5 Bad Habits that are Stopping You from reaching your Fitness Goals

pretty woman doing pilates

Bad habits are something that everyone has, whether you bite your fingernails, indulge in a little too much partying, impulse shop or have been smoking since you were 16. When it comes to achieving a personal fitness goal, bad habits can really cramp your style. There are a number of different aspects that need to be considered when setting a fitness goal, from the kind of lifestyle you lead to the type of food you eat and what you actually want to achieve from improving your fitness levels. Below are just a few of the bad habits that you may want to think about before embarking on your fitness overhaul.

The Wrong Type of Food

When you set out on a fitness health kick, the first thing people generally focus on is banishing bad foods from their diet. While this is great in theory, it can often be harder to kick your junk food habit than first anticipated. The first thing you need to do is become a little more knowledgeable about food and what types are actually good for you. With fancy labelling and catchy slogans, like “99% fat free”, it can be rather confusing to figure out what’s right for you. Everyone’s individual needs vary, so it is best to talk to a dietician or other health professional.

Smoking

If you currently smoke or are a reformed smoker, you’ll know that this is one nasty habit that is possibly the hardest to break. People can smoke for in excess of 10 or 20 years before they decide to ditch this bad habit to reach their fitness goals, making the addiction even stronger. Years ago, there was only the option of quitting cold turkey, but nowadays smokers can throw this habit aside by using quitting aids, such as gum, patches or even electronic cigarettes. For many smokers, the actual action and socialising aspect of smoking is what they miss, rather than their nicotine fix, and this is where ‘vaping’ comes into play. A number of companies, including BLACKHAWX, have released a range of nicotine and non-nicotine e-cigs, which are better for your overall health and the environment, assisting many reformed smokers into achieving their fitness goals.

Failure to Set Goals

Over the years, many studies have shown that people who set personal goals are more likely to achieve the task at hand. Whether you want to build a better career, focus on your fitness or get rid of clutter around the house, setting short term goals is an important step to reaching your final goal. When it comes to your personal fitness, health or wellbeing, it is of the utmost importance that you always set realistic goals for yourself. Comparing yourself to gym junkies or people who have been committed to maintaining a good fitness levels throughout the entirety of their lives can actually hinder your ability to achieve success. Set short term goals first, such as how many times you aim to exercise per week or which bad habit you are giving up first, in order to pave the road to reaching your own fitness goals.

Partying

We all know that partying is lots of fun and a great way to socialise with friends or meet new people, but it can also prohibit you from reaching your fitness goals. Binge drinking has horrific side effects to one’s health, particularly when combined with sleep deprivation, inhalation of second hand smoke and, of course, hangovers. If you’re serious about reaching your fitness goals, keep the outrageous partying to a minimum – you never know what other fun things you’ll find to do when you’re not hung over all weekend!

Procrastination

This is one major bad habit that is often overlooked when setting out to achieve any sort of goal, whether it is work, fitness or family orientated. Procrastination prevents you from achieving your goals and can actually send you in the complete wrong direction. Goal setting does help to prevent procrastination, but it is also important that you remember to constantly regain focus on what it is you first wished to achieve.

Always remember, setting goals is important for achieving your desired results. Becoming a fitter person doesn’t necessarily mean giving up the things you love, just replacing them for a healthier option. So next time you go to pick up a cigarette, try vaping instead or when you reach for that candy bar, replace it with a healthy bowl of fruit salad.

Bad eating habits can affect everyone – even avid runners

running at sunrise

Conventional wisdom says you can pretty much eat whatever you want if you’re an avid runner, as your body is burning off all of the excess calories. But is that really true? New research now suggests that avid runners need to pay attention to their diets as well when it comes to the potential for heart disease.

As a 10-mile-a-day runner, Dave McGillivray thought he could eat whatever he wanted without worrying about his heart. “I figured if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything,” said McGillivray, who is 59.

