Last Updated on December 5, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
Most people think of things like smoking when considering habits that are unhealthy. While this is an obvious choice, it’s not the only one. In fact, there are a myriad of things you probably do every day that don’t contribute to good health. And not all of them damage you on a physical level. Here are a dozen habits to avoid if you want to improve your overall fitness.
What Habits to Avoid
There are many things people do on a daily basis that don’t necessarily contribute to good health. I know I am guilty of quite a few. Some of you may not even be aware of what you’re doing until someone points it out. Here are 12 things you may want to consider.
1. Asking Others to Do Things
If you have children old enough to walk, chances are you’ve asked them to get you something. I remember growing up and being used as the television remote as I was asked to get up and change the channels. In reality, you are cutting out quite a bit of physical activity.
I used to ask my children to run upstairs and get my coffee or do things around the house for me all the time. It vastly increased my daily movement by doing it myself. I increased stair climbing, steps and calorie burn just by doing things on my own. Out of the many habits to avoid, perhaps being lazy is one of the worst.
Think of it this way: When you ask someone to do something for you, is it something you can easily do yourself? That’s the question I asked myself all the time until it became a habit to do it.
2. Not Eating in the Morning
Another one of the most terrible habits to avoid is that of not eating in the morning. I, as well as many others, either get too busy or forget about the most important meal of the day. Unfortunately, this can affect everything from energy levels to moods.
The food you eat in the morning will help set the tone for the rest of the day. Whether it’s from a physical or mental perspective, the body needs nutrition to function properly.
One thing you should keep in mind is that the human body does not store certain vitamins and minerals. This means you need to replenish these on a regular basis if you want to stay healthy. Even a vitamin-packed breakfast shake is better than a simple cup of coffee.
3. Procrastinate Your Workout
Habits to avoid for health should also include getting rid of procrastination. I often talk myself out of working out because I am either too tired, too cold or that I’ll do it tomorrow. In the end, I don’t get nearly the physical activity I should.
Procrastination is probably one of the hardest things to get out of. It’s very easy to get stuck in this pattern because it seems easier. All it really does is hurt your purpose and delay what could have been accomplished much sooner.
Muster every bit of strength and force yourself to accomplish your task. If you get it done now, then you won’t have to stress about it later. And that is key to just about anything in life. Not only will it help you get physical activity, but it can also improve your levels of stress.
4. Staying Up Late and Getting Up Early
You don’t have to be a party animal to stay up late and get up early. I often do this because I don’t want to miss out on anything. For example, what if Netflix takes off my favorite show while I am asleep?
I know, this sounds silly. But it’s similar things that keep people from going to bed. Another situation could simply be from wanting to have fun in any form rather than sleep.
A lack of sleep can be very destructive on the body regardless of how old your are. It should be on the list of habits to avoid for everyone. Sleeplessness is one of those things that can affect your physical and mental health simultaneously.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
Do you drink enough water throughout the day? Depending on the experts you listen to, we need at least 80 ounces of water each day to remain at optimal hydration. Yet, not everyone does.
Water contributes to a plethora of things in the body from maintaining the digestive tract to keeping the mind clear. It’s the body’s way of flushing toxins and has been found to help combat high levels of sodium and other minerals.
You should try to get into the habit of drinking more water. Every time you walk into the kitchen, drink a quick cup of water…even if you’re not thirsty. Train yourself to drink often and you’ll retain less water, which will affect your weight and reduce bloating.
6. Supersize or Large When a Medium Will Do
This has been on the minds of a lot of people lately. When you pick up food at the drive through, do you go for the large or supersize? In reality, a medium meal should give you plenty of food.
I used to be one of those people. My eyes were always bigger than my stomach, but I would push to eat it all because I have a thing about wasting food. Now, I try to order just what I’ll eat or I spend a great deal of time trying to burn off the excess calories.
It’s all about proper portion sizes when trying to eat healthier. You don’t have to cut out fast food entirely, as long as you eat it responsibly. Keep in mind how many calories and how much sodium you’re consuming next time you order that large Big Mac meal.
