Trying to Get Healthy? 12 Top Detrimental Habits You Need to Stop Today!

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Almost everyone, no matter how healthy we eat, no matter how much exercise we get, has at least one (admit it, you probably have more than one) bad habit that can range from simply being annoying to being downright dangerous when it comes to our health.

If you are truly committed to living a healthy lifestyle, then you really should take a hard look at yourself and decide if these habits are worth more to you than living longer, feeling great, looking great, and living a disease free life.

Keep reading and see if you are guilty of any of the following destructive and detrimental habits that you should stop today!


1. Skipping Meals in Exchange for Goodies

You know this one all too well. You know you are going to a party after work, or you are going to friends barbeque on Sunday afternoon, or maybe it’s you are just going out for drinks with some friends, however, you know all of those things mean extra calories. So you figure that if you skip lunch and dinner, you can eat all you want at the barbeque, or have 3 or 4 drinks (with some of those appetizers!) and the calories will all work out about the same, right?

Well, this really isn’t a good plan, and it’s not even really about calories. Exchanging a healthy lunchtime salad for 3 apple martinis shortchanges your body of much needed nutrients. Also, for most people, skipping meals is a sure way to eat way more than you planned, and usually not very healthy food at that. You would be better off sticking to your regular meals and then chances are you will much less likely to over-indulge. Limit what you eat at the party and then work it off over the next few days.

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2. Skimping on Sleep

American culture values those who burn the candles at both ends. We think of this as a sign of someone who is a “go-getter” or “on the road to success.”  The fact is sleep deprivation is a serious problem. Your body repairs itself, makes hormones, and restores itself while you sleep.

When you get regular sleep, you will not only have more energy during the day, you will be happier, and be better able to function at work. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, turn off all your screens (TV, cell phones, tablets, computers, etc.)  at least 1 hour before bed.

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3. Lack of Exercise

Yes, we are all busy. Between the job, the kids, the housework, our friends and family obligations, yes, it’s hard to find time to exercise. However, our bodies are not designed to sit all day. Our bodies work best when they get natural food and at least some exercise. Our muscles and organ work best when they move and then rest. Exercise not only improves the blood circulation, but this circulation brings oxygen and nutrients to every single cell in your body, and removes toxins and waste from every single cell in your body.

It is difficult to find time to exercise; however, the benefits are priceless. Make whatever adjustments you have to in your life to make time to take care of your body by getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days per week. You don’t even have to do all 30 in one fell swoop; doing just 10 minutes, 3 times per day, is enough. Isn’t your health worth it?

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4.  Adding Salt to Everything

When you sit down to a plate of food, do you automatically reach for the salt shaker, even before you taste it? This is a big mistake. Just one teaspoon of salt has 2,300mgs of sodium, which is the limit for healthy adults. If you have high blood pressure or other health problems, the limit is 1,500mgs. Let’s not forget the salt in fast foods, canned foods, condiments (such as ketchup), that all contain high levels of sodium. Sodium is not your friend.

Taste your food before you reach for that salt shaker. You might find that you don’t even need, or miss, that added salt. Or try adding some herb mixtures or even lemon or lime juice. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy a different type of seasoning rather than salt.

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5. You Ignore Health Problems

Many times, your body will give you signs about the things it needs (your tummy growls when you are hungry or you start yawning when your body needs rest) or when something is not quite right. How many times do you ignore what could be a possible problem because you are afraid it might be something serious? Or you tell yourself that you simply don’t have time?

If you listen to people who have experienced serious health problems, almost all of them will tell you that they suspected that there was something wrong, but they just didn’t go for whatever their reason was. Sometimes, the worst case scenario happens because they didn’t take care of the problem when it was small.

If you suspect you might have a problem, or if you are having pain that does not appear to have a reason behind it, you would be wise to stop ignoring your body and have it checked out.

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6. The Day is Not Complete Without Some Wine (or Beer)

It’s true that a glass of red wine has very real health benefits, however, several glasses of wine, every night, is not a healthy thing. This same thing also applies to beer, shots, or cocktails, by the way. First off, alcohol has quite a few empty calories. Just one 5 ounce serving of wine has 125 calories.

Also, studies show that drinking more than one alcoholic drink for women, and two drinks for men, greatly increases your risk of dying early, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Enjoy your glass of wine or one beer after work to unwind, but no more than that.

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7. Stop Smoking

You already know smoking is super-bad for you; we don’t have to tell you that. You most likely have already heard that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, respiratory illnesses like emphysema, and premature death.