But a diagnosis six months ago of coronary artery disease shocked McGillivray, a finisher of 130 marathons and several Ironman-distance triathlons. Suddenly he regretted including a chocolate-chip-cookie recipe in his memoir about endurance athletics.

“My first reaction was, I was embarrassed,” he said.

As race director of the Boston Marathon, McGillivray is a high-profile exhibit in a growing medical case against the devil-may-care diets of many marathoners. Their high-mileage habit tends to lower their weight, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, leading them (and sometimes their doctors) to assume their cardiac health is robust regardless of diet.

“‘I will run it off’—that attitude clearly prevails among the marathoners themselves, almost sometimes to an arrogance,” said Paul Thompson, a veteran marathoner who is chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital.

A growing body of research shows the error of that thinking. A study published in the current edition of Missouri Medicine found that 50 men who had run at least one marathon a year for 25 years had higher levels of coronary-artery plaque than a control group of sedentary men. A British Medical Journal study published this year compared the carotid arteries of 42 Boston Marathon qualifiers with their much-less active spouses. “We hypothesized that the runners would have a more favourable atherosclerotic risk profile,” says the article. As it turned out, that hypothesis was wrong.

Many assumed that extreme-endurance sports could help prevent heart disease, but now the research suggests this extreme activity may actually cause problems.

We should be careful of course to jump to conclusions after several studies, but certainly this raises questions and challenges old assumptions.

It also brings us back to some common sense notions that moderation in diet and excercise can be the best combination. Pushing anything to the limit – whether its your diet or your activities, can lead to risks.

Spices and hot sauces can replace salt in your diet

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For many people, salt is a huge part of their diet, and cutting back can be very difficult. Unfortunatley, when battling heart issues or high blood pressure, cutting back on sodium intake is critical.

The firts step is identifying all the foods in your diet loaded with sodium. You might be shocked as to how many foods, particularly procressed foods and breads, are loaded with sodium. Things like soups are obvious culprits.

Then you need to consider how much salt you use with cooking. And this is one of the toughest adjustments for people, as salt makes food taste great.

But there are alternatives. This article has the excellent suggestion of using spices and hot sauces to augment the flavor of foods.

I’ve been using hot sauce for years. It works great with many dishes, and soup happens to be one of them. A bland lentil soup for example can taste incredibly good with some chili pepper sauce. Even with canned soup, you can buy the low sodium options and then splash in some hot sauce to make it taste better.

So educate yourself, but also be open to new flavors. You cna eat healthier but also make things more delicious.

Handy sports betting tips

Ubaldo Jimenez Cleveland Indians home dubut

For those who do like at least one sport, once you have chosen a suitable one to bet on, make sure that you know how much you can afford to wager each month – and do not exceed this amount, even if you experience a large loss or win. Remaining in control of your betting in the wake of this is what separates the smart, responsible gambling punter from the addict. The next handy tip would be to study the actual betting, as understanding the sport is only half the information you need. Learn about the different types of sports bets you can place, how the bookies odds work and how you work out the “value” of a potential bet – as all these will help you maximise your potential winnings.

This may seem like quite a lot of information to take on board, but most types of gambling will involve some form of learning process. For example, if you are keen to play blackjack you can do so on your phone from a mobile casino such as online casino Canada these days, but you will still have to learn how the game works – including both the player and dealer advantage and when you should split your starting hand. Most casino games will need to be learned, but there are always slot games that can be played with no prior knowledge or instruction. This has led to slot machines becoming the favored casino games amongst casual players, with the jackpot and low-cost betting simply being enjoyable bonuses.

How to control nervous sweats

professor in front of class

Anxiety sweats have the ability to affect us at the worst of times. Hence the name anxiety. You could be preparing for a massive presentation at your new job. It’s the first one you’ve had to do and you spent all week preparing for it. However, despite being a 10 degree temperature outside, you notice a sudden dampness under your pits before you’ve even made it to the office. The mere thought of having to speak in front of people has turned you into a sweaty nervous mess. The enemy is now spreading fast and your levels of stress is increasing. You consider calling in sick, but your boss has just noticed you and given you the big thumbs up. What a jerk.

