As 2017 winds down, it’s time to reflect and take stock in what you’ve done this year. What kinds of choices have you made? Probably some good and some not so good.
Don’t beat yourself up over the not so good. Instead, vow not to repeat them.
Let’s take a look at the 10 worst offenses you may have committed this past year.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lighting up causes almost 500,000 deaths per year. That adds up to nearly one in five deaths. Nobody said that quitting was easy. But if you’ve been smoking in 2017, giving it up should be your number one goal for 2018.
2. Held grudges
You may think that staying upset with someone feels good. But deep down, it neither feels good nor is good. Research from the Medical College of Georgia found that people who held grudges had an increased risk of a slew of serious health problems, including heart attacks, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, arthritis, and chronic pain.1
3. Skipped sunscreen
A healthy glow is anything but. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. That’s over 5 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer and over a million people living with melanoma. Unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Not to mention, the sun ages your skin. Use sunscreen every time you’re outdoors.
4. Ordered too much takeout
An occasional takeout meal when you’re desperate? Okay. Ordering restaurant food every night? Not okay. Research done at Tufts University found that 92 percent of restaurant entrees exceeded recommended calorie requirements for a single meal. And some entrees, without beverages, appetizers, or desserts topped the caloric requirements for an entire day. The worst offenders? American, Chinese and Italian, with a mean of about 1,500 calories per meal. We’re full just thinking about it.2
5. Lied to your doctor
Nobody likes to admit that they ate too many gummy bears after dinner or threw back too many gin and tonics at the last office party. But if you dupe your doctor, she won’t be able to help you. Fess up about medications, eating and exercise habits, how you’re feeling mentally, and, well, everything in order to get the best care possible.
6. Skipped meals
Everyone skips a meal now and then. But better not make a habit of it. Skipping meals is associated with excess bodyweight, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol. And a study funded by the NIH found that men who skip breakfast had almost a 30 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who ate the morning meal daily.3
7. Drove distracted
This includes anything that takes attention from driving, including talking on your phone, eating, drinking, fiddling with the stereo. Or, yes, texting, which is the worst offense. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting takes your eyes off the road for five seconds, which, at 55 mph, is like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. Distracted driving claims about 3,500 lives each year and injures almost 400,000. Don’t take your eyes off the road. Ever.
8. Weighed yourself every day
Dozens of things affect the scale, including hydration, what you ate recently, the climate, whether you’ve gone to the bathroom (TMI!?). A few pounds here and there do not necessarily signify you’ve gained fat. If the scale’s a source of stress, put it away for awhile. Use other things to measure progress, such as how many stairs you can climb without getting winded or how your pants fit.
9. Skimped on sleep
Late-night Facebook postings, fixating about day-to-day problems, even chronic pain can keep you up at night. But getting a full night sleep is crucial, particularly for your heart health. Research on more than 3,000 participants found that those sleeping fewer than six hours a night were twice as likely as those sleeping six to eight hours to experience a stroke or heart attack and 60 percent more likely to have congestive heart failure.4
10. Beat yourself up
If you’re like most people, you’re probably way too hard on yourself, particularly if you make a mistake. But don’t be. Change takes time. And we’re here to help inspire your journey to a better you. Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll help guide you every step of the way. You’ll enjoy tips and tools backed by sound research, quality supplements trusted by doctors, and exclusive coupons for serious savings.
Being better in 2018 just got a little easier!
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1. Messias E, Saini A, Sinato P, Welch S. Bearing grudges and physical health: relationship to smoking, cardiovascular health and ulcers. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2010;45(2):183-7. PMID: 19387519.
2. Urban LE, Weber JL, Heyman MB, et al. Energy contents of frequently ordered restaurant meals and comparison with human energy requirements and U.S. Department of Agriculture database information: A Multisite Randomized Study. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016;116(4):590-8.e6. PMID: 26803805.
3. Cahill LE, Chiuve SE, Mekary RA, et al. Prospective study of breakfast eating and incident coronary heart disease in a cohort of male US health professionals. Circulation. 2013;128(4):337-43. PMID: 23877060.
4. Aggarwal S, Loomba RS, Arora RR, Molnar J. Associations between sleep duration and prevalence of cardiovascular events. Clin Cardiol. 2013;36(11):671-6. PMID: 24122853.