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Tiny Habits That Are Wrecking Your Health Goals

Having trouble reaching your health and wellness goals but don’t know why? You workout and eat right, but still can’t manage to lose or gain weight (depending on what your goals are). What gives??! Turns out, the solution could lie in your daily habits! Sometimes, our daily habits, no matter how tiny, can have a big influence on our bodies in the long run. Curious? Check out these habits that could be wrecking your health goals!

1. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Did you know: the amount of sleep you get per night can influence your weight? Certain studies have shown that there is a link between obesity and lack of sleep. Why? It could be because sleep affects ghrelin and leptin – the hormones responsible for regulating hunger. Also, the more that you deprive your body of sleep, the higher your cortisol levels are (a stress hormone). When you become stressed, our bodies attempt to produce serotonin to calm us down. Oftentimes, this means reaching for unhealthy foods that are high in fat or sugar. The takeaway? Sleep is your friend! Aim to get 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night.

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2. Not Drinking Enough H20

Remember that episode of Spongebob where he goes into Sandy’s dome without his water helmet on? And he becomes all dry and dehydrated? Yeah – don’t let that be you! Water has major effects on your energy levels and brain function. Even just 1-3% of body weight dehydration impairs brain function. Certain studies have shown that drinking more water can even aid in weight loss. Why? Because water boosts your satiety levels and may boost your metabolic weight. So drink up!

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3. Pigging Out on the Weekends

So you eat healthy allllll week. You eat plenty of protein and veggies. And then the weekend rolls along. And you pig out. Because it’s the weekend! The calories don’t count, right? Wrong! While it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself once in a while (see #4 below), eating tooooo much on the weekends can derail your fitness goals. AND it makes you feel icky. How can you avoid this? Start off the day with a healthy, balanced breakfast full of protein. And don’t starve yourself throughout the day in order to “save calories” for dinner. This causes you to eat more calories than you normally would have once dinner rolls along.

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4. Depriving Yourself of Your Cravings

Restricting yourself of the foods you love can make food cravings even worse. Cutting certain foods out of your diet may cause you to overeat when you do give in to the cravings. Instead of depriving yourself, give yourself permission to have a small amount of the food that you are craving. For example, a small piece of chocolate or 1 serving (1/2 cup) of ice cream.

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5. Skimping on “Me Time”

Super stressed? Well, believe it or not, but stress can play a major role in shaping waistlines. How? Daily chronic stress causes adrenaline, corticotrophin releasing hormone, and cortisol go into overdrive. This increases our appetites and causes us to overeat. The stress-induced eating and high levels of cortisol also raises blood sugar, increases food cravings, and reduces the body’s ability burn fat. The end result? A larger waistline. The takeaway? Keep your stress levels in check! Participate in stress relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, and exercise.

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6. Sitting too Much

Sure – you may exercise for an hour every day. But what do you do for the rest of the day? If you spend the rest of the day sitting, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Sitting for long periods has been associated with health problems such as obesity, increased blood pressure, and high blood sugar. While doing work, take a break from sitting every 20-30 minutes. If your work allows, invest in a standing desk. Get those steps in!

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Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from webmd.com, dailyburn.com, healthline.com, nbcnews.com, acefitness.org, mayoclinic.com

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