Unhealthy Lifestyles that Many of Us Have

Unhealthy Lifestyles that Many of Us Have

Sophie Divino


Many of us try to live healthy lives as best as we can. In fact, “health” is considered to be trendy. Two of the most well-known ways to be healthy are eating right and exercising. However, while many people try to adapt these healthy lifestyles, ignorance prevents them from achieving their goals. What most people do not realize is that they perform unhealthy habits on a daily basis. People try to be healthy, but they may make poor health choices throughout the day. If more people become aware of what lifestyle choices are preventing them achieving optimal health, they may rethink some of their actions. Here are a few of these habits that should change:


Skipping Meals

When it comes to losing weight, many people automatically assume the less calorie intake the better. While it is true that eating less calories causes weight loss, people who choose to skip meals altogether may be creating the opposite effect. According to Dr. Grewal and Dr. Nwe of Ace Medical Weight Loss Center, it is very important to eat regularly when trying to maintain a healthy body weight. There are three main reasons as to why this is true:

  1. Digesting food burns a significant amount of calories. This is ultimately due to metabolism. Not eating regularly lowers the body’s metabolic rate decreasing calorie consumption. If people eat frequently, the metabolic rate increases, therefore burning more calories. It is suggested to eat five small meals a day. This enters the metabolism into fat burning mode
  2. The body will enter “starvation mode” if it is not being fed enough. During this phase, the body conserves food and stores it as fat. The body does this in order to prepare itself for not receiving sufficient food portions.
  3. Not eating increases stress on the body. When you are stressed, steroid hormones are released to counter this feeling, and one side effect of these steroids is weight gain.


Eating Late at Night

Before grabbing that bag of chips or even that apple at 11:30 at night, you may want to stop yourself. Late night snacking is very common, and is very hard to not do. Despite this challenge, it is highly suggested to get rid of this habit for several reasons. Aside from late night snacking, later dinners are damaging as well. Ideally, you are supposed to eat your last meal as early as possible, even if it is at 4:30. Studies show that eating late causes trouble falling asleep, inflammation, elevated cholesterol levels, impairments in blood sugar regulation, impaired memory, and weight gain. Weight gain occurs because like skipping meals, late night eating affects the metabolism. Eating earlier increases the body’s ability to burn fat and protein. Although this adjustment may be a challenge to some people, even if they eat one or two hours earlier than they normally eat, their health will still improve.


Not Getting Enough Sleep

You probably hear time and time again of how important sleep is- especially from your parents. However, have you ever learned as to why sleep is so beneficial? There are many reasons as to why this is, and most of them people are not aware of.

  1. The first reason is probably the reason that you are familiar with. I am sure you have been told to “go to bed early” before a big test, or “go to bed and you will think rationally in the morning.” This common message is relayed because good sleep can improve concentration and productivity. Also, good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults. In contrast, getting a lack of sleep can negatively impact some aspects of brain function to a similar degree as alcohol intoxication.
  2. Poor sleep can make you unhealthy. This is because when you get adequate sleep, your appetite decreases, you fight your cravings and eat healthy food, your metabolism increases, your motivation to exercise increases, and signals the body to store less calories of fat. One study allowed 16 adults just five hours of sleep per night for five nights. They gained an average of 1.8 pounds over the short course of this study.
  3. Good sleep can maximize athletic performance. In a study on basketball players, longer sleep was shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times and mental wellbeing.
  4. Poor sleep results in a greater risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Sleep improves your immune system.
  6. Poor sleep is linked to increased inflammation.
  7. Sleep affects emotional and social interactions. Researchers believe that poor sleep affects your ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information. Poor sleep also linked to depression.

Fun Fact: A person’s weight and the number of hours he or she sleeps determines how many calories you burn sleeping. Normally, a person burns about 0.42 calories for every pound each hour of sleep. For instance, a 150 lb. person burns about 63 calories in one hour. Therefore, get the appropriate amount of rest and you’ll burn a greater amount of calories. Considering this, maybe getting adequate sleep is a better choice than waking up early to go to the gym!


Not All Calories are Equal

I often hear, “I choose not to eat a lot, but when I do, it’s junk food. It’s the same thing as eating a lot of healthy food because I am eating the right amount of calories.” Unfortunately, this logic is flawed. For example, do you think eating 2,000 calories of cookies has the same health effects as eating 2,000 calories of chicken? Considering this scenario, it becomes clear that not all calories are equal. This is because healthy foods are absorbed differently than processed foods. For instance, if you were to have a 200 calorie piece of chocolate cake, those calories would be absorbed differently compared to 200 calories of nuts. Ultimately, the nuts are a whole grain packed with fibre, and it’s estimated that 10 to 15 percent of those calories won’t be absorbed at all. Additionally, research has shown that a diet high in processed foods could actually cause your body to store more fat, particularly around your stomach. Therefore, while the calorie intake of foods may be the same, the effects the processed foods have will negatively affect your health.