Smoking is perhaps one of the hardest addictions to quit, but you can do it! Don’t feel like a failure if you have tried and failed. Most people try to stop an average of 6 times before they break the habit. So if you tried and failed, try again and keep trying until you make it. Just a few weeks after quitting, your lung function and blood circulation increases, your risk of heart disease in cut by 50 percent, and 5 years after you quit, your risk of cancer is also cut in half. If you are still smoking, quit any way you can.

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8. Mindless Munching

Do you get the munchies while watching television? Do you find yourself overcome with the urge to have a bowl of ice cream, a bag of potato chips, or hit the drive-through for chili cheese fries after a stressful incident?

Many of us are mindless eaters. We eat because we are bored, stressed, angry, or sad. We eat to fulfill some need other than hunger, and it costs us dearly. Honestly, let’s be serious, here. Have you ever known anyone to grab a bag of carrot sticks or a rib of celery and munch away because they broke up with their boyfriend/girlfriend?


SEE ALSO: 15 Things Every American Must Know


Be aware when you are eating anything. Before it goes in your mouth, ask yourself if you are eating because you are truly hungry or for some other reason? You can try waiting just 10 minutes before you eat a snack to be sure that you are really hungry. Many people find that their craving for a certain food will pass in 10 minutes. If you still want it after that time, you can eat it, but changes are good that you won’t want it. Think before you eat and improve your health (and drop some pounds) dramatically.

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9.  You Live With Chronic Stress

Although modern day life is very stressful; deadlines, payments, promotions, and traffic, cause many people stress on a daily basis. For some people, stress almost seems like a natural part of their lives. It doesn’t have to be, though. Although you can’t avoid all stress and small amounts feelings of occasional anxiety or nervousness should be considered normal and healthy, as these kinds of feelings help us to respond to dangerous or difficult situations or motivate us to perform at our best, living with these feelings day after day without relief is very bad for the mind and body.

Stress has a negative impact on the health of our gut and digestive system, which impairs the immune system, can lead to food allergies, causes chronic diseases, and leaves you more open to infection.

Although everyone has stress, you don’t have to just “learn to live with it.” Find ways to reduce stress in your life. Say “no” when you need to, get plenty of rest, take time to laugh and play several times per week, and learn ways to manage your stress, such as through yoga and meditation.

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10. Processed Foods

We mentioned mindless munching earlier and how you should pay more attention to what you are eating. The same thing applies to processed foods.  Everyone is busy but with a little planning, everyone can cook more things at home from scratch with healthy ingredients.

Eating processed foods means that you are pouring chemicals, toxins, and carcinogens into your body every single meal, every single day. Why would you do that to yourself? You most likely encourage your kids to eat healthy and admonish them when they eat “that crap,” but are you feeding your body the same type of “crap”? Read those food labels and choose smart foods. With some planning when you go shopping, and a little preparation on the weekends, you can serve wholesome, healthy, home cooked meals that really provide your body with nutrition, not just calories.

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11. You Hate Water

OK, so water isn’t the most exciting thing, but it is definitely the most necessary of things. Every single function and cell in your body needs water and even slight dehydration can make you feel tired, sick, and weak, have headaches, and feel as if even simple tasks are difficult. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every single day, even if you don’t love it.

You can spice up that water with spritzes of fruit juice or herbs if you really find the taste water unbearable, but do whatever you have to do to get your body and brain hydrated.

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12. Negative Thinking/Excuses

Is your thought pattern something like this: I don’t have time to exercise, it doesn’t do me any good anyway, I’m fat and I’ve always been fat, because my mother always fed me junk food so I don’t know how to cook so I’ll just buy some frozen dinners because my family doesn’t notice what I cook anyway, so what’s the point?

You might not use those exact words, but do you see what we mean? It’s the easiest thing in the world to make up excuses, and there are plenty of them in this world if you want to live your life that way. It’s also easy to fall into the negative thinking pattern of always seeing the worst in everything.

But what would happen if you tried, for just 30 days, to do the opposite? What if you stopped making excuses and just did it? No matter what that “it” might be for you, what if you just did it, even if it didn’t come out perfect? The goal would be to “do it,” period, not do it perfectly.

And what might happen if you tried thinking positive for just 30 days? Whether you think it’s a nice day or an ugly day, the amount of effort is the same, so why not choose to look on the bright side? Why look for ugly, when you can look for pretty?

What might happen to your life if you tried this for just 30 days? You might be surprised to find that your entire life changes, and for the better. What have you got to lose?