You eat all of your veggies, you’re a regular at the gym. You’d call yourself healthy–but are you really? Nobody’s perfect. Even the healthiest fall for these common bad habits. Experts tell us some simple habits to break in order to live a truly healthy lifestyle.
1. Ignoring Stress
Healthy eating habits will only take you so far. When stress goes unmanaged, it will have adverse effects, says Dr. Frank Lipman, an Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician. “Stress is linked to so many health problems including adrenal fatigue, weight gain and disrupted sleep.” Dr. Lipman, first and foremost, recommends Restorative Yoga to relax and unwind (you can find beginner poses in his new book, The New Health Rules) as well as meditation apps like Headspace and Buddhify to de-stress.
2. Embracing the ‘No Pain, No Gain’ Mentality
“People sometimes think if they feel pain that they are working out harder and feeling the ‘burn,’” says Andrea Rogers, the founder and creator of Xtend Barre. “There is a big difference between pain and burn.” Pain is usually caused by overuse of muscles and improper placement or use of the body, says Rogers. Bottom line: pain leads to injury and injuries are a major setback to goals.
3. Popping Multivitamins
Instead of taking a general multivitamin, choose supplements based on specific deficiencies, such as iron or zinc. “Taking a general multivitamin can be unwise as it can give too much of some nutrients and not enough of others,” says Robert Roose, a nutritionist at Carob Cherub. “Better yet, eat more nutrient-rich foods. It’s practically impossible to overdose on fruits and vegetables. Plus nutrients often interact positively with one another in whole packages, which is why food should be considered our primary source of nutrition.”
4. Beeing Too ‘Good’ All the Time
“Some of us can get too wrapped up in our healthy diet and forget to enjoy ourselves,” says Dr. Lipman. “Connection to others, community and friendship are important for both physical and mental health, so don’t forget to laugh a little!”
5. Forcing Yourself to ‘Like’ Foods
This may prove you have the willpower of a monk, but when was it ever said that to be healthy we had to hate the foods we consumed? “It’s really important to find healthy foods that you truly enjoy eating, so that you don’t feel deprived,” says Dr. Lipman. “For example, I start my day with a smoothie with chocolate whey protein powder, avocado, blueberries, greens powder and MCT oil. It tastes like dessert!”
6. Drinking Too Much Water
We’ve been ingrained to drink eight glasses of water daily, no matter how thirsty (or not thirsty) we are. “Our bodies are not built like a simple hose—water in, water out,” says Kevin Meehan, a holistic practitioner and the founder of Meehan Formulations. “It maintains a regulated system of establishing how the water functions, from transporting nutrients to maintaining the health of our cells.” Drinking too much disrupts this entire system and will cause the body to excrete more nutrients than necessary.
7. Drinking Too Much Fruit Juice
Although fruit juice does contain vitamins and minerals that cleanse the body, the large amount of sugar causes spikes in our blood sugar levels. “They also have little of the fiber that is found in the whole fruit to slow the absorption into the body,” says Donovan Green, a celebrity fitness trainer and author of No Excuses Fitness. Avoid sugary versions by concocting your own version with stevia or drinking one of V8’s new vegetable and fruit blends ($3.99, V8juice.com) that have the nutrients without the added sugar.
8. Assuming Skinny=Healthy
Just because you can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound, it doesn’t mean you should eat whatever you want. “It doesn’t matter how fit your body may appear to be,” says Green. “What you eat will eventually catch up to your health and destroy what you took advantage of for so long.” Make healthy eating habits now so you never have to reap repercussions in the future.
9. Skimping on Sleep to Work Out
There’s obviously nothing wrong with being dedicated to a workout routine, but when it gets in the way of your zzz’s you have a problem. Your body needs proper rest and recovery,” says Liz Barnet, a fitness and food coach. “Whether you wake up extra early, or stay up late after an evening sweat session, you are risking your health.” She recommends focusing on getting a consistent 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Then schedule your workout around that timeframe.
10. Purchasing Food Based on Calorie and Fat Content
Just because a food is low in fat and calories, it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Read the ingredients section. This tells us what is in the product which is more important than calories and fat,” says Green. “If you cannot pronounce the ingredients and it’s largely chemical based, it is not a health food.”
Read more: 20 Easy Ways to Lose Weight in Just a Week