Allowing a Recovery Day

Contrary to what you may think, working out 7 days a week has worse results than working out 3-5 days a week. According to the article, “How Often Should You Exercise Per Week to Lose Weight,” “Beginners as well as more advanced athletes will see the biggest benefits if they work out three to four times a week. The main thing is that you schedule a rest day between the different sessions” (Fridrich). Specifically, exercising excessively is counter-productive because you are not giving your muscles time in order to rest and grow. In order for your muscles to grow, there are two steps. The muscles must first break down during exercise and then repair themselves to grow even larger after exercise. The repairing method is one of the most important parts, and rest is needed in order for it to be achieved. However, if you insist on exercising 7 days a week, then you must alternate the muscles that are being targeted in exercise each day. For instance, if you do abs on Monday, rather than doing them Tuesday, work on them Wednesday for optimal results. In the future, keep in mind that by exercising less, you can lose weight and build muscles more effectively.


Caloric Healthy Foods

I am a strong supporter of healthy eating. I feel that eating healthy is is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only do you feel great physically, but you feel great mentally. Fortunately, as time has passed, many people have become aware of the benefits of healthy eating. People have also come to realize that healthy food can be really great in taste. For instance, places like “Playa Bowls” and “Frutta Bowls” have become the new craze. These places sell acai bowls which have smoothie at the bottom with a layer of granola, fruit layered on top of the granola, and then a choice of toppings. The most popular toppings include peanut butter, nutella, coconut shreds, and honey. Because of these fresh, fruity ingredients, these bowls are seen as very healthy. They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats. This draws in a large amount of customers who desire amazing, healthy food. However, while it is true that most of the ingredients are healthy (despite some of the toppings), they are also extremely high in sugar and very caloric. Each bowl is said to have between 21 and 62 grams of sugar, and depending on where you go, the bowl can be anywhere between 300-1,000 calories. “Playa Bowls” products normally have around 500 calories. Rather than involving these bowls in your everyday diet, you may want to consider these bowls to be more of a “treat.” Additionally, along with acai bowls, a craze has begun for avocados. This trend was inspired because people realized how good avocados are for you and how great they taste. Unfortunately, similar to the acai bowls, avocados are healthy, but they are also very caloric. Each one contains around 200-300 calories depending on the size. So, It is important to manage your avocado portions! A healthy serving is approximately ½ or 1 avocado per day. For instance, you can still have your morning avocado toast, but if you have tacos later, try to avoid the guac!


Sleeping in a Cold Room

While it may sound crazy, the temperature of the room you sleep in has significant health benefits. Specifically, sleeping in a cold room is better for you than sleeping in a room-temperature or warm space. Because this lifestyle is so easy to maintain, promoting awareness to it is beneficial for many people.

  1. Sleeping in a cold room allows for uninterrupted sleep. This is because there is an easier production of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
  2. Sleeping in a cold room also induces sleep. When you fall asleep, the body loses some heat to the environment. This drop in temperature helps induce sleep. Therefore, sleeping in a cold room helps your body lose more heat and fall asleep more easily.
  3. Surprisingly, sleeping in a cold room can help the body lose weight. By sleeping in a cold room, there is an increased amount of brown fat. This brown fat burns calories and speeds up your metabolism. These metabolic advantages also include lessening the risk for diabetes and other metabolic problems.
  4. Sleeping in a cold room also causes anti-aging benefits. This is because sleeping in a cold room boosts the production of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone and a powerful antioxidant. As a result, the body heals, renews, and eliminates toxins from the skin. Less fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles under the eyes appear.
  5. Sleep in a comfortably cool room to allows a boost in growth hormones because healthy growth hormone secretion result. This hormone is essential for cell regeneration, muscle growth, and fracture healing. Growth hormones can also help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

It is recommended to sleep in a room that is no higher than 69 degrees, but ideally between 60-67 degrees.


Hopefully that by reading this article, you have become aware of some lifestyle choices that you can change in order to be a healthier person. While many of us try to adopt to healthier lifestyles, we are not knowledgeable enough to understand what is working and what needs to be changed. In the future, I hope you can take this information and use it to reach your goals and become your best self.