Staying healthy is not just a matter of eating right, exercising regularly, and visiting the doctor for a full body checkup once a year.
It is also the matter of curbing your bad habits before they become a problem.
So here are 10 of the most dangerous bad habits for your health that most of us are guilty of having, and which we need to get rid of A.S.A.P!
#1 Biting Your Nails
If you are guilty of biting your nails all the time, then here are some good reasons why you should stop doing it.
One, the dirt underneath our nails is teeming with dangerous bacteria, like Staphylococcus, that find an easy route into your body when you bite them.
Two, biting nails damages them over time and can lead to split nails and other problems.
Three, nail-biting damages the enamel of your teeth and can cause notching and chipping. This ultimately leads to sensitivity when the dentine underneath your tooth enamel is exposed.
Plus, notched front teeth are not too great to look at.
How To Stop Biting Your Nails
There are a few ways you can deal with this bad habit.
1. Get an expensive manicure.
Believe me, when your nails are that pretty and painted, you will not want to chew on them and throw away a bunch of money down the toilet.
2. Coat your nail with a bitter substance, like neem oil.
This tactic instantly stops you from biting your nails, if this bad habit is deeply entrenched in your psyche and is usually done unconsciously.
To do this, moisturize your hands with neem oil, so the bitterness coats your cuticles.
You can even use black pepper.
3. Get therapy.
Most nail-biters start the habit young and most often because of nervousness or anxiety due to various reasons like a stressful home environment, missing parents, or lack of love and care.
So if you are a habitual nail biter since childhood, go get therapy. Because the underlying root of your problem is too deep for anyone else to uproot.
#2 Emotional Eating
A lot of us are guilty of stuffing ourselves with sweets and chocolates when we are feeling stressed or emotional.
From licking clean an entire tub of Baskin Robin's ice cream tub when your boyfriend dumps you to stuffing in fries at your work desk after a stressful meeting with your boss, emotional eating is a dangerous habit that makes us seek out unhealthy (and usually sugary) food items, just so our mind can be diverted from its painful experience.
And this habit soon leads to food addiction, obesity, and a myriad of problems associated with it.
How To Stop Yourself From Emotional Eating
There are two ways of tackling this problem.
1. Maintain a food journal.
A food journal is a small, handy, easy-to-carry manual where you jot down your exact meals and snacks throughout the day along with the time of the meal, how much you ate, how hungry you were before the meal on a scale of 1 to 10, and how satisfied are you afterward.
You do not need to share this journal with anyone, so make sure you enter everything honestly, as tracking your meals will soon make you more aware of what you put in your mouth and will put a brake on your emotional eating.
2. Get help.
Studies have shown that brains of emotional eaters light up the same way around their comfort foods, as the brains of drug addicts light up around their chosen poison.
So if you break into cold-sweat when you stop yourself from eating more chocolates or those cheesy friesor have dreams where you are raiding the grocery store aisles for sugary delights, get yourself some help by seeking out addiction counselors or talk to your closest friends to get you through the painful de-addiction phase.
In fact, dogs and friendly cats are extremely good for people going through this, as they often provide you the emotional support you need.
#3 You Never Floss Your Teeth
Brushing and using the mouthwash is not enough to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy.
This is because your saliva contains a lot of minerals in it, like calcium and phosphorus, which settle down on the plaque coating your teeth, and over time become hard tartar deposits.
And once your teeth develop tartar on them, only a skilled dentist can get rid of them completely for you, as they are too hard for your toothbrush to get rid of.
Unfortunately, most of us do not floss our teeth, as it is a very tedious task. But if you do not have enough money to afford the dentist's fees, then you should definitely add flossing to your routine.
How To Floss Your Teeth
Flossing is not difficult. Here are the steps:-
1. Cut out a 12-15 cm long floss.
2. Wrap the ends around the middle fingers of each hand until you only have a two-inch-long thread between your fingers.
3. Slide the floss gently between your teeth, until it reaches the gum line and then wrap it around your tooth and scrap it down back and forth until you are all the way out.
4. Unwrap the floss around your fingers two-inch between your fingers. Then slide the thread back up, and this time, wrap it around the adjacent tooth and scrape down the same way.
5. Take a fresh 12-15 cm long thread once the current one is dirty.
6. Do this for all your teeth.
7. Floss at least three times a week.
If this procedure is too difficult for you, buy a floss holder at the drugstore and use it the same way.
Also Read - 12 Oral Hygiene Tips We Ignore
#4 Lying To Your Doctor
Revealing your personal history to a complete stranger would make anyone cringe. But when it comes to your doctor, that does not apply.
Why? Because when you lie to your doctor and withhold information, you can be misdiagnosed, sent for unnecessary tests, prescribed medicines that cross-react with medicines you are already taking, and suffer from other hazards.
How To Be More Honest With Your Doctor
Here is a list of questions you can answer at home and write down on paper before you visit your doctor the next time.
1. Are you taking any medicines or supplements?
Do not leave out anything, even if you think it is not relevant to your current problem.
2. Do you drink alcohol, smoke, or abuse substances? If yes, how much and how frequently.
Please be honest. Your health depends on it.
