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10 Bad Habits to Kick this Year

By Edited Aug 18, 2016 9 8

We all have bad habits and they keep us from being the best person we can be. The key to a happy life is to try to minimize the bad things because you are never going to get rid of them completely. Life is about balance. You can have the ice cream just do not have it every day.

But there are some things that you can do on a daily basis to make your life healthier and more productive so that you can reach your potential and stay upbeat.

Here are 10 bad habits that you need to break as soon as possible to live an addiction free life.

Sugar

Tips for Eliminating Sugar
Credit: Fritzs via Wikimedia Commons

This one is hard because it is in everything, but try to at least cut back. Start with sugary drinks. I always say that if I am going to eat badly, I would rather eat my calories than drink them, and given the fact that the nutritional value of sugar is zero[2], I always start with banning those drinks from my diet.

The extra calories in sugary drinks cause weight gain which puts stress on your joints, as well as elevates your blood pressure and can lead to diabetes[1].

How to End Sugar Addiction

Instead, drink water whenever possible or various types of tea with meals, minus the sugar of course. Use limes or lemons to spice things up. Switch to yogurt or various types of nuts to eat as snacks. This is hard to do, however,once you are over the initial sugar cravings, they will go away provided you do not go back to eating the same sweets again. Try to find healthy snacks that will keep you on track.

From my own experience, I have found that I cannot even have one piece of chocolate or anything like that as a treat because it leads to two and then three over the course of the next few days. Before I know it, that one treat turns back into a nightly addiction. So once you kick the sugar cravings, it is best to avoid them altogether. Forget about rewarding yourself every once in a while. It does not work.

Blaming Others

Blaming Others for Mistakes Leads to Depression
Credit: Alex Proimos via Wikimedia Commons

You are responsible for your life. Blaming others serves no purpose. Sure, sometimes it is their fault, but accepting that something has happened without blame allows you to move on from the situation.

Holding on to anger or regret is one of the most destructive human emotions. You can continue to blame someone in your personal relationship or your job, but nothing good is going to come from that. Accept what happened, ask yourself what you can do in the future to avoid whatever it was, and learn from it. Stop trying to control what others do or think. This only leads to negative emotions. You are the only person you can control so do not let other people's actions get you down.

Binge Drinking

Dangers of Binge Drinking
Credit: mjpyro

According to recent surveys, one in six  adults in the United States admit to binge drinking about four times a month.[3]

What defines binge drinking?

Binge drinking is defined as consuming around eight drinks per binge. Youth binge drinking statistics in particular are through the roof.

Have a drink, just do not have 10 drinks at one sitting. In fact, studies have shown that a glass of wine per day, or even a beer, can have positive effects on your health.[9]

Again, do not overdo it. It is like when you hear that chocolate is good for you. Well, it is, but it is not the kind you find in an over-the-counter Hershey bar.

Binge Eating

Binge Eating Junk Food
Credit: Opensource

Dealing with food addiction is a real issue, but do not eat your feelings. Very large meals can send your triglyceride and blood sugar level into the danger zone. Sugar spikes are dangerous because they can contribute to inflammation that can damage blood vessels, decrease circulation and eventually after a life time of this endless cycle, lead to heart disease. And it all starts with eating until you can hardly walk from the table.

If you find yourself going back for seconds or thirds long past the point of being satiety, just so you can continue to socialize, you are binge eating.[6]

How to stop a binge eating disorder?

To avoid these types of situations, try cooking only half servings so you do not tempt yourself when it is all sitting on the table. When eating out, split your meal with someone else. Eat slowly to give your brain time to register when you are full.

If f you have to attend a social dinner, start out slowly with high volume, filling foods and take frequent pauses to allow your brain to catch up to your stomach.

Smoking

Smoking is the Single Worst Thing You Can do to Your Body
Credit: Opensource

Smoking is the single worst thing you can do to your body. Not only does it destroy your body from the inside, but decades of smoking causes noticeable aging.[8]

It is estimated that smoking related diseases claim an estimated 443,000 lives each year in the United States alone.[4] Ninety percent of all lung cancer deaths are caused by smoking.[4]

For the life of me, I cannot understand how anyone born after the Surgeon General's warning first appeared on packs of cigarettes in the 60s makes the decision to start smoking.

Do not start this destructive habit. Smoking addiction is the number one most preventable cause of misery later in life. Don't smoke.

How to Quit Smoking

Fried Fish

Fried Fish
Credit: Kimberly Vardeman via Wikimedia Commons

Fried anything really, I am just picking on fish. You are what you eat and mental health and nutrition go hand in hand.

Fish is very good for you. Fried, breaded fish is not. In our modern society, we have the capacity to ruin almost any healthy food. We take a luscious salad of greens, then load it full of cheese and dressings and turn it into a 1000 calorie appetizer. The same thing happens with fish when we fry it.

Try grilling salmon, freshwater trout or tuna twice a week. It will give you the Omega-3s your body craves.

But if you are intent on cooking fried food, at least use a healthy oil such as coconut.

Pasta, Rice, Bread and Potatoes

Too Many Carbs are Bad for your Waistline
Credit: Scott Bauer via Wikimedia Commons

These are the four horsemen of fat. Heavy starches are essentially sugar and can raise triglyceride levels, spike your blood sugar and send you crashing within hours, leading to more binge eating[2].

