The hustle is real, especially when you’re trying to crush your job, care for the people you love, and build healthy habits for yourself, all at the same time. Have you ditched counting calories and started to focus on eating the right foods? Maybe you’ve dialed down the time you spend on social media and finally get enough sleep. Good for you! While you’ve probably brushed up on the basics, it’s smart to self-assess and ensure that your dedication to wellness is actually making you feel better, not worse, than you did before. Read on for six healthy habits that can actually do you harm if you take them too far.
1. Sleeping In On Weekends: Sleeping in on the weekend might feel like the best thing ever, but did you know it can make keeping a regular schedule more difficult during the week? Even more, a recent study out of the University of Colorado Boulder showed that people who spent their weekend catching up on sleep gained more weight and showed declines in insulin sensitivity when compared to others who regularly clocked quality zzz’s.
2. Avoiding the Sun: Lathering up in protective creams and staying out of the sun are good ways to protect your face from strong rays, but being overly cautious — or even fearful — of sunshine might cause you to miss out on the benefits of vitamin D, which include improved bone health, reduced risk of diabetes and the flu, a boosted mood, and more. “Nobody wants to get skin cancer, but we’ve gone from sun worship to sun dread,” a 2017 report from Harvard Medical School reads. “There is a middle way that includes using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 when you’re outside for an extended period and wearing a hat and shirt around midday. So when summer’s here, get outside and enjoy it!”
3. Crushing Tough Workouts: Have you powered through some tough workouts lately? Pushing yourself out of a comfort zone is a good way to see results, but it’s important to find balance. “We love high-intensity interval training; it’s one of our favorite workouts to boost your metabolism, raise your heart rate, and tone your total body quickly,” Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott from Tone It Up explain. “But because of the high-intensity nature of HIIT, your muscles will need plenty of time to recover! We recommend doing HIIT workouts 2-3 times per week, with lower-impact weight training or active recovery days in between.”
4. Drinking Water: Drinking your body weight in ounces of water each day is a good guideline to keeping yourself hydrated. Overdrinking H20, on the other hand, can be dangerous because it makes it impossible for your kidneys to flush out the extra water. Keep yourself in check by monitoring your intake and being mindful of seemingly random symptoms, such as headaches, feeling confused, restless or without energy, nausea and vomiting, and even muscle weakness or cramps.
5. Having Coffee Regularly: Studies show that a moderate amount of caffeine can help lift a person’s mood and elevate PYY, a hormone that may help curb cravings. Dawn and Scott rarely skip their cup of Joe, but caution against going overboard with coffee — especially if you have a habit of adding syrups, creams, or extra sugars. “We like to keep it to one up of coffee or espresso with a splash of almond milk in the morning,” they note. “After that, we recommend switching to decaf tea or kombucha.”
6. Eating Healthy Food: Healthy fat sources (such as nuts and avocado) are beneficial for your body because they satiate you to keep you feeling full for longer, protect your organs, and can help balance your blood sugar levels. However, the sheer nutrient density can be too much of a good thing when it comes to consuming the right amount of calories and fat. “Keep an eye on your portions to make sure you’re having balanced meals and not overdoing it,” Dawn and Scott advise. “We like to make homemade trail mix with 1/3 cup of unsalted nuts and divide it into individual baggies for better portion control.” Healthy meal replacement options, like bars and shakes, are worth watching out for too. While trendy treats like smoothie bowls can be amazing sources of fruits, veggies, and proteins, they also clock a lot of sugar. “We love a smoothie with clean plant-based, gluten-free protein. Have it within 30 minutes of a workout,” Dawn and Scott suggest. Low-calorie blends and truly healthy bars made from whole foods are smart choices too, especially if you’re just in the mood for a light snack.
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