Spending too much time on the couch watching TV
Why It’s Dangerous: The more TV you watch, the less physical activity you’re getting, increasing your odds of being overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. A large-scale study of over 9000 people found that those who watched more than two hours of TV a day ate more, while downing more sugary soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie, processed snack foods than those who watched less. If television is replacing the time you’d spend on an old hobby, visiting friends, or exercising your mind, it can also speed up memory loss.
Why You Should Stop: By turning TV time into active time and 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, which can even help you increase your self-confidence. These are some more reasons why binge-watching TV is unhealthy for you.
Reverse the Habit:
– Follow the 2/30 rule: That means no more than two hours of TV a day—and at least 30 minutes of exercise.
– Don’t channel surf: Only turn the TV on when you have something specific to watch. Get out instead of searching mindlessly.
– Don’t snack in front of the TV: It’s far too easy to eat hundreds of calories’ worth of chips and barely realize it.
– Exercise while you watch: Walk in place, do sit-ups, pushups, or drag your treadmill into the TV room.
– Clean during commercials: Avoid food commercials by emptying wastebaskets, vacuuming a room, or doing a load of laundry. It can add up to 20 minutes’ worth of calorie-burning chore time every day.
– Resolve to leave home more often: See more friends, do more interesting things, and stimulate your mind every day.
Overspending your way into debt
Why It’s Dangerous: 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 smoking and drinking, and gaining or losing weight.
Why You Should Stop: You’ll regain a hold on your finances. It’s tough, but getting yourself out of debt is a lot like losing weight. It takes time, can be hard on your ego and your lifestyle, you have to be constantly vigilant, and it’s easy to revert back to old habits. But for those who succeed, and many people do, the results are stunning. You’ll feel more in control of your life with less stress and fewer worries. You’ll be able to sleep better, stop overeating, and have fewer headaches. Finding ways to curb your spending and focus on the simple joys in life will also help improve your relationships. Try some of the money-saving habits, too.
Reverse the Habit:
– Learn about money management: Educate yourself on the basic rules and methods of personal finance—for credit cards, mortgages, budgeting, and investing.
– Freeze your credit cards: Literally. Put them in a cup, add water, and relegate them to the back of your freezer so you’ll stop using them.
– Create a budget: How much money is coming in each month? How much are you spending on essentials, and how much frivolously? Keep track, and discover what you need to cut back on.
– Pay at least the monthly minimum on your bills: Prioritize paying more on the highest-interest credit card. Once you’ve paid it off, move on to the next worst.
– Automate good monthly habits: Use online banking to transfer some of your paychecks into a savings account, and set your bills to be paid automatically.
– Change money priorities: Stop shopping as a form of entertainment or distraction. Identify important things you’ll need in the future and start savings programs for each.
Eating too much fast food
Why It’s Dangerous: A steady diet of double cheeseburgers and fries washed down with an oversize soda or milkshake often leads to a bigger waistline and other related health problems, like heart disease and diabetes. Trans fat, often found in fast food, raises ‘bad’ cholesterol and blood fats that contribute to hardening of the arteries, as well as firing up inflammation, which contributes to the build-up of fatty plaque in artery walls.
Why You Should Stop: The health benefits of making the switch to healthy food will be immediate and substantial. Making a permanent lifestyle change won’t be easy at first. Fast food is super-convenient, surprisingly inexpensive, and thanks to all its fat, salt, and sugar, undeniably tasty. Healthy eating takes more time and thought, and in some cases, more money. It’s worth it though. In addition to losing extra weight, slimming your waistline, and protecting yourself from heart disease and diabetes, you’ll save money if you prepare your own meals instead of buying fast food.
Reverse the Habit:
– Wean yourself off slowly: Cut back a little per week, and buy a little less each time you go.
– Switch to healthier menu options: Replace soda with coffee or water, burgers with grilled chicken, and fries with a salad.
– End impulse visits: Avoid popping into a fast food joint just because you walked or drove by one, especially if you aren’t hungry or it isn’t meal time.
– Switch to grocery stores: Hungry and need a fast meal? You can usually find healthier prepared meals at your local grocery store.
– Try a local sandwich shop: Walk into one and order a turkey on whole-wheat with a salad on the side.
– Make your own: Eat with confidence in your own kitchen, preparing yourself a healthy meal with last night’s leftovers, adding a side of fruits and vegetables.