1. Sitting for Extended Periods of Time
In 2010, doctors in Australia set out to see if watching TV affects your chance of dying. They observed that if you watch no TV each day, your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease in the next 10 or so years is close to zero. Then if you watched about 5 hours of TV per day, that probability of dying from cardiovascular disease increases to about 5%. This increase is added to the average probability of death of other non-cardiovascular ailments, so your chances of dying increases from 3% to 8% just by making your favorite after work hobby watching TV or playing video games. If you also have a desk job, this can increase significantly as you are now sitting for 8+ hours per day. So why does the death rate increase? When you sit down your natural enzymes that burn fat are reduced, your metabolism slows, insulin effectiveness is reduced, good cholesterol drops, your circulation slows, and you begin to have muscle degeneration. Choose hobbies that keep you active, and when you’re at work, ensure you are making time to get up and walk around.
2. Smoking Cigarettes
In any given year in the United States, there are close to 500,000 deaths that are directly related to smoking. Smoking can cause cancer in at least 16 different organs, including your lungs, mouth, and kidneys. Other parts of the body that research has shown to be negatively affected by smoking are your bones, immune system, blood, eyes, and reproductive system. Cigarettes have 43 chemicals that are known to cause cancer in them, as well as an additional 400 other toxins. You’ve been taught that smoking is bad since middle school health class, and that’s still the case today. If you are a current smoker, perhaps the best thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking.
3. Eating Processed and Packaged Food
Processed and packaged food is a very large category that encompasses everything from potato chips to frozen dinners. If your food comes frozen or in a sealed bag or box it probably falls into the quit list. Processed and packaged food are notoriously high in fat, high in sodium, high in sugar, and low in nutrients. So if they’re so bad, why do they taste so good? It wasn’t until about the last century that food has become abundant, and that’s only in select parts of the world. Because food wasn’t as abundant, our bodies became hard-wired to love foods that had high energy contents, such as fat, salt, and sugar, which were difficult to come by in the wild. Now that these foods are available everywhere, our body still craves them, but we no longer need them to stay alive, they only hurt our health. So next time you reach for food that is packaged or processed, try to think about a fresh alternative that won’t have as much added fat, salt, and sugar. Your instincts may think you need them, but you’re better off going with fresh foods.
4. Drinking Soda Pop
A single 12oz can of Coke has 140 calories which are almost exclusively from sugar (a carbohydrate). Drinking just 2 cans of soda per day will account for about 15% of the average daily calorie intake for an average person. The problem is soda adds no nutritional value to your body and it isn’t filling, so these calories are usually added on top of what your body already is eating. This means your soda is being stored as fat. Soda can also cause insomnia due to the caffeine, and tooth decay from the sugar. So what if you drink diet soda? You may not be drinking any calories, but the artificial sweeteners may have some effects on your physiology. The more sweeteners you drink, the more your body will crave a diet that is very sweet, causing you to continue to crave foods that are high in sugar. Studies have shown that when it comes to losing weight, switching from normal to diet soda has very little impact on the outcome. It’s best to cut them out of your diet altogether and drink water.
5. Complaining and Making Excuses
Wait, this isn’t a food, how can this effect my health? Mental health aside, when it comes to staying physically healthy, you need to keep a positive attitude and work hard to meet your health goals. You need to keep a positive attitude toward any changes you make to better your health. For example, if you decide to cut out soda from your diet, then instead of complaining about how you don’t feel any different after only day one, stay positive and realize long term it will have great health benefits. Also, never make excuses for not exercising or eating healthy. It’s a matter of priority. If you prioritize your health, then you shouldn’t be telling yourself “well I got home late so I’ll make a frozen dinner and skip my workout”. Make time, not excuses.
Author: Scott Van Hoy – Click Here to view the author’s profile