7. Eating Too Much Because it’s Cheap
Your list of habits to avoid should also including eating too much because you think it’s a good deal. For example, the $5 lunch combo box from Little Caesar’s Pizza is one of my favorites. It’s also roughly 1500 calories totally, which is almost my entire calorie budget for the day.
It’s a marketing ploy of merchandisers to make it look like you’re getting a deal when you buy more for less. It is also one of the most unhealthy ways to eat. Just because it looks like you’re saving money doesn’t mean it’s a healthy way to dine.
Here in the United States, the majority of us are very overfed. Instead of eating that whole pizza to yourself, you can easily share it with four people. Don’t get suckered in by a low price tag when you’re looking for food.
8. Choosing Too Much of the Wrong Foods
I am a believer in counting calories, only because I’ve had a degree of success with it. But there is one thing that you need to keep in mind if you’re going to watch what you eat in this fashion: choosing the right foods.
Too often, people will eat some of the most sugar-filled and carb-rich foods imaginable and expect to keep healthy. In reality, you need to add more of a nutritious balance to what you consume in the day. You can’t expect to dine on 2000 calories in a day of nothing but cupcakes and be healthy.
Make sure you mix it up. Get into the habit of adding fruits and veggies as snacks and meal additions. Keep your tasty sweets to a manageable portion size.
9. Dwelling on Negative Situations
Health and fitness are not just aspects of your physical body. Your mental state also plays an important role. For instance, high levels of stress can easily degrade your physical self. This is why you need to focus more on being positive.
I know some situations are terrible, and it may seem like the end of the world for you. However, many people seem to relish on dwelling on the negative even long after the fact. This is one of the hardest habits to avoid for many people. It’s almost like some are just drawn to drama and stress.
Regardless of how bad a situation can become, focusing more on positive thoughts can prevent your mind from causing issues for your body. When you wallow around the negative aspects, you increase your risks to depression and stress.
10. Doubting Yourself
Not having faith in yourself will also have a negative impact on optimal fitness. This can prevent you from putting in effort to be healthy, assist in talking yourself out of exercise and further complicate your life. It’s all about maintaining a high level of confidence in everything you do.
As odd as it may seem, many people have made a habit out of self-doubt. Their immediate fall-back position in many situations is to assume they’ll fail. There’s been a few times where I caught myself doubting my abilities when I clearly have the advantage.
If you want some bad habits to avoid, include the self-defeatist attitude. If you don’t believe you can accomplish something, chances are you won’t. You’re defeating yourself before you even try. This is something I am currently working on and have felt a bit of success recently.
11. Putting Yourself Down to Gain Sympathy
A lot of people are also addicted to gaining sympathy from others. It’s a way to make themselves feel better or that someone cares about them. Usually, it’s people who often have insecurities about themselves or who don’t have strong support nearby.
Gaining sympathy is one of those very difficult habits to avoid. The feeling one can get from having someone give praise is very powerful. However, there are other ways to get this feeling without putting yourself down or feeling that you’re worthless.
Embrace your accomplishments. Get excited over every victory in your life regardless of how small it is. Avoid putting yourself down and focus on what you excel at. You may find others drawn to your abilities and appreciate you for what you can do…not what you can’t do.
12. Believing You Don’t Need Help
I have a problem accepting help in almost any form. I try to do everything on my own, and it has led me to ruin more than once. It’s OK to accept help for certain things, especially when people offer.
This is perhaps one of the hardest habits to avoid for myself. I want to be independent, but at what cost? If I would have sought help for certain issues 20 years ago, I might not be in the position I’m in now.
Don’t assume that you don’t need anyone’s help. While many of you can do things on your own, some situations may be just too great. How does this affect fitness? Because you don’t have to face your problems alone, and a support structure can help you stay motivated to eat well and exercise.
Health and Fitness is More than Just Weight Loss
Weight loss isn’t the only facet of healthy living. The state of your mind and the functionality of your body will contribute greatly. It’s not just eating habits you should be mindful of as your daily interactions and behaviors can also pose a risk.
Physical and mental stress isn’t going to magically vanish because you want it to. It takes a great deal of work to understand which habits to avoid for yourself. Understand who you are and what you can change today to feel better about yourself tomorrow.