When it comes to the human body, people are their own worst enemy. Diseases are most often the result of a one’s own choices. There in mind, many illnesses and chronic conditions are preventable.
The body doesn’t suddenly crash. It sends many signals prior to an ER visit. You can save yourself thousands of dollars by staying healthy while simultaneously avoiding doctors and hospitals.
In caring for your health, how you manage your physical and internal emotional life is equally important. Failure to manage this results in depression, unhappiness, anxiety and general lack of quality of life.
Like it or not, longevity comes at a price. You have to steer clear of certain damaging behaviors, sometimes not for very obvious reasons. It’s not enough to exercise and eat enough fruits and vegetables every day. You also have to be aware of what not to do.
Eating too late
Your last meal of the day should be consumed at least three hours before sleeping, Dr. Daryl Gioffre, celebrity nutritionist and author of GET OFF YOUR ACID, says. The body heals at night; so if you eat too late, it will use its energy for digestion, which is why you wake up feeling exhausted instead of rested and refreshed, he adds.
Having small meals more often
This is what wrong approach, Dr. Gioffre says. Every time you put food in your body, your insulin spikes. Your body stores fat when that happens and inflammation - the body's attempt to heal itself after an injury – occurs. You should be eating three meals a day so the body will burn stored fat and not just sugar, he adds.
Still consuming dairy
Milk is acidic and should be avoided, Dr. Gioffre says. Also, “the body neutralizes the acid in milk by drawing calcium from the bones, which increases the risk of bone fractures,” he adds. Some fitness trainers avoid it for other reasons – there are healthy ways to intake calcium, protein and fat without worrying about what went into the cow. Water with lemon is best for hydration anyway, Dr. Gioffre says.
Indulging in sweet stuff
Sugar is eight time more addictive than cocaine, Dr. Gioffre says. It is a substance that releases opioids and dopamine. So eating a lot of refined processed sugars leads to the production of the brain's natural opioids, which is key in the process of getting addicted to anything. The body can handle, as in metabolize, six teaspoons of added sugar per day. The problem is that people consume a lot more than that. The result is chaos, stress and overload for the body that can lead to both physical and mental illnesses. Cognitive impairment, especially dementia, is a possible result, according to research.
You change workouts too often
This way not enough momentum is built to get best results, Dr. Mike Israetel, a U.S. Olympic Sports Nutrition, Team USA Weightlifting Consultant, and Chief Sport Scientist for Renaissance Periodization, says. “Switching too often can both knock you off track of a distinct goal and be too big of a shock for the body to respond to in the most productive ways, he adds.
Sticking to identical workouts too long
Sticking with workouts for too long leads to psychological staleness, reduced rates of improvement, and higher chances of wear-and-tear injuries, Dr. Israetel says. The better method, he adds, is probably to let yourself get into the groove with a certain kind of workout or group of workouts that you do every week, and for weeks on end seek to perform at higher and higher levels in those workouts. “After several months (usually 2-4), your performance will flatten out and that might be the time to pick a new series of workouts and repeat the process.”
It can cause headaches for some (not all) people, Dr. Israetel says. Also, it can lead to bloating. Chewing gum causes you to swallow extra air which leads to abdominal bloating. Also, chewing gum makes your body think that food is coming in. It starts to produce the enzymes necessary to break it down. But when there is no food to process, bloating occurs because now you have too much stomach acid in your belly.
Eating when stressed or angry
First, try to eat by a logical meal plan and stick to your goals of what you HAVE to eat to get there vs. what you WANT to eat, Dr. Israetel says. “This will improve your habits of seeing food more as fuel and less as an emotional habit.” Secondly, he adds, it's good to try to develop hobbies and other fun activities that allow you to enjoy yourself without food being involved. “Thus, when you're stressed out and want to eat emotionally, you at least have the alternative of blowing off the stress in a non-food way.
Seeing the scale emotionally
Weighing yourself once a week is fine, Dr Israetel says. “In fact, weighing 2-3 times a week is probably the best trade-off of accuracy and effort.” However, the bad habit is seeing the scale emotionally vs. as a guide to your logical diet and training goals. “The scale is a signpost on your fitness journey, NOT a measurement of your worth as a person.”
Rely on protein bars and shakes too much
Instead, put in a bit of effort to go out looking for healthy food that's less processed. Dr. Israetel, who says he is guilty of this bad habit, says. “Not that there's anything wrong with processed food in moderation, but a bit too much can do a number on your digestive system and have you feeling a bit less than your best for a day or so.”
Counting on fad diets
Going from fad diet to fad diet in the search of a magic solution to fitness is something you should stop doing ASAP, Dr. Israetel says. “Choose a logical plan (like those we offer at Renaissance Periodization backed by science), realistic goals, and STICK TO THE PROCESS, and you'll be giving yourself the best chances for success.”
Abuse drugs and alcohol
“The absolute worst daily habit I see in my patients is the abuse of drugs and alcohol to deal with issues they want to avoid,” Dr. R.Y. Langham, a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic, says. Over time, it typically takes more and more of the drugs and alcohol to provide the individual with the “numbness” they are seeking, she adds. “Eventually, the drug and alcohol abuse turns into a full-fledge addiction, worsening the situation and affecting various areas of the patient’s life – i.e. self-esteem, work performance, friendships, grades, finances, health, and/or romantic relationships.”
