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7 Things You Should Stop Doing When Trying To Be Healthy

7 Things You Should Stop Doing When Trying To Be Healthy

“I want to start living healthy! I’m going to go out there and join the gym and start exercising 6 days a week. I’m going to eat more vegetables too!”

Sound familiar? I bet it does! But don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Trying to be healthy is great, but we all know it’s not easy. It takes some serious planning and effort, and it doesn’t just happen overnight.

Three years ago, I started my journey in being healthier. Like most people, I ran miles. I stuck to a strict 1200-calorie diet. I was afraid of lifting weights. It wasn’t wrong and after a few tries, I did become a healthier version of me. But my initial tries took too much effort and definitely didn’t last long.

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If you’re trying to be healthy, stop doing these 5 things and you’ll be on your way to a healthier version of you.

1. Stop declaring meaningless goals.

Shouting and telling everyone you want to start adopting a healthier lifestyle may backfire on you if you’re simply saying it for the sake of saying it. You will try to make several changes at one go, but two weeks later you’ll fall back to your old habits. We don’t want that do we? For starters, stop telling everyone you’re on your way to change if you don’t mean it. Sit right down and think about what you want to achieve by making solid goals that are realistic and achievable. Add in a time factor to it, and you won’t stumble.

Just don’t simply say it for fun.

2. Stop believing that you have to do cardio all the time.

Yes, cardio burns the most amount of calories when you’re doing it, but as mentioned in a research study, once you step off the treadmill, your body doesn’t burn as much as it potentially can if you start lifting weights or do a High Intensity Interval workout. If your goals are to lose weight, I suggest you choose activities that you like doing. The more you like what you do, the more you’d stick to it.

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In fact, you don’t need cardio to lose weight. If your diet is 100% excellent and you’re keeping active doing things that you like as much as possible, you will still lose weight.

3. Stop thinking you can spot reduce fat.

How many times have you thought about toning your arms and only focus on doing tricep dips and bicep curls? Here’s the thing—we cannot spot reduce fat and a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research can confirm that. Our body is genetically made to store and lose fat from a certain place in a certain timing. Some of us lose fat first from our tummy, some from our butt. Just like Waldo and his red striped shirt, we are all unique and definitely genetically different. It’s best to start doing exercises that use more than just one muscle, like squats.

4. Stop avoiding the dumbbells.

If you’ve been clocking in hundreds of elliptical miles and yet can’t seem to lose any more weight or tone up, you might be lacking strength time. The best way to torch fats is to start lifting weights, and lifting heavy.

20 reps of a certain exercise on a light dumbbell might not be enough—this builds muscular endurance, not the tone up look that most of us are after. Start increasing those weights until you can feel the burn at rep number 10 to 12. If you can do any more than 15, that’s too light. Increase it and start seeing results.

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If you’re scared you might look like Incredible Hulk when you start lifting heavy, don’t worry. I did too when I was starting out. This, I assure you will not happen. We ladies do not make enough testosterone in our bodies for this, which is the stuff that men have that make them look ripped and bulky. Lifting heavy will make you stronger and will definitely tone you up.

5. Stop avoiding the things that make you happy.

A 2011 study in the Journal of Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being has found clear and compelling evidence that happy people tend to live longer and experience better health than their unhappy peers. Feeling positive about yourself and eliminating unnecessary stressors can contribute to longevity and better health among healthy populations. Surround yourself with people who genuinely make you smile and stop putting too much demand upon you. Practice yoga and take up meditation. Being healthy is more than just physical.

6. Stop thinking that all calories are the same.

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    We all know nutrition is the most important factor in weight loss. But do you know that the types of food we eat make a difference too? A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has proven this to be true. Just remember this—not all calories are created equal. An 80-calorie bar of fun-size Snickers is not the same as an 80-calorie green apple. The latter has much more nutrients, vitamins and minerals—the stuff we need more of for our body.

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    Instead of counting calories, start eating real foods: foods that nourish you, foods that makes you feel energetic—not the foods that makes you feel tired, hungrier and bloated. A junk food is still junk food no matter how “healthy” it claims to be.

    Cut the myths: The Top 10 Nutrition Myths Busted

    7. Stop giving up too easily.

    If you’re not expecting the results you’re hoping to see, don’t give up. If you’re hitting the gym with your best friend and she’s losing more weight even though both of you are doing the same exercises, don’t give up. As mentioned earlier, we are all genetically different. We all have different lives, challenges, dreams and goals. If you’re following a weight loss program from a certain weight loss book, don’t get your hopes too high in wishing you’ll get the exact same results. Ninety-nine percent of the time you won’t. There are just so many factors that determine how fast we lose weight.

    The best thing you should do is to keep an open mind, stay the course and do your best. Results will come. Even if you don’t get the same end result as what the book promises, you are definitely better and healthier than when you first started.

    The most important thing in being healthy is to believe in yourself. You’ve won half the battle if you know you can do it and see yourself becoming the person you want to be. When times gets tough, breathe, meditate, do some yoga and do not give up.

    You will get there. I did. And I know you can too. If you’re starting to build a new habit, be sure to read this: 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick.

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

    If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

    One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

    Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

    In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

    Why you can’t sleep through the night

    The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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    Stress

    If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

    Exposure to blue light before sleep time

    We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

    While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

    Eating close to bedtime

    Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

    Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

    Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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    Medical conditions

    In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

    The vicious sleep cycle

    The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

    Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

    You get a bad night’s sleep
    –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
    –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
    –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

      You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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      How to sleep better (throughout the night)

      To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

      1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

      What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

      Here are a few suggestions:

      • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
      • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
      • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
      • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
      • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

      2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

      What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

      • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
      • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
      • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
      • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

      3. Adjust your sleep temperature

      Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

      Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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      Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

      Sleep better form now on

      Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

      I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

      As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

      Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

      Reference

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