7 Health Habits Worse Than Fast Food
We all try to maintain a balanced diet and keep things healthy. However, every now and then we'll indulge in a bacon cheeseburger or an order of nachos. It's indulgent and delicious, no doubt. Yet afterwards, you feel rundown or low energy. Your unhealthy habits can have the same effect. There's a whole lot of other bad choices we're making, and, over time, they are possibly doing a lot more damage than an occasional cheeseburger. Read on for 7 habits worse than fast food—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Too Much Exercise
Seems counterintuitive, right? Exercise is good for us. It stands to reason that the more we do, the better it is. Actually, that's only true to a limit. "Most people don't exercise enough, hence the skyrocketing obesity rate," said Marc Lobliner, a fitness expert and owner of TigerFitness.com.
But when people get on a program, sometimes they will overdo it, spending hours a day exercising and forsaking their personal life. Do this instead: "Start out smart, exercise an hour a day and adjust and add as you get more efficient and can budget it into your lifestyle," said Lobliner. By overdoing it, your body will hurt and your mind will get burnt out. Be smart about it and make exercise work with, not takeover, your life.
Setting Unrealistic Expectations
Social media is littered with pretty people, and it can be pretty intimidating if we feel like we can't measure up. But it's important to remember that those perfect photos are often the result of filters and photoshop! "They not only get the perfect angle, but they touch it up and if that's all you see, then you will feel like your results are lacking," said Lobliner. Be kinder to yourself and don't set unrealistic expectations based on illusions. Take pictures. Look at your starting picture then that day's picture. "Embrace and love the positive changes. Aim to be the best you and be proud of your progress," said Lobliner.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
If you thought that double stack burger with fries was the worst thing in your diet this week, you might want to check your sleep quality and hygiene. "Sleep deprivation and poor sleep quality, if it happens every night, has been shown to increase levels of stress hormones like cortisol, which essentially spares fat and breaks down muscle," said Dr. Ralph Esposito, a naturopathic physician who works with Athletic Greens.
Not the ideal situation. Yes, a cheat meal or cheat day can nudge you in the wrong direction but poor sleep every night shoves you into a hole making it harder to overcome the weight gain. "This eventually can lead to insulin resistance and multiple other hormonal issues," said Dr. Esposito.
Not Respecting Your Body's Natural Cycles
Women and men have been educated the same about eating and exercise. We think it's bad to not exercise or eat junk food and that we should aim to always be on the same schedule day in and day out. For women, that's simply false. "The quickest way to throw off your mood and mental well-being for a woman is to have the same expectations for yourself all month," said Dana Bruck, L.Ac, MSTCM and co-Founder of OVA MOON.
Because of menstrual cycles, hormones are always in flux. "We need to understand how they work and adjust our exercise and diet accordingly throughout the month," said Bruck. For example, if you try to eat less and work out hard the week before you menstruate, you're likely going to feel exhausted and not lose any weight due to a decrease in estrogen and testosterone. "Because your energy is lower during this time, exercising for more than 30 minutes spikes cortisol levels which leads to weight gain and increased stress overall," said Bruck.
Sitting Too Much
It's been said that sitting is the new smoking. It's that bad for you. Now whether it's true to that extent is up for debate, but not moving around enough has a lot of bad implications for our body. "The human body has evolved to move and to move frequently. I don't think anyone can argue that we did not evolve to sit in a chair," said Dr. Esposito, who warns that prolonged sitting, especially without doing muscle stability exercises or mobility exercises can lead to poor posture, chronic pain, constipation and impaired blood flow. "Take a moment to do a quick yoga flow for 5 minutes every 45-60 minutes, get blood moving to every limb, joint and organ," he said.
Too Much and Too Little Sun
Here's another example of how sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Experts will agree, sunshine is essential, it is one of the several foundations for health. It is not only essential for us, but it feels pretty nice too. "Not only does sunshine provide us the UV light to make vitamin D but it helps set our circadian rhythm or our internal clock," said Dr. Esposito.
However, when we avoid the sun, or stay indoors too much we can throw off our circadian clock and deplete ourselves of vitamin D. "Similar to what we see in the winter months, our mood can dip without some sunshine," said Dr. Esposito. However, too much sun can lead to sunburn and skin cancer. Find that happy medium and get in the sun, but avoid prolonged unprotected exposure.
Skipping meals has become a popular trend either because we feel we don't have time for breakfast, or because skipping lunch is seen as a weight-loss strategy. But that's not a good idea. Skipping meals is robbing of us of crucial nutrients and energy we need to get through the day, and may well have the opposite effect of weight loss," said Dr. Brynna Connor, MD, Healthcare Ambassador at NorthWestPharmacy.com. "Studies have found that people who ate breakfast every day tended to weigh less, while those who skipped this meal often had a higher BMI, higher cholesterol levels, and an increased risk of diabetes," said Dr. Connor.
And eating the right foods for breakfast and lunch can actually keep you from getting hungry, ultimately leading to you eating less food overall than you would if you just binged at dinner. For example, eating an extra 14 grams of fiber per day causes people to eat 10% fewer calories and lose weight. "Consider having a sandwich on whole-grain bread, or salad packed with fresh veggies, nuts, and seeds. Eating meat and veggies over brown rice, quinoa, or whole-wheat pasta is another great way of getting extra fiber," said Dr. Connor. At breakfast, eggs are a great option. They are loaded with protein and provide a lot of healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs also contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals, and eating just two eggs provides you with 10-30% of your needed vitamins for the day. So remember that each morning, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.