Why It’s Dangerous: Skipping the first meal of the day can have serious consequences for your weight, your energy levels, and even your blood sugar. Munching a piece of morning toast or crunching a bowl of bran flakes signals to your metabolism that it’s time to kick things up a notch. Skipping the fuel keeps your metabolism running on low, which can lead to weight gain and sluggishness. You’ll also create a starve-now-indulge-later eating pattern, which is why breakfast-skippers tend to overeat later in the day.
Why You Should Stop: Starting a breakfast routine is easy. The moment you do, you take a major step towards fixing the problems skipping breakfast caused, including excess weight and unhealthy blood sugar swings. Eating breakfast will result in more stable blood sugar, which means fewer food cravings and hunger pangs later in the day. Because you’re re-fueling your body early in the day, you’ll also have more energy in the morning. You may find that you start to control your weight more easily, too.
Reverse the Habit:
– Work with your body: Not hungry first thing in the day? Wait an hour or two until you’re ready to eat.
– Eat foods you like: No need to start the day with breakfast food. Have a sandwich, a bowl of soup, or last night’s leftovers—whatever your pleasure is.
– No time? Make a portable breakfast sandwich: Bring along a piece of fruit, and maybe some milk in a coffee mug.
– Grab an energy bar and a cup of yogurt: Both are instantly ready, and together they are the perfect amount of nutrients and calories to start your day.
– Have a smoothie: Whirl low-fat yogurt, frozen berries, half a banana, a little OJ, and some honey in a blender. It’s the ultimate healthy on-the-go breakfast.
– Set things up in advance: Prep breakfast the night before, so you can eat it at the kitchen table in 10 minutes or less.
Drinking too much alcohol
Why It’s Dangerous: If you over-drink on a regular basis, alcohol can be a poison. Women who regularly consume two or more drinks a day and men who regularly down three or more are at higher risk for liver damage, various cancers including those of the liver and mouth, high blood pressure, and depression. Women, who are more sensitive to alcohol, can also develop heart disease, brittle bones, and even memory loss.
Why You Should Stop: Soon after you cut back or quit, your digestion will improve and you’ll sleep more soundly. Your blood sugar will be lower and steadier, your blood pressure may fall toward a healthier range, and even your brain will bounce back. You’ll have a healthier liver and cardiovascular system. Since you’re limiting your alcohol intake, you’ll also be cutting your risk of being in a car accident. On top of feeling more energetic, you’ll probably have better relationships with your family and friends, if drinking has caused problems in the past.
Reverse the Habit:
– Stick to healthy limits: That’s two or less drinks per day for men, one for women.
– Reserve alcohol for meals: You’re more likely to sip your drink slowly that way.
– Drink for flavor, not to get drunk: As an adult, you shouldn’t drink to escape. Find a healthier coping mechanism.
– Can’t stop? Acknowledge the addiction: Talk with your doctor and contact a support group like AA.
– Take screenings for bone density and cancers seriously: Check with your doctor if you should be screened more often.
– Liver damaged? Get a health plan: Talk to a doctor about a high-calorie diet to help your liver regenerate.
Don’t miss these 17 tips to help you cut back on drinking, too.
Why It’s Dangerous: As far as health goes, no popular habit on Earth is as harmful. It directly causes 30 percent of heart disease deaths, 30 percent of cancer deaths, and a massive 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancers, not to mention increasing the risk of developing mouth, throat, and, bladder cancer. This bad habit also astronomically raises your odds for heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure, on top of possibly triggering or aggravating breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma attacks.
Why You Should Quit: The health benefits are almost immediate, because your lungs and cardiovascular system begin repairing themselves within minutes of your last cigarette. Within a month, your lungs will work better and you should be coughing less, feel more energetic, and have less shortness of breath. Quitting smoking significantly reduces the threat of cancer or heart disease, improves your sense of taste and smell, and gives you better endurance. You’ll also reap confidence-boosting rewards like fresher breath, younger-looking skin, and an end to that unpleasant tobacco smell on your clothes.
Reverse the Habit:
– Treat it like an addiction, not a habit: Before you stop, prepare for the tough road ahead. Prepare a strategy, a support team, and a Plan B if your first methods fail.
– Ask your doctor about a stop-smoking drug: Buprion and varenicline have been shown in studies to increase the chance for success.
– Get support: Enlist your friends and family. Counselors, hotlines, and support groups can also help.
– Time it right: Plan to quit during a calm period—not over the holidays or when you’re under a lot of stress.
– Try ‘nicotine fading’: Use a nicotine patch or gum to help you gradually become accustomed to life without cigarettes and nicotine.
– Remember that a lapse isn’t a failure: Use slip-ups to discover your personal obstacle to quitting and create a plan for dealing with those needs.
Check out these 23 ways to stop smoking if you need more help.