If you think about it, these types of carbs really have no taste on their own. That is why we load them with sauces, cheeses and other fatty substances that make a horrible combination.

Instead, try eating your meals with a meat and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli or spinach. You do not need bread at every meal so break that addiction.

And speaking from personal experience, if you want to drop a quick 10 pounds in a few weeks, give up bread, rice, pasta and potatoes and you will be amazed.

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Wasting Life

Appreciate the Moment in Life
Credit: Bernal Saborio via Wikimedia Commons

There are no trial runs. We only get one chance at this. There are no do-overs so do not waste the chance you have been given. Appreciate the life you have, not the one you think you are supposed to have. Rarely do the two match up.

Do at least one thing this year that you always said you wanted to do. Stop waiting for some future date that may never come.

Enjoy the simple pleasures in life, such as the smell of coffee in the morning or watching birds on a spring morning. Stop thinking about what you do not have and appreciate what you do. What you actually have in this life is probably more than 99.9% of all of the people on the planet, so keep it in perspective.

Skipping Meals

Skipping Meals
Credit: Gideon via Wikimedia Commons

I mentioned binge eating before, but you should avoid the opposite also.Skipping meals is not the answer. Mental health and nutrition go hand in hand.

Maybe you are actually too busy to eat or maybe you just think you are too busy to eat. Either way, if you are trying to lose weight or live a healthier life, skipping meals is not going to help because your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows. Later in the day, you will give in and binge eat.

It is best to eat meals at a set time of day. Also, eat healthy snacks such as walnuts and almonds when you get hungry in between meals. They will keep your metabolism revved up and keep you satiated for hours.

Goji berries are also a very healthy snack, so grab some of those instead of something out of the candy dish.

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Sitting is the New Smoking

Sitting is the New Smoking
Credit: Opensource

As our society has changed and we have become more prosperous, the way we spend our days has also changed. Not so long ago, people had to work "daylight to dark" to provide for their existence.

Now that life has become much easier for most of us, we are becoming more and more inactive as a people. We don't have to plow the fields and work the farm anymore. Life is comfortable, but not necessarily healthier.

Studies have shown that sitting at a desk all day does as much harm to your body as smoking.[5]

If you have to sit for extended periods of time at your job, get up and walk around for 10 minutes every hour. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you are stuck in an office for most of the day, try some easy exercises you can do at your desk or in your office.[7]

Final Thoughts

When you are older and the days ahead of you are growing shorter, you will look back and think about the simple things in life, not the trivial ones like someone not returning a text or email, or the fact that you missed an episode of your favorite TV program.

Get rid of all of the clutter in your mind and treat your body like it is the only thing of real value that you possess in this life. There are many sources of information out there for a healthier you. All of this will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of unhappy people.

You too will have your ‘Rosebud’ moment one day, so sit back and enjoy life while it is happening and try to kick as many of these bad habits as possible to reach your potential.

10 Tips for Healthy Living

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Comments

Mar 31, 2014 1:05pm
Moina-Arcee
Good article, especially the point about sitting being the new smoking. It is true. I sit at my job and it puts my back in knots. I make sure I get up a lot and go for a long walk every lunch break. It helps.
Mar 31, 2014 2:58pm
LiviBui
Great article! I didn't expect "blaming others" to be on the list but that's a great one.
Apr 1, 2014 9:18am
Viking
I enjoyed your article. This is a great list of things for us all to stop doing.
Apr 1, 2014 1:32pm
DionSmith
Good article. The skipping meals reference is very important. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say "but I only eat like once a day. How am I not losing weight?" Well, how much are you eating in that one sitting and when is it? Our bodies are built to survive, and if it thinks food is only available once every 24 hours then it's going to try to hold on to as much fuel as it can. It thinks it's doing you a favor. I hope you are reading this Mom. Thumb.
Apr 6, 2014 8:13am
Wrig90
Excellent article, last summer I quit smoking and felt great for doing it. I also recently wrote an article on weight loss with the main focuses being the slow-carb diet (no bread, pasta, rice etc), no sugar and not skipping meals, so we have a lot in common!
Nov 4, 2014 2:40am
mjpyro
I've recently gone back and updated this article since it was one of the first ones I posted on IB back in February. It actually has become my most read article without really doing any promotion on it. Thanks for reading.
Nov 30, 2014 4:44am
pashii
Agree, sugar is poison but it is so hard to get off.
Feb 22, 2015 10:25am
mycini
Thanks for writing. Sharing on Fb
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Bibliography

  1. "Sugar." Wikipedia. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  2. "9 Shocking Facts You Need to Know About Sugar." Alternet. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  3. "Fact Sheets - Binge Drinking." CDC. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  4. "General Smoking Facts." American Lung Association. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  5. "Do You Have Sitting Disease?." WebMD. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  6. "Binge Eating Disorders." Mayo Clinic. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  7. "Doctors Warn Sitting Disease Could Become The New Smoking." CBS Sacramento. 4/11/2014 <Web >
  8. "Is it true that smoking causes wrinkles?." Mayo Clinic. 29/12/2014 <Web >
  9. "Three beers a day keep the doctor away." Science Nordic. 29/12/2014 <Web >

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