Lying to your doctor
This is the most common habit Dr. Langham sees in patients. “Everyone lies, but some people lie most, if not all of the time, which is a terrible habit – and one that can cause a lot of pain and anguish in life,” she says. These deliberate liars honestly believe they are smarter than most people, she adds. Some people lie because they are afraid of what people will think. “In couple’s counseling, people lie about who did what and who said what during arguments. Most individuals refuse to accept their parts in the destruction of the relationship,” Dr. Lanham says.
Putting too much pressure on yourself
People are too hard on themselves, Dr. Langham says. “They think life, themselves, others, and the world should be perfect and fair, in reality it is not.” When it finally dawns on them that life is not perfect, they beat themselves up and self-destruct, she adds. “More specifically, they ruin friendships, relationships, careers, etc. They turn to drugs and alcohol, violence, etc. They become hopeless and simply give up – which is the worst thing to do.” It’s okay to not be perfect, but the key is to keep striving to be a better person than they were the day before, she adds.
Ignoring the past
“Sometimes patients will try to ignore or push aside past trauma without addressing it and working through it, Dr. Langham says. They simply push it to the back of their minds and hope that it doesn’t resurface, but it will – eventually. “Ignoring issues doesn’t make them go away, no, it magnifies them. It also causes the pain to fester and grow inside of a person until they begin to ‘rot’ from the inside out.” It can eat a person up, until he/she turns to addiction, violence, rage, and/or even suicide to escape the pain, she adds.
Thinking you know better
There is always room for growth, learning, and improvement. This is something Dr. Langham is also personally working. “I am a work in progress.”
People should stop judging others, Dr. Langham says. “People miss out on really great people, who could enrich their lives, simply because of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender, or religion. I see this a lot in sessions – people hating others based on some trait or demographic.” Her suggestion is to spend time with the people that you have prejudices against – learn about them – because you may find out that you have more in common than you think.
Holding onto grudges
“Some patients hold on grudges for 20 or 30 years,” Dr. Langham says. “They can’t or won’t let them go, so they drag them down. In other words, these past grudges make them bitter and angry, which affects all facets of their lives, so my suggestion is to just let it go.”
Not getting enough quality sleep
“People take sleep for granted,” Dr. Boyan Hadjiev, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology. Many nap for eight hours but still feel tired because the quality of their sleep was poor. “It is as important as the number of hours,” he adds. “It should be uninterrupted.” That means no TV or phones in bed, no alcohol before bedtime, keeping the same sleep schedule, no big meals after dinner, and less caffeine.
Not drinking enough water
“Ninety percent of people are chronically thirsty,” Dr. Gioffre says. “You’re supposed to drink 3-4 liters of water a day,” he adds. Supercharge your water, he suggests, with alkaline powder or put minerals such as magnesium in it to neutralize the acid in the body. Some ways to consume more water during the day include drinking tea, eating soups, setting reminders, and even using a drinking water app.
The mother of all bad habits, perhaps…Smoking is by far one of the worst things you can do to your body and you should quit the habit, Dr. Hadjiev says. “We have a nurse in our office who is down to three cigarettes from two packs a day.” Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death
The absolute worst daily habit Dr. John Gallucci, MS, ATC, PT, DPT at JAG Physical Therapy, sees in patients is returning to poor body mechanics following work to correct them during their physical therapy session. “For example, we will work with a patient to teach proper gait (walking) mechanics following the removal of a CAM boot or crutches and they will walk out of our clinic with no limp. However, when we see them a day or two later they have returned to walking with the limp we worked to improve upon.”
Disregarding doctor’s orders
The most common bad habit is non-compliance with the home exercise programs, Dr. Gallucci says. Physical therapists give these programs to their patients to enhance their program and as a means to ensure that regression does not occur during the days the patient will not see their therapist, he adds. “Non-compliance with these programs unfortunately causes setbacks in the patient’s recovery timeline.”
Leaving any details out
“We do often come across patients who leave details out that may be helpful in determining the extent of the injury and course of treatment,” Dr. Gallucci says. Many patients decide to leave details, such as how long they have been experiencing pain or how the injury occurred because they feel it isn’t important or they are embarrassed to tell the story, he adds. “Giving your Physical Therapist as much information as possible, even if you don’t think it relates, gives you –the patient – the best chance at a successful recovery.”
Using time as an excuse
“I believe people are so busy in today’s world that they tell themselves that there is no time to fit a workout into their daily life,” Dr. Gallucci says. “We know our patients lead busy lives, and that is why we teach them stretches and exercises that can be done anywhere at any time (i.e. the office, at home, in the car).” One can also build additional exercise into his or her daily schedule by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking far away from your office building, performing 10 squats before sitting down or performing walking lunges on the way to the water cooler, he adds.
“Proper posture stems from the strength of our core musculature and therefore in order to truly correct our posture we must work on improving our core strength, which can take 2-3 months before noticeable improvements are made,” Dr. Gallucci says. However, in the meantime, people can work on re-training their muscle memory to sit and stand up straighter and to walk with their chins up simply by correcting themselves when they notice the improper mechanics, he adds.
Carrying heavy bags
“Heavy loads place increased stress on the neck and back which can cause postural deficits and injuries,” Dr. Gallucci says. “However, if we must carry a heavy bag we should remember to use a bag with two straps (i.e. a backpack) to carry the bag as close to our body as possible and to evenly distribute the weight throughout the bag with the heavier items placed on the bottom.