Does this scenario sound familiar? At least the sweating and the nervous part of it? Hyperhidrosis is a common condition that affects more people than you know. The reasons as to why people experience excess sweating is different for each. Some only need to imagine having a conversation with people and they start sweating. If you’re at your wits end and unable to control nervous sweating, here’s some tips to help you out.

Wear breathable clothing

When you’re nervous your body temperature tends to increase resulting in those undesirable wet patches. The level of sweat you produce can reduce significantly if you are wearing clothing that is light and breathable. Try to avoid cheap synthetic materials opting for fabrics like cotton and silk.

Recognise your triggers

Anxiety attacks are overwhelming and besides sweating, you are likely to experience tightening in the chest, overactive heart rate, intrusive or unwanted thoughts, obsessive thinking or compulsive behaviour patterns. If you can recognise a few of the things that trigger your anxiety, find ways to redirect your focus on anything other than how you are feeling. This may be talking to others, exercise, playing or listening to music, watching a movie and painting a picture to hang in the hallway.

Adopt deep breathing techniques

This sounds far too simple to be effective, however breathing is a calming technique that cools down the body and reduces the need to sweat. By sitting down and taking a deep breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, you’ll begin to notice results within a few minutes.

Clinical Strength Antiperspirant

If you’re currently using a deodorant over an antiperspirant, it’s time to make the switch. Along with sweating, also comes body odour. An unpleasant aroma that is not only embarrassing but makes you even more anxious in social and professional environments. Curb this with a strong antiperspirant like Rexona Clinical for Men, which will block the pores stopping excessive sweating in its tracks.

Watch what you eat

An overlooked cause for anxiety sweats is eating foods that your body can’t tolerate. For many people this may mean dairy products or gluten. By eating foods that make your body unhappy, it has to work overtime to protect your tissue from the harmful components of the food your body disagrees with. When your immune system kicks into overdrive, your sympathetic nervous system mistakes this for stress, which activates stress coping mechanisms like sweat. Not sure if you’re intolerant to anything? Pay a visit to your naturopath, what they say might surprise you.

While there are plenty of quick fixes to excessive sweating like Botox and anti-depressants, make sure you talk to your doctor before deciding whether these options are right for you.

12 Foods that Will Lower Your Cholesterol

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Medication isn’t the only way to fight cholesterol. You can help control your levels by eating foods that are linked to decreasing cholesterol. Medical News Today lists the following scales as an indicator of high cholesterol levels. If you’re above 200 mg/dl, you should consider changing your eating habits.

Total Cholesterol: Milligrams/Deciliter (mg/dL)

• Less than 200 mg/dL – Desirable
• 200 to 239 mg/dL – Borderline High
• 240 mg/dL and Above – High

Medical News Today also lists the following scale as an indicator of high LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is often referred to as the “bad” type of cholesterol. It’s important to keep these levels low as well.

LDL Cholesterol Millimoles/Liter (mmol/liter)

• Less than 5 mmol/liter – Optimum
• 5 to 6.4 mmol/liter – Mildly High
• 6.5 to 7.8 mmol/liter – Moderately High
• 7.9 mmol/liter and Above – Very High

You can keep both of these numbers at a good level with a low cholesterol diet and LDL reduction. Here are a few foods that can help get the job done.

Spinach

Sautéed and raw are the most common ways to eat and prepare spinach. Saute and eat it as a side to a protein like salmon or chicken. Then anytime you can, substitute lettuce, which has few nutritional values, for spinach. And if raw or sautéed spinach isn’t your thing, blend it into a fruit smoothie in small quantities.

Oats

Check the labels of your favorite cereals and select the one with the highest amount of natural oats. Or go big with a bowl of straight oatmeal in the morning. You can also make oats a side item by tossing them in a cup of yogurt or a smoothie or make them the main ingredient in oatmeal cookies and snackbars.

