by Jari Love
Are you health conscious? Good for you! If you exercise regularly, eat whole foods, keep up to date on the latest health concerns, don’t binge on sugar and have cut out all processed and fast foods, well, then, you are doing better than most people.
However, you may still have some bad habits that are preventing you from achieving the body and lifestyle you would like. Based on my experiences with clients, I have put together a list of the top 5 bad health habits, even health conscious people make. If you find one or more of these habits apply to you, try to break your bad habit and watch the huge benefits in your life and on your body.
- You’re Dehydrated
Dehydration is when more fluid leaves your body than is taken in. Seems simple right? But, roughly 75% of the population is chronically dehydrated. When was the last time you drank at least 8 glasses of water in a day?
Dehydration causes a whole host of symptoms including: fatigue, headache, nausea, irritability—and in severe cases death. Hopefully you are never so dehydrated that the last symptom listed here is a problem for you, but I put it down so that you know dehydration has serious consequences on our bodies. Our bodies need water in order to function efficiently and this is true of our weight loss goals as well. Dehydration actually slows down your metabolism—which hinders weight loss.
Don’t wait until you are thirsty, or your mouth feels dry to drink. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Begin each day with a large glass of lemon water to kick-start your system and keep drinking throughout the day. Keep a full water bottle with you during the day and constantly rehydrate throughout the day. Get into the habit of drinking a full glass of water before every meal and snack You shouldn’t wait until the feeling of thirst or dry mouth hits you, at that point damage has already been done. Instead, constantly rehydrate throughout your day to avoid dehydration.
The best way to do this is to incorporate water into your daily schedule. Have a water bottle at your desk and train yourself to sip on it often, and get into the habit of drinking a full glass of water with each meal and snack. If water isn’t really your thing, try adding some lemon, cucumber, ginger mint leaves or orange slices to flavor it.
- You Eat Out Too Often
In today’s hectic world it is easy and convenient to eat out, order take out or pick up something “quick” on the way home. Research suggests that most people eat out one out of every 4 meals and snacks. That’s an average of once a day.
Even when you order healthy items, or choose places to eat that are health conscious, you are taking in more calories than if you had prepared the same meal at home. Restaurant food is designed to taste good, and the reason it tastes so good is that the food is often loaded with fat, sugar, salt, or some combination of those three.
Healthy and quick meals are relatively easy to do with a little preparation. On the weekend sit down and plan out your meals for the week. Then go to the grocery store and stock up on everything you’ll need for those meals. You can even prepare make- ahead meals for the week and put them in the freezer, or invest in a slow cooker. Prepare your meals the night before, turn on your slow cooker in the morning and have a healthy and delicious hot dinner waiting for you when you get home. Pack your lunch and snacks each night before bed, then grab it on your way out the door in the morning. When you prepare dinner at home, make enough for at least the next day as well. Your efforts will pay off both in terms of weight loss and in money saved.
- You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
You’ve heard it before, you’ll hear it again—sleep deprivation leads to a whole host of health issues, including weight gain.
Do you feel tired in the middle of the day or early afternoon, or do you crave something sweet to help pick you up around 11 am? If yes, then you are one of the 56% of adults who, according to polls are not getting enough sleep. By enough sleep I mean at least 7-8 hours of good quality rest! When you fail to meet this need your body goes into sleep debt, which continues to accumulate indefinitely until you catch up.
A lack of sleep negatively affects your immune system, your nervous system, and interferes with healthy hormone release and cellular repairs. Lack of sleep can affect your memory, concentration and reaction time. It can also have more serious consequences like an increased risk of serious diseases.
If you have trouble falling asleep once you’re in bed, then try these tips. Sleep in complete darkness, don’t eat before bed, Avoid stimulating foods like caffeine or alcohol (yes, contrary to popular belief alcohol actually disrupts, rather than aids sleep), and also try sleeping in a cooler room temperature—cooler temperatures mimic the body’s natural sleep patterns, so a cooler room temperature may help prepare your body for sleep.
- You’re Stressed Out
I don’t have to tell you that we are living in a fast-paced world and that most of us have stress levels that are through the roof. But what you might not realize is that your stress levels are making you fat.
All types of stress cause a physiological response in our bodies. An increase in stress will kick-start your adrenal glands to release adrenalin and cortisol. This is a problem because is slows your metabolism, leads to cravings and is linked to greater levels of abdominal fat storage.
One of the most effective ways to instantly eliminate stress is to sit down and write out a list of all the things that are bothering you. This should include things that you need to get done, issues that weigh on your mind and anything you believe contributes to your stress level.
Once it’s all down on paper, organize it like a to-do list and start resolving each item. Doing so will get the stress off of your mind and will put your body into the motion of resolving each issue.
Get some good sleep—sleep helps to regulate your cortisol levels.
- Your Workouts are Always the Same
Did you know that your body can adapt to a workout in as little as 20 sessions? If you are not constantly challenging your body, then plateaus can occur where you don’t see any improvement and may actually see a regression in your weight loss efforts you’re your exercise routine feels comfortable, then chances are you are not getting the results you want.
You don’t have to increase the amount of time that you spend exercising in order to see quicker, faster results. It’s all about challenging your body. To keep your body guessing try switching up the order of your exercises, the intensity at which you work out, the type of exercise you are performing, or do something totally new. If you regularly use weight machines then start using free weights. If you normally jog on the treadmill then start using the bike.
Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.