Bad habits – we’ve all got them, whether we like to admit it or not. Some of them might be harmless, sure, but others can put a real damper on your health and wellness goals for the new year. Let’s ditch these bad habits for a healthier 2019 that’ll have you looking and feeling better than ever, inside and out!
With the rise of wearable tech and calorie counting apps, the calorie obsession seemed to reach new heights in 2018. Don’t get us wrong – logging your food definitely comes with a solid set of benefits such as increased awareness of eating habits, accountability, and identifying the emotions and triggers behind unhealthy eating habits. But, it has led many to focus solely on the number of calories they’re eating while ignoring everything else, leading to large gaps in nutrition and severe caloric restriction.
We’re all too happy to leave the obsessive number crunching behind us to adopt what recent research has established: The quality of calories is what matters most for long-term weight loss and wellbeing!
Even if you’re eating a healthy amount of calories each day, you’re not doing your body any good if those calories are completely devoid of whole foods and nutrients. These foods – think processed foods like chips, soda, and white flour – digest quickly into sugar and increase levels of insulin. This causes a cascade of reactions in the body that promote fat storage and leave you reaching for more, still unsatisfied after consuming more than a healthy portion.
The Healthier Habit: Instead of focusing so much on calories, use your food log or journal to note the habits behind your food choices, the quality of the foods you’re choosing to eat, and the way those foods make you feel! Not only will this help you create a diet filled with foods you love, you’ll be setting yourself up for success by fueling your body with nutrients it needs for the long-haul!
Eating At Your Desk
Today, about 60% of professionals say they typically eat lunch at their desks up to 5 times per week, a phenomenon that researchers are calling ‘‘desktop dining.’’ While this might sound like the best option when you’re famished between back-to-back meetings and a growing to-do list, it could actually be putting the rest of your day on a downward curve!
When you have lunch at your desk, you aren’t moving around much and we already know that sitting for prolonged periods of time is neither good for your waistline, wellness, or blood circulation. It might also be causing you to eat more than you should be since you’re likely to be multitasking, causing you to miss the satiation signals from your body. Not to mention your brain doesn’t get a breather which can make it harder to finish your day without feeling those dreaded midday blahs!
The Healthier Habit: Try to adopt the lunchtime habit called the “MACLunch strategy“. This strategy helps break the desk lunch habit by asking you to do the following:
- Movement: Get out of the office and walk for 10 minutes.
- Autonomy: Decide for yourself when and where you take your break.
- Connection: Spend at least a portion of your lunch with another person
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests that those who got just 10 minutes of exercise during their lunch break said they felt more energetic in the afternoon, and research done by the University of Toronto found that control over one’s lunch break helped combat the afternoon blahs. Plus, Cornell University found that work performance gets better when you eat with someone else!
So, if you have to have a quick lunch at your desk, squeeze in a short walk around your office building with a friend to get your blood flowing and give your brain (and eyes!) a much-needed break.
Slacking On Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is a recipe for all kinds of problems besides making your day feel way too long. Sleep is just as important to your health and weight management as exercise or healthy eating, and not getting enough has its effects on both of those as well!
Sleep is the body’s way of recharging itself, so slacking on sleep can interfere with your digestive + immune systems, as well as mental health and weight gain! Still not convinced? According to the Health Promotion Board, sleep deprivation can result in a loss of concentration, slower response and risky decision making.
The Healthier Habit: Try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep each and every day. If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, give yourself some time to wind down by shutting off screens an hour or two before bed and curling up with Isotonix Turn Down to help ease you into rest. Use this time to practice a little self-care like taking a bath, reading your favorite book, or listening to soothing music.
Biting Your Nails
Nail biting may be awful for that fresh manicure, but it’s even worse for your health (not to mention, it’s kind of gross). Just for starters, the University of Colorado shows that we carry about 3,200 bacteria from 150 different species on our hands alone. So, just think about all the bacteria that are entering your system when you place your fingers in your mouth after touching many shared surfaces during the day!
Aside from the health benefits, there’s a social aspect as well. No one wants to shake a hand that just came from someone’s mouth and tattered nails may not be making the best impression if you’re someone who works with the public or planning to shake an Executive’s hand.
The Healthier Habit: Nixing that habit (especially if it’s a nervous one) might be difficult, but there are plenty of common solutions for this common problem! From bitter or spicy nail/finger varnishes to gadgets to keep your hands occupied, you’re bound to find something to help you get started and kick the bad habit!
Which bad habits are you kicking to the curb in 2019?
Tell us how you’re doing it in the comments below!