Food & Nutrition

10 Unhealthy Habits That Are Worse for You Than You Thought

It’s not too late to reverse your worst habits (stopping smoking, drinking, over-eating, and more) and immediately start living a happier, healthier life.

Snacking when you’re not hungry

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Losing touch with your body’s natural hunger and satisfaction signals can lead to chronic overeating and unhealthy extra pounds—which increases your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions. And if it’s junk foods you snack on, you’re also flooding your body with unhealthy ingredients. By paying attention to your hunger signals and switching to healthy snacks, you can boost nutrition, control cravings, and avoid energy slumps. Your weight will fall to a healthier level, and you’ll replace unhealthy trans and saturated fat, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and extra sodium with more nutritious fare.

How to fix it: Eat because you’re hungry—not because you’re stressed, bored, angry, or sad. And finish eating when you feel just a little bit full, not stuffed. Avoid keeping unhealthy food in your home, or at least make sure you have more healthy foods, like fresh fruits, veggies, nuts. Think low-fat versus fatty treats; whole-grain versus unhealthy carbs. And when you eat those healthy snacks, eat them as if they were a meal: on a plate, accompanied by a glass of water, with you sitting down at the table.

Spending too much time on the couch watching TV

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The more TV you watch, the less physical activity you’re getting, increasing your odds of being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. If television is replacing time you’d otherwise be spending engaged in a favorite hobby, visiting with friends, or exercising your mind, you may also be speeding up memory loss. By committing to a healthy TV/activity balance, you can burn more calories, become more fit, and reduce your odds for related health problems quickly. You’ll have a fitter body and more time for sleep, plus more energy, a better mood, sharper mind, and more social connections.

How to fix it: Try to keep your TV time to a minimum of two hours a day, and make sure you’re getting at least 30 minutes of exercise. Get the best of both worlds by doing some light workouts, like walking in place or doing sit-ups, while you’re watching. Even doing some household chores, like vacuuming or doing laundry, during the commercials can add up to 20 minutes’ worth of calorie-burning time. Avoid snacking in front of the TV, which makes it far too easy to eat hundreds of calories’ worth of chips and barely realize it. These are some more reasons why binge-watching TV is unhealthy for you.

Overspending your way into debt

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Money worries can have serious health consequences. In a Rutgers University telephone survey, responders said financial stress contributed to high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, headaches, digestion troubles, aches and pains, ulcers, excessive eating and drinking, and gaining or losing weight. Regaining a hold on your finances takes time, can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, and requires you to be constantly vigilant, plus it’s all too easy to revert back to your old habits. But for those who succeed, and many do, the results are nothing short of amazing. You’ll feel more in control of your life with less stress and fewer worries.

How to fix it: There are many things you can do to gain control over your finances. Educate yourself on the basic rules and methods of personal finance—including credit cards, mortgages, budgeting, and investing. Create and keep a budget, keeping track of how much money is coming in every month and how much you’re spending on essentials. Pay at least the minimum each month on your bills, to stay ahead of your expenses and prioritize paying more to the credit card with the highest interest rate. Automatic bill pay can ensure you’re never hit with late fees. A to be sure some of your paycheck gets automatically transferred to your savings account, set up recurrent monthly transfers via your employer’s payroll department or your own online banking. For more money-saving tips, these habits of people who are great at saving money are a great way to get started.

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