Red Wine

Red wine is good for fighting cholesterol but it must be done in moderate. One glass a day is recommended for woman, and two for men. When sitting down for dinner and a drink, select a glass of red over a white wine, a beer, or a cocktail.

Lentils

If you want to sneak some lentils into your diet, find soup and casserole recipes that incorporate them. Or mix them with rice and stuff them into vegetables like peppers. Or you can simply add them to a salad or bake them into a loaf of bread.

Tea

Oolong tea is said to fight against cholesterol as well as obesity, diabetes, and eczema. It can also boost the immune system giving it an added bonus.

Chocolate

Dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate if you’re looking for health benefits. To get the health benefits of eating chocolate, you can’t overdo it. Eat a piece of chocolate a day, not an entire candy bar.

Avocado

Avocados can be crushed into guacamole and added to pretty much any food. Avocados also make great replacements for mayo on sandwiches and in egg salads. They’re tasty in salads or sushi and dishes both hot and cold, making the avocado recipes almost endless.

Garlic

Garlic is a seasoning that can make your food full of flavor and cholesterol levels better. Try garlic roasting your proteins or mixing garlic to make a spread for bread and pita chips. Or chop up garlic and add it on top of side dishes or in soups.

Salmon

Salmon can be paired with a few other items on this list to make a full meal (with sautéed spinach, in a salad with avocado, served over lentils). Bake the salmon over a cedar plank to get the best flavor out of this healthy, fatty fish.

Fruits

Certain fruits can also help lower cholesterol levels. Look for citrus fruits, grapefruits and oranges, as well as grapes, strawberries, and apples when finding healthy choices.

Edamame

Edamame, or fresh green soybeans are a great steamed snack. Or they can be added to side dishes, salads, stews, and stir-frys.

Nuts

Snack healthy; put away the chips and reach for walnuts, cashews, and almonds instead. These mixed nuts fight cholesterol and are a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, and phytochemicals that are linked to a healthy heart.

What Not To Eat

These 12 foods are easy to prepare and mix into your regular eating habits. Make sure to select those healthy items instead of foods that raise your cholesterol:

• Egg Yolks
• Butter
• Shrimp
• Cheese
• Fast Foods
• Processed Meats

So if your cholesterol levels are getting a bit too high, considering changing your diet and incorporating these 12 foods that lower cholesterol.

Author Bio: Samantha Ducati is a loving wife and a mother of 2. She loves reading and writing so much that during her free time she writes about anything and believes that a pen is mightier than a sword.

People eat more when they’re together

woman having upscale lunch

Married people are more prone to obesity. That’s one of the negative health realities of marriage, though there are positives as well. In trying to understand why this is so, here’s an interesting nugget from a recent article.

People eat more when they’re together. A 1992 study that asked participants to record their food consumption for a week found that eating with one companion increased meal size by 41 percent compared with eating alone, while breaking bread with six or more people increased an individual’s caloric intake by a whopping 76 percent. Other studies have found somewhat more modest increases, but the effect is remarkably consistent.

Why do we eat more when we eat with others? It may be a result of social norms. Communal meals tend to last longer than eating solo, and people who sit in front of food can’t resist eating it. Another possible explanation is our habit of mimicking our dining companions: When they take a bite, we take a bite. More people means more cues to eat. The habit may, alternatively, lie deep in evolutionary history. Chimpanzees and marmosets spontaneously share food, probably to help form social bonds. From the innocent, altruistic act grew a regrettable human custom. Perhaps you feed (and feed, and feed) your spouse to strengthen your marital bond, even if you’re ultimately shortening its duration.

Think about your own eating habits. You might be able to make a real difference in your food consumption and overall health just by being more conscious of who you eat with and how often you do that. Finding more opportunities to eat alone can potentially have significant results!

Adriana Lima – Workout warrior

Everybody needs to work out! Even supermodels like Adriana Lima.

