We all want to be healthier. But sometimes, even when putting forth our best efforts, we still don’t realize we’re actually doing things to hamper our health.
We’re about to make you realize those little habits that are actually hurting you more than helping you, and how to stop ‘em today and get healthier. Check out these top health saboteurs below.
Having an office job.
While most office workers can’t help where they work, they can help how they go about their day. Most of us sit all day, which can really be rough on our backs, our waistline, and energy levels. Prolonged sitting has even been shown to shorten your life, according to research. Try a standing desk if possible, or take mini breaks to go for walks, even if it’s just to the water cooler and back.
And eating there too.
Did you know when you eat lunch at your desk, you might eat more than usual? Working lunches don’t allow you to tune into when you’re actually full, so you continue eating. Deadlines are important, but if you can, try stepping away even just for 10 minutes to enjoy your food, and really focus on eating it. Then you can get back to work.
Not changing your sponge often enough.
Did you know the average kitchen sponge can hold 150 times more bacteria, mold and yeast than a toothbrush holder? Gross. Experts suggest replacing your sponge every two weeks or so. Microwaving a wet sponge for two minutes can also kill some germs.
Biting your nails.
We’re not trying to sound like a nagging mother, but do you know how many germs are on your hands? Here’s just one example: Pathogens such as E. coli were found in 76 percent of nail-biters compared to 26.5 percent who didn’t bite their nails, according to a study published in the journal Oral Microbiology and Immunology.
Buying “low fat.”
Many people, especially of the older generation, tend to think anything labeled “low fat” is healthy, but most of the time, it’s actually packed with chemicals and processed flour, sugar, and sodium. Always read the ingredients to make sure it’s not filled with yucky fillers!
Drinking the diet version of soda.
Like thinking “low fat”equals healthy and it doesn’t, diet does not equal healthy either. In fact, diet soda is sweetened with aspartame, a chemical sweetener that is known to cause many issues for lots of people, from headaches to mood changes and more. Don’t switch to regular soda, that’s just filled with sugar on sugar. Try water instead.
Working out early when you got to bed late.
The early bird gets the worm, right? There’s a lot of research that says working out in the morning sets you up for a good day, which is totally true, and we’ll always encourage that. But if you go to bed at 2 a.m. and get up at 6 a.m. for leg day, that’s doing the opposite of treating your body well. If you want to do AM workouts, make sure you’re getting between 7-8 hours of sleep to ensure a good, efficient workout.
Using plastic water bottles.
Drinking water is great and super important for health—but try to avoid drinking from plastic bottles. Most of them contain Bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical that’s been linked to obesity and other unpleasant effects. Instead, invest in a stainless steel water bottle, which you can refill and use forever.
Eating in a hurry.
Ever hear that it takes your brain 20 minutes to recognize that you’re full? It’s true! A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that those who took their time eating consumed fewer calories per meal – and even felt fuller – than those who chowed down like nobody’s business. We’re all guilty of eating too fast, but if we count each bite, or just take time to slow down between chews, we’ll be much better off.
Eating out of boredom.
Eating when you’re not actually hungry might be doing more damage than you think (especially since we usually snack on junk foods when we’re bored). It just leads to feeling lethargic and more puffy than usual, plus it can make you eat even more. Before reaching for a snack, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, or if you’re just eating it because you want something to do.
Allowing yourself to burn in the sun.
How many times do you purposely get a sunburn just so it’ll fade into a tan? Stop the madness! Besides the fact that excessive sun exposure can lead to early wrinkles, freckles, and discolorations, most importantly, it’s the number one cause of skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen, no matter what.
Eating super late at night.
Eating too close to bedtime can cause indigestion that can interfere with your sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, some mice studies suggest that eating late can have a negative impact on your weight.
Whether it’s because you don’t have time or you think it’ll help you lose weight, it’s always a disservice to skip your morning meal. Not only does it have negative impacts on your weight, energy levels, and blood sugar, it can make you more likely to overeat later in the day. Eating breakfast will help stabilize your blood sugar, making you less likely to overeat later— and it truly sets you up for a good day ahead!
Guilty of brushing but not flossing? Try to make time for both. Not flossing can cause a huge build-up of plaque, which can eventually cause gum disease. And very smelly breath.
Not drinking enough water.
Very few of us actually drink the recommended amount of water each day, which is about 13 cups per day for men and about nine for women, according to The Institute of Medicine. Staying hydrated has so many benefits—from keeping your memory and motivation sharp, to boosting your mood, and even keeping cravings at bay. Drink up!
Depriving yourself of clean sheets.
Each night you sleep on sheets, they get dirtier and dirtier. Fungi, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, soil, lint…the list goes on and on. Try to wash or change your sheets at least every two weeks for the best results.
Loading up on the salt.
Sodium is often an ignored factor on nutrition labels, but it shouldn’t be. Research shows us that on average, Americans eat about 1,000 mg more sodium each day than we should. And according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, if we cut that much out of our daily diets, we’d lower our risk of heart disease by up to 9 percent.
Are you guilty of any of these habits? Start kicking them today for a healthier you!