There are eighteen days left in 2016 and now is a great time to start choosing your new year’s resolution. Most people choose theirs on New Year’s Eve (or on January 1st when they’re regretting some poor choices made the night before). Choosing your resolution earlier and giving yourself time to prep and plan for it will give you a much better chance of success this time around! What changes would you like to make in 2017 to improve your health? Here are some suggestions of bad habits to break in the coming year. For more guidance, see a naturopathic doctor and attend my talk (sign up here) in the new year, which will address these and many other bad habits and how naturopathic medicine can support you in your new year’s resolutions!
1) Midnight snacking – Metabolism drops by about 10 to 20% during sleep. This means that anything your eat before bedtime may not be metabolized appropriately and can lead to weight gain, elevated cholesterol, blood sugar dysregulation, heart burn and indigestion. It is best to avoid foods 4 hours before bed. Try this and see how your weight and other aspects of your health can change.
2) Falling asleep in front of the TV/phone/tablet – You may think you fall asleep more easily in front of the TV/phone/tablet but in the long run, this habit can have negative effects. Your body gets used to this habit and as you continue to do this, it may become more and more difficult to sleep. Also, the quality of sleep you get when you’re exposed to sound and light from the TV is poor. This stimulation during sleep can affect melatonin production which can lead to insomnia in the long run. It can also affect stages of sleep, preventing you from attaining deeper, more restful sleep. It is best to sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room, away from the electronics.
3) Slouching – Whether in class or at the office, poor posture can be the start of joint and muscle issues for years to come. Even a slight slouching can cause muscles and joints to compensate for the poor form, leading to aches, pains and could eventually lead to arthritic problems. Slouching can even affect your breathing and internal organs negatively. Work at sitting up straight, joints at right angles, shoulders back, with proper back support.
4) Head-to-toe fragrances – Many people these days have chemical sensitivities. It could be your classmate, co-worker, or you could be the one reacting to the fragrances you wear. The artificial (and sometimes natural) fragrances in products can lead to headaches, breathing issues and many other symptoms in people who are sensitive to them. Many public places have implemented fragrance-free policies and many companies have introduced fragrance-free products from soap and lotions to laundry detergent.
5) Chewing “sugar-free” gum – Although it is a good idea to limit your intake of refined sugars, the artificial sweeteners used in “sugar free” and “diet” products are an even bigger problem. These sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, etc.) have been linked to several health problems, including weight gain and some forms of cancer. It is best to have foods sweetened with a small amount of natural sugar such as honey or maple syrup rather than have the artificially sweetened foods.