3. Have you visited any other health practitioner, like a doctor, chiropractor, or an ayurvedic physician?
4. Have you observed any abnormal fluctuations in your mood, mental health, and sleeping pattern?
5. What is your daily diet?
6. How much do you exercise? And what do you do,specifically.
These answers will help your physician accurately diagnose your condition, so be honest.
But if you feel that your dishonesty and refusal to share details with your doctor is because they are too judgmental, disapproving, or unprofessional, then do yourself a favour and look for a better doctor you are more comfortable with.
#5 Checking Your Weight Constantly
Women are more prone to having this bad habit than men because of the negative body image ideas rampant in the fashion industry and elsewhere.
So, if you are guilty of climbing onto a weighing machine too often (like once every few days), you need to stop.
Why? Because your total body weight is not a good indicator of your health, as it cannot differentiate between muscle mass and fat or the difference in heart disease risk based on where your flabs are located in your body (belly fat is more dangerous).
What You Should Do Instead
If you are really worried about your weight, stop weighing yourself on a machine and switch to measuring the circumference of your belly, waist, thighs, and arms with a tape.
This way, you will be able to observe minute differences, which the weighing machine cannot pick up on.
Another great way of measuring your health is through blood tests, especially your lipid profile and blood pressure. These definitively tell you whether your body is in the healthy range or is dangerously overboard.
Try This: The Heart Risk Calculator
#6 You Eat Snacks At Midnight
This habit is quite common among those who stay up late into the night. And you know we aren't talking about snacking on an apple or banana.
So if you are guilty of this habit, you really need to stop.
Why? Because consuming dense calories and rich food late at night is known to hamper your sleep cycle, increase the incidence of acid reflux, and make you gain more weight than those who eat the same unhealthy food earlier on during the day.
How To Get Rid Of This Habit
There are a few ways you can curb this bad habit.
1. Go to sleep earlier.
Our bodies run on a day clock that's why those who stay up late at night often suffer from more health problems than those who don't. So, be mindful of this natural rhythm and go to sleep early. This will prevent midnight snacking urges since you will be fast asleep by then.
2. Eat healthy food.
If sleeping early is not a feasible option, cut some fruits and keep them handy. This will prevent you from reaching out for the unhealthier options in your fridge and pantrysince you will have a healthier snack ready-and-waiting for you to eat!
#7 You Skip Sleep
Skipping sleep once a while when you are facing an emergency is alright. But doing it frequently is the worst thing you can do to your body.
Why? Because your brain needs rest just as much as your body. And sleeping is the only way it can wind down, assimilate all the lessons of the day, and prepare itself for the next day.
In fact, studies have shown that those who sleep less are at a higher risk of suffering from hormonal imbalances, weight gain, and memory loss.
Plus, lack of sleep is known to make your body age faster.
How To Get Rid Of This Bad Habit
Here are some ways you can condition your body to sleep on time, even if you have a bad habit of skipping sleep right now.
1. Make sure your last cup of coffee is at least 8 hours before your scheduled sleep time.
2. Sleep in a pitch black room, as it stimulates melatonin production, which is required for falling asleep.
3. Remove all the disturbances, especially your smartphone.
4. Eat at least 3 to 4 hours before your scheduled sleep time, so you are not too full and uncomfortable when you lie down.
5. Aim for at least 8 hours of shut-eye at a stretch. And if you cannot, take 10 minutes of naps whenever you feel tired.
Also Read: 9 Simple Ways to Sleep Better At Night
#8 You Do The Same Workout Every Day
There's a term for the consequence of this bad habit in the fitness circle. It is called a plateau.
This occurs because when you start an exercise, your body is not used to the motions and so strains your muscles to adapt to it. So if you stick to the same workout every single day, after a while your body will get used to the motions and learn how to conserve energy when you do it.
That means no fat burn or muscle development.
How To Prevent A Plateau
The way to preventing a plateau is pretty simple. Just make sure your body never adjusts to your workout routine by switching things around, increasing reps, and changing the dynamism.
This will keep your body on its toes, figuratively, and help you stay fit for longer periods of time.
#9 You Sunbathe Frequently
Bathing in the Sun is never a good idea. And it is practically dangerous now more than ever before because of the state of our Earth's ozone layer.
Why? Because the UV rays of the Sun are known to cause skin cancer, especially the UV-B rays.
What You Should Do Instead
If you thought tanning booths are the solution to your problem, you are wrong. They cause skin cancer as well.
So, learn to love the colour of your skin and apply a generous amount of sunscreen every time you go out in the Sun. Anything with SPF 15 of higher is good for you.
And if you sunbathe to get vitamin D, then get a supplement prescription from your doctor instead. It's a safer alternative to spending millions on skin cancer treatment.
#10 You Wear Cheap Workout Shoes
From pulling your hamstring to developing severe muscle injury, wearing cheap workout shoes without proper shock absorption is the worst thing you can do for your health. So, if you are guilty of this habit, you need to stop now.
What You Should Do Instead
Buy a good pair of workout shoes from a good sports company and make sure they have adequate arch for your feet if you are flat-footed.
This will save you tons of wasted time and pain during recovery.
Share This Article!
Which of these bad habits are you guilty of doing? Share it with your friends along with this article, so they can be aware too and stop hurting themselves.