it cleaning your home or taking care of something that has been waiting for your attention – you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish without the drone of the television keeping you back.
It’s difficult to think of a single habit that is more detrimental than smoking tobacco. Smoking is a major cause of death the world over. Find alternatives to the way you consume nicotine by switching from traditional cigarettes to electronic cigarettes. This way, you can still enjoy smoking without submitting your body to the damages caused by tar and carcinogens.
4. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
People are often excited to find out that alcohol can actually be healthy when consumed in moderation. Excessive drinking, however, is taxing on both the heart and the liver, not to mention the effects it can have on mood and the brain. If you drink a bit more than you think you should, try to cut down to a maximum of 1-2 drinks per day. Remember that alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous, and those who feel as if they might be at risk of complications when quitting or cutting down should always speak with their doctor or an addiction specialist before making any changes.
5. Eating Fast Food
Fast food may seem like the perfect ally for those who live a busy lifestyle, but it’s one of the more destructive forms of nutrition (or lack thereof) one can embrace. Loaded with sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol, fast food causes a wide range of health problems when eaten regularly, including diabetes, obesity and liver problems.
It’s best to cut fast food off as soon as possible, but like anything else, it can be an addiction and remedying this issue might take time. Regardless, the next time you pull up to a drive-thru, think hard about what this type of food may be doing to your body. If you want to reduce cholesterol and bring blood pressure down, stay away from fast food as much as possible. Instead, cook heart healthy foods at home using fresh vegetables and fruits.
Old habits may die hard, but make the right changes in your life and you could find yourself a much happier, healthier person.