Today we are going to look at the 10 worst lifestyle choices many of you are probably making. Often, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to good health, we don’t mean to be, often we are unaware of how bad some of our choices actually are. Making poor lifestyle choices is one of the worst things you can do. In fact they can endanger your life at the very least set you up for numerous health problems down the road.
Public Health England revealed that £11 billion of NHS funds are spent every year on treating ailments caused by Smoking, Drinking, Poor Diet, and Lack of Exercise.
Infact people who smoke, don’t exercise, eat poorly, and drink alcohol are three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and nearly four times more likely to die of cancer. Scary right? Hopefully if you are making these choices you are ready to change.
There is an enormous amount of evidence that shows poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, overuse of alcohol, poor diet, lack of physical activity and inadequate relief of chronic stress are key contributors in the development and progression of preventable chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer. So surely you don’t need any more motivation to get rid of your worst lifestyle choices.
Let’s look at the worst lifestyle choices.
“To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did, I ought to know because I’ve done it a thousand times.”Mark Twain
Smoking is a highly dangerous habit that affects millions of people. You already know that, right. It is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally. It can lead to cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. It can also have long-term negative effects on your throat, your digestive system, your skeletal system, eyes and your skin. There are no true benefits that can be gained by smoking. Other factors such as the expense of it makes it crazy to smoke, and the fact it can harm those around you (yep second-hand smoke is real). If you are a smoker do everything you can to quit. There is some great support out there, and if you are a smoker do yourself a favour and make plans to quit better still stop right now!
2. Poor Diet
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”Virginia Woolf
Eating high sugar and fat is simply no good for you. Eating the wrong foods (meaning fast foods, high fat snacks, and highly processed foods) can lead to obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Any of these conditions can cause stroke, heart attack, and death. A lack of eating fruit and vegetables is just as bad. Fruits and vegetables provide a wide range of valuable nutrients like fiber, vitamins and potassium that may help protect us from chronic diseases including stroke, certain types of cancer and heart disease. I know there is so much dietary advice out there. It can be overwhelming trying to work out what healthy eating consists of. My suggestion is if man makes it don’t eat it. If it comes from nature consume it.
“One should eat to live, not live to eat”Benjamin Franklin
Filling your plate from edge to edge, piling the food up high, is doing you no favours. Eating when you’re not hungry, maybe because you are feeling down can cause you many difficulties. Eating too much (meaning having no regard for portion sizes) can lead you to suffer from hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. Scientifically, overeating means eating an amount that is “inappropriately large for a given energy expenditure.” Try to cut out eating between meals. If you feel hungry first try drinking water and if this hunger continues eat fruit.
4. Drinking alcohol in excess
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
In small amounts alcohol is fine. An occasional drink can be good for you. This calls for moderation. Not more than 1 to 2 units a day. Surely you shouldn’t be drinking every day either. Excessive drinking can lead to long-term liver damage, and it can affect your overall physical and mental health in a number of ways. I now drink once in a blue moon, but that is simply my personal choice. I just know too much is certainly not good for you and constraint is needed. Many people claim to need a drink of an evening to relax, but there are far healthier approaches to stress management and relaxation that they’ve almost certainly never tried. In my eyes drinking alone is a no no. Make it a social thing and limit the number of times in a week you drink. Sorry if I sound like a party pooper.
5. Lack of Exercise
“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.”Marcus Tullius Cicero
Way too many people don’t make the time for exercise. They don’t have time, or don’t like doing it. Yet the truth is it is something that is essential for their good health. You don’t have to work out in a gym, although that’s great, but simply take a brisk walk will help dramatically. Exercise helps you to control your weight, look great, feel strong and limber, have more energy, it lowers your blood pressure, increases your HDL cholesterol and relieves stress. We all have a choice to do or not to do something. There is no hiding from the fact that good health requires you to make the right choices and one of these has to be to exercise. Walking, swimming, dancing are all options you can choose. Gym or aerobics classes. Tennis, badminton or squash.
6. Too much stress going unchecked
“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”George Burns
We all have stress, but if you don’t do something to relieve it, sooner or later it will take its toll on you. Too much stress can lead to a whole host of problems. It is linked to everything from high blood pressure and heart disease and a decrease in immune function to depression and digestive problems. A very common cause of stress is money worries which can have serious health consequences. Problems are everywhere for so many of you. Business and making money is tough, relationships strained, social life non-existent. You have to start getting on top of this stress, and learning to take time out to do some relaxation exercises is really important. Check out this article: 12 Steps to Reduce Stress
7. Insufficient Sleep
“Sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”Thomas Dekker
A lack of sleep can affect you in so many negative ways, from a lack of energy, inability to concentrate, moodiness and in the long term It can lead to depression, stroke, high blood pressure, low libido; the list is endless. Getting a good night’s sleep is a sure-fire way to keep our health at an optimum level. Now I do know that many of you struggle to get to sleep while others have difficulty staying asleep. Read the following article which looks at everything you need to know to ensure you get a good night sleep, just go here.
8. Non-stop negativity
“So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But it all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach?”Michael Phelps
Yes your mind can make you ill. Negativity is a choice, it really is. How many times have you lay in bed unable to sleep because your mind is just going over and over negative thoughts. How many times have you got yourself really worried about something which never actually materialised. Studies tell us negative circumstances in our lives become risk factors for a variety of serious health issues, including mortality risk itself. Its not the event itself but the way our mind builds up the negativity, fear, anxiety and risk. Negative thoughts and feelings will often lead us to unhealthy behaviors like night eating, overeating or “comfort” eating, drinking or smoking, zoning out with sedentary screen time or overworking and under sleeping. People often when they feel unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, make bad choices, we all know about comfort eating. If you are someone whose cup is always half empty then read this article to detox your mind and actually do the exercise.
9. Lack of Personal Hygeine
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”George Bernard Shaw
We have all undoubtedly heard the saying cleanliness next to godliness. Personal hygiene encompasses all of the daily routines that help keep your body clean. This includes regular healthy habits of brushing your teeth, washing your hair, washing your hands, cleaning your body with soap and water, wearing deodorant when possible and keeping your clothing clean. When people don’t learn these habits, or they become overlooked, certain consequences may develop ranging from social problems to potentially serious diseases. Make sure you take the best care of yourself, your future you will thank you.
10. Drug Abuse
Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error of judgment.Philip K. Dick
Of course all drug use of class A drugs is a danger to your life. They are both harmful and addictive. We are talking about heroin, cocaine (including crack), methadone, ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, and magic mushrooms. No one looking to be healthy, wealthy or wise will use or even experiment with these ‘life destroying’ drugs.
There is also a problem with misusing painkillers and overusing sleeping pills which can have long term side effects. The impact of drugs on our lives can be devastating. Drug addiction can destroy families and ruin many lives. This is a subject that will always be close to my heart. Long ago I wrote an article that concerned drug addiction, my sister and ways to break the habit. Read it here.
If you identify with some of these poor lifestyle choices it is time to cut out the excuses and do what you know you have to do. It is time to adopt healthy habits and get rid of your poor ones. It’s not too late to reverse your worst habits (stopping smoking, drinking, over-eating, and more) and immediately start living a happier, healthier life as well as staying clear of chronic health issues.