Difference between the DASH and Paleo Diet

fruit and vegetables

Knowing that the diet industry is a billion dollar business, it is hard to sometimes trust which diet plan is the best one to take on. Every diet plan out there says it is the best one. But how can that be true. As we all know, it is impossible for them all to be the best, plus, each person is a unique human being with their own needs and inspiration.

There are two diets out there, though, that have done plenty of good for many people wishing to lose weight: the DASH Diet and the Paleo Diet. These two diets have things in common and aspects that differ. Keep reading to learn more.

The Paleo Diet

Developed on the belief that we should be eating like they did in the Caveman Era, the Paleo Diet (also known as the Paleolithic Diet) is all about consuming that which Mother Nature gave us directly. For example, if the cavemen back in the day could have fished it, foraged it, or hunted it, chances are you are allowed to eat it on the Paleo Diet. Foods such as fish and grass-fed beef as well as gatherable foods like vegetables, nuts, roots and fruit are allowed. What’s not allowed? Pretty much anything that is of today’s way of eating is off the list. Things like whole grains, beans, dairy, salt, oils and refined sugars are a definite no-no.

Why is it believed that this is a good way to fight the bulge and obesity-related diseases? Experts have come to understand that the processing of our food in our agricultural society is not good for the body. In fact, some believe that we as humans were never meant to consume things like bread, donuts, or cake. A possible concern of the Paleo Diet is the overeating of lean meat which could be an issue for people that have heart problems.

The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet

This diet is considered by the U.S. News and World Report to be the Best Diet of 2012. That is pretty amazing considering all of the diets out there, so there must be something impressive with this way of losing weight and getting healthier.

Considered to be the diet of choice for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as well as the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association, the DASH Diet has experts on its side. One of the main reasons this might be the case is because the DASH Diet is not really a diet…it is a change in life for the better. Created to assist people with increasing their cardiovascular health, the diet doesn’t stop you from living. Instead, it has minimal restrictions and is basic to do, helping people integrate it into their life with ease.

The main diet consists of eating plenty of vegetables and fruit along with low or nonfat dairy, whole grains, nuts, beans, lean poultry, meat and fish as well as whole grains. What to stay away from consists of red meat, refined sugar drinks and salt.

Bio

Kishana Sainte writes on fitness, health & lifestyle, as well as diet and weight loss articles on behalf of MyDocHub.com, a trusted online doctor reviews and medical information website.

Workout programs and losing weight

women in workout class

There are many good reasons to add workout programs to your daily routine. The best reason involves improving your health of course, and that should always be the top priority when trying to craft a workout program that’s best for you. Other reasons usually have to do with appearance and losing weight. For many of us, that’s usually the biggest motivator, unless of course we’re dealing with a health crisis like high blood pressure that forces us to become focused on our health.

As you consider different workout options, you need to be honest with yourself about what exactly you want to achieve, and that will help you make better decisions.

But, choosing workouts is only part of the process. When considering your health and your weight, your diet can be just as important, if not more important, than your workout routine. The harsh reality is that for many people, exercise will not make them thinner. The fact is that many people end up eating more when they exercise. Perhaps they want to rewards themselves, or maybe the workouts make them hungrier. So while they might be getting healthier, these people who don’t consider diet and start eating more might actually gain weight.

For many of you, hearing this may be frustrating, but you have to understand that there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to weight loss. Drugs are a bad idea, and niche diets just don’t last.

The key is developing a sound plan that includes exercise along with a rational, sustainable diet plan that feeds your hunger but also helps you keep the pounds off.

So, when considering workout options, keep in mind that there’s much more to consider. For example, a daily walking routine, combined with a sensible approach to reducing your sugar intake makes a ton of sense. Also, replace processed foods and white flower bread with more fruits and vegetables and whole grain products is also a great idea. Take a more holistic approach, and you’ll be much more successful in achieving your weight loss goals.