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.
Getting sunburned a few times every summer
Why It’s Dangerous: If you love sunbathing or make an effort to maintain a golden-bronze tan, you’ve unwittingly contributed to the aging of your skin. Sunbathing destroys the elastic fibers that keep skin looking firm and smooth, leading to earlier wrinkles, blotches, freckles, and discolorations. More importantly, sunburns contribute significantly to cancers of the skin. If you’ve added trips to the tanning salon, it’s even worse. Despite what ads suggest, using tanning beds doesn’t build up a ‘safe’ base tan. It actually raises your risk for skin cancer and wrinkles.
Why You Should Stop: Sun exposure, especially if your quest for the perfect tan has left you sunburned, damages skin in ways that can never be repaired or reversed. Avoiding additional burns can at least help you prevent further damage. Protecting your skin also results in softer, suppler skin with fewer wrinkles and less discoloration.
Tips for Recovery:
– Schedule an annual skin check by a dermatologist: Your doctor will inspect your skin for any unusual changes, and take a small sample to determine the nature of the growth.
– Always wear sunscreen: Keep high SPF sunscreens near all your exits. It only takes about 30 seconds to apply.
– Stay safe in the sun: Stick to the shade, wear a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants during peak sunburn hours.
– Get your glow with a self-tanner instead of the sun: You’ll get the bronzed look without the cancer risk.
– Know a danger sign when you see it: Anything new that doesn’t look right to you on your skin deserves to be checked by a doctor.
– Sip green tea: There’s some evidence that green tea may protect your cells against cancer-causing sun damage.
Be sure you don’t make any of these sunscreen mistakes, either.
Behavior that leaves you angry, worried, or stressed all of the time
Why it’s Dangerous: An unhappy lifestyle releases a cascade of stress hormones that increase your blood pressure and blood sugar, lower immunity, slow digestion, and make you feel downright mean. Nature intended stress to be a short-lived fight-or-flight response to a threat, but modern life can lead to chronic stress and to far-reaching impacts on your health, such as increased risk of being overweight and overeating high-fat, sugary foods. Both raise your odds for heart disease and diabetes.
Why You Should Stop: Stress-reduction techniques have been proven to lower blood sugar, improve immunity, reduce depression, ease chronic pain, lower blood sugar, and possibly protect your heart, too. A regained sense of joy and control is worth its weight in gold, and the physical health benefits will be substantial as well.
Reverse the Habit:
– Learn to stop getting stressed so easily: How you react to triggers determines your stress level. Next time you feel a situation emerging, work hard at managing it and staying cool.
– Learn a formal stress-relief process: Among the most proven are yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
– Rediscover optimism: Pessimism is a learned behavior. Regaining your sense of hope can go a long way toward stifling stress and regaining a sense of happiness.
– Eat healthily and exercise: A healthy lifestyle does wonders for your ability to manage stressful situations.
– Enjoy a relaxing hobby: Calm down by immersing yourself fully during your downtime.
– Rediscover silliness: Remember that in every grown adult resides a young child. You’re older, but your spirit doesn’t have to be. Stop suppressing your sense of fun and silliness and remember to enjoy yourself. Be sure you check out these 37 tips for managing stress while you’re at it.