We know most of our readers here at Mark’s Daily Apple are well attuned to what it means to live healthily, but sometimes even the pros can make mistakes.
Read on to learn 10 ways to commit health suicide…
1. Eat Like a Bird, Drink Like a Fish
Hot chick, but her appetite stinks!
Favored by the likes of a pre-rehab Lindsay Lohan, this diet calls for you to fast all day in order to “spend” your calorie allowance on sugar-laden cocktails in the evening. While followers of this so-called diet say it serves two purposes – allowing them to maintain a slender frame and get drunk more quickly – it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this eating pattern results in severe deficiencies in protein, vital vitamins, nutrients and fat, all of which can up the risk of osteoporosis and other diseases of the so-called skinny fat .
2. Do the Same Thing and Expect Different Results
Challenging at first, but after a few weeks, these steps will be a cinch!
While with fitness, consistency is often key, doing the same old activities day in and day out won’t get you the results you’re looking for (and will likely bore you to tears). The mechanism behind this? When your body is instructed to do the same thing over and over – like running that 3 mile loop on the nature trail – it quickly grows savvy to what you’re doing and comes up with ways to complete the exercise more efficiently and therefore, with less exertion. To ensure that you are progressing with your workouts, try mixing it up : Swap your usual bike ride for an hour of pilates or sub your ho-hum half hour elliptical routine for 15 minutes of interval bike sprints followed by a 15 minute uphill speed walk. Not only will it challenge muscles you forgot you ever had, it’ll also challenge your mind and reinvigorate your desire to hit the gym (or track…or trail…or studio).
Oh, and for those of you still sitting on the couch when you could be moving about outside… that’s not going to get you in shape either.
3. Eat Things You Can’t Pronounce
All this for a supposedly “fresh” cake!
If you’ve taken a look at a nutrition label recently and walked away confused, consider yourself completely normal. You see, these days only an organic chemist with an uncanny interest in the food biologies could possibly make sense of all the HFCS, trans fats, and other highly unpronounceable additives that make up the majority of (processed) foods in the supermarket. And, while we will be the first to admit that there have been numerous positive technological and scientific advances made in almost every realm of life, when it comes to food, natural is best.
4. All Work and No Play…
Not only will all work and no play make you a dull (boy or girl), keeping your nose to the grind can actually be counterproductive. In a study conducted by Air New Zealand of travelers flying between Auckland and Los Angeles, it was determined  that travelers were 82% more productive following a vacation, and the benefits didn’t stop there: Study participants also reported getting more high-quality sleep following a vacation. However, the researchers note that more than 43% of Americans had no plans to take a vacation in 2007 due to work pressures. Need further incentive to shut down the computer and take a break? A 2006 study profiled  in The Sunday Times finds that the percentage of married couples citing overwork for the basis of their divorce has more than tripled in recent years! The solution? Slow down, relax, unwind and leave work on time.
5. Fat Fighter
Low-fat, no-fat, all FAD! We’ve been preaching the value of fat  for quite some time but we’ll say it again: Dietary fat is necessary to support biological functions! According  to a recent study, for example, the fat found in fish oil (Omega 3 fatty acids) are particularly integral in reducing the presence of inflammation in the arteries (which, in turn, is associated with increased coronary risk). Our advice? Don’t fear the fat!
6. Believe Everything You Read
Are you sure you believe everything you read?
According to the fine folks over at Consumer Reports, the average American is exposed to some 247 advertising messages per day. However, other sources  peg the number at as many as 3,000 messages per day. How many of these pertain to food and beverage isn’t exactly clear, but you need only turn on your television to see that we are literally bombarded with messages about the latest and greatest foods. But consider this – how many of these advertisements are dedicated to declaring the value of spinach? How about good ol’ cabbage? The point we’re making here is that it is a very rare instance that the types of food you should be eating are advertised on television, including those items that are marketed as “health foods” in order to take advantage of the latest health buzz. Eschew the hype, the latest fads and diet trends. You don’t need that roller coaster ride to nowhere.
7. Excuses, Excuses, Excuses
Matt Scott puts your best excuses in perspective!
Too old? Too out of shape? Too busy? Too sore (at least according to some of you!)? Sometimes the easiest thing about working out is making up an excuse to get out of it! We’ve talked about this one at length in a previous Top 10 post  but we’ll say it again: The time spent convincing yourself (or your poor personal trainer) that you simply can’t make it to the gym today could have been better spent squeezing in a quick workout. So quit resolving your cognitive dissonance with excuses and self-justification, and instead get out there and, we hate to say it, just do it. For more than one reason it is a much healthier way to be happy with your decisions.
8. Risky Business
If this sounds like an invitation, then you might want to heed this warning.
Despite common depictions, early man was far from a numbskull (at least, if the insurance ads are to be believed!) Primal man  was most certainly attuned to his surroundings and was skillful in his ability to avoid trauma and other events likely to endanger health. Today, however, we often fail to take these factors into account and throw caution to the wind either through laziness or the pursuit of a cheap thrill. In today’s society we have all the equipment and knowledge necessary to safeguard our lives and yet at times we simply just don’t use our heads. Don’t be a numbskull and avoid risky business!
9. Salads are for Sissies
Think you’re more of a meat and potatoes man? Then chances are you’re also a man who is constipated and severely lacking in a number of essential vitamins and nutrients. But isn’t a man that orders a salad a sissy? Well, probably no more than a man who has love handles from eating a mountain of mac and cheese or a guy whose hair and skin is pale, sallow and generally unattractive as a result of a vitamin deficiency. Because, and remember this, there are far more women out there who’d prefer a man with an insatiable appetite for Steak-umms  than one with six pack abs and a chiseled chest, right ladies… ladies…wait, what?
10. Hospital Helper
If you had a 10% risk of picking up a nasty, potentially deadly condition just from visiting a place, would you want to go? What if we told you that place was a hospital? Yes, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, approximately one in 10 patients develops a nosocomial infection during hospitalization, that is an infection that they did not have prior to checking in. While this is certainly an extreme example, the reality is an over reliance on the modern healthcare system  can be…well, deadly. In fact, the majority of people enter hospitals for ailments that could be better treated (when caught in their early stages) through lifestyle modifications such as exercise or a healthier diet. Our advice? Invest in your health now – by taking care of your body, going for regular health screenings and generally trying to live the healthiest, cleanest life possible – and you’ll be far less likely to languish in a hospital bed.
KateMonkey , tanakawho , Waldo Jaquith , MyBarina , Daniel Y. Go , VermontJm , Vicki & Chuck Rogers , SiFu Renka , Laura Mary  Flickr Photos (CC)
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