We all struggle with daily unhealthy habits. Some of them are pretty obvious--eating too much, not getting enough exercise, not sleeping enough. But what you may not realize is the number of routine daily habits that can help contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. Here are six that you may not have considered.
1. Zoning Out at the Gym
Many people have the motivation to get to the gym only to zone out on the elliptical for 45 minutes and mistakenly think they've gotten a workout in. Or, they get lackadaisical with their form and hurt themselves. If you're one of these people, try a spin class, yoga, pilates, or Cross Fit. Organized and programmed workouts are popular because they take the guesswork out of exercising. They'll hold you accountable and push you harder.
2. Unknowingly Eating Sugar
A lot of you are thinking, "I don't eat sweets." Read the labels on your yogurt, almond milk, salad dressing, pasta sauce, protein powder, fruit juice, cereal, dried fruit, condiments, frozen meals, bread and granola. There are some surprising sugar-laden culprits. Search the web for healthy home made alternatives. Sugar is addicting, and getting it out of your system can be a chore. You'll find that you have more energy and less desire for sweets after a few sugar-free weeks.
3. Happy Hour
A drink or two at the end of the day isn't necessarily a bad thing. Alcohol in moderation won't destroy your health--as long as you're choosing the right cocktail. The average restaurant margarita can pack up to 400 calories. A glass of wine is a better choice. If the night calls for something more, try vodka and water with lime. It's low in calories and the strong taste will force you to slow down.
4. Eating with Your Boyfriend or Athlete Friend
It's not fair. It never will be. Unless you have more muscle mass than your boyfriend, you don't need the same amount of food as he does. However, we still tend to match the serving size of our significant other. The same goes for your marathon-running friend who is burning hundreds of extra calories training every day. She's going to go for the second portion, but that doesn't mean you can! Adjust your portion size accordingly.
5. Obsessively Weighing Ourselves
Weight fluctuates naturally every day. Bad decisions are often made based on a less than desirable number--skipping breakfast, perhaps. A weekly or monthly check should be a satisfactory progress tracking method if you need to lose weight. Better yet, throw out the scale and have a fitness professional track your body fat percentage, which is a much more useful number and encourages healthy habits.
6. Staring at Screens
We've all mistakenly eaten an entire box of whatever junk food while watching TV. It's also difficult for our brains to shut down for the evening after being stimulated by artificial light and loud noises all day. Try turning off all devices (smart phone, too!) a few hours before bed time and during meals for better sleep and a more a more enjoyable meal. Your body will thank you for the extra rest and better digestion.
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Rachel Betsch has emerged herself in functional fitness and effective training methods as a lifeguard, a sergeant in the US Army, and a hiking and biking guide at Canyon Ranch. Currently, as an outdoor sports enthusiast and while in training to become a wildland firefighter, fitness remains ever relevant. Rachel is in constant search of new and exciting fitness trends and loves assisting others in pursuit of their own health and fitness goals. She can be reached at RachelBetsch@live.com.