Whether a person is just starting their health journey to change their habits or have been eating plenty of veggies and exercising for years, being proud of one’s self for making healthy changes is essential. However, with all of the information out there regarding one’s health, it’s sometimes too easy to fall into believing the hype about every single “healthy” habit and assuming every habit is always good. Eventually, if you overdo some of these healthy habits, you may find haven't met your goals. Even though many of these practices aren’t bad in and of themselves, they can be harmful if not applied correctly. That’s why it’s nice to stick to a healthy lifestyle that works and go on a diet that’s sustainable, such as the ketogenic diet, which we explain more in detail in the Body Reboot. For now, here are some “healthy” habits that may not be that healthy at all.
1. Eating too many carbs
Most of society believes that eating carbs is the only way to get energy, but what many people don’t realize is that carbs can be very harmful. On the keto diet, you are eating a diet that’s high in fat and low in carbohydrates. This works well for many because as Livestrong reminds us, not all carbs are created equal. Because many people have a hard time saying no to the “bad” carbs, they never end up losing weight. The keto diet takes away the cravings for unhealthy carbs and replaces eating carbs with fat.
Unfortunately, carbs' delicious taste and comforting texture comes at a caloric price. Each gram of carbs contains 4 calories, and some of your favorite carb-rich foods contain dozens of grams of carbs, which can add up to hundreds of calories. A cup of mashed potatoes, for example, has 237 calories, while a cup of whole-wheat macaroni contains 212 calories — and that's before you add in calories for toppings or sauces. Even healthy sources of carbs, like wheat tortillas, can be high in calories; an 8-inch tortilla has 146 calories.
Eating too many carbs might also negatively impact your blood sugar levels. Normally, blood sugar serves as a source of energy for your cells; your tissues can take up the sugar in your bloodstream and convert it into usable energy to fuel your active lifestyle. But refined carbs — sugar or “white” carbs like white bread and pasta — digest quickly and can cause a pronounced spike in your blood sugar levels. Your body responds by releasing hormones to lower your blood sugar levels but often ends up overcompensating and causing a blood sugar “crash” that leaves you feeling tired and hungry.
2. Working out too much
Yes, working out is generally good for a body. Though, it’s essential to gauge how you feel after working out while on the keto diet. Eating Well suggests that even if you work out regularly, you need to take breaks; otherwise, you can get burned out and potentially cause harm to your body.
Here's where the all-or-nothing mentality may hurt you. If you exercise too hard and too fast, you could end up with an injury that sidelines you, or even just a feeling that getting healthy is “too hard” and that you can't keep up. Remember to start slow, and give yourself time for the progress to show. The CDC recommends adults aim for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity weekly. But remember, any movement is better than no movement.
It's also important to mix up the types of exercise you are engaging in and allow yourself at least one rest day each week. If you just can't stay still, use these days to take a walk with a friend or do some much-needed stretching. It's a healthy reminder that exercise is more than working up a sweat and torching calories.
Huffington Post also discusses how working out too much can be hard on your body, which is why it’s a good idea to find a balance.
Taking time off from your workouts is as essential as the time you spend engaging in activities. You need rest for recovery time and can’t optimize your performance otherwise, says Rubenstein.
“Rest is relative, however, so you could be physically active every day as long as you vary the type, duration and intensity throughout the week,” he says. In general, 48 to 72 hours between similar workouts should be enough to sufficiently recover and allow for continued progress.
If you’re over 50 and just starting out, Rubenstein recommends sticking with two to three times a week for at least the first four to six weeks.
3. Sleeping too much
Isn’t it nice to catch up on those zzz’s during the weekend? We happen to think it’s nice also! Reader’s Digest argues that getting too much sleep can actually be harmful, however. The best thing is to try to sleep at regular hours every night and try not to get over 9 or 10 hours of sleep a night.
The idea of getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night might sound like a dream, but sleeping in too much can have consequences, too. For one thing, sleeping in on the weekends to make up for a week’s worth of sleepless nights can actually backfire. Your body starts to get used to its later wakeup time, so it’s harder to get to sleep on time Sunday night, and you feel drained when your alarm clock rings Monday morning. Consistently sleeping more than the recommended time can also be too much of a good thing. One study found that those who slept more than nine hours a night were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as those who got less shuteye.
4. Snacking on too many fitness bars
Fitness bars are delicious and great to eat after a workout and on the road, but Reader’s Digest says they can do more harm than good. Plus — if you’re on a low carb diet the carbs can quickly add up. Remember to check the carb count and try to go for bars that are high in fat and protein as opposed to carbohydrates.
You’ve got a pantry full of them because they’re easy to eat on the go and packed with nutrients to help you refuel after a workout, but a study in the Journal of Marketing and Research shows fitness bar fans may be derailing their weight-loss efforts. As Prevention magazine reported, people who chose a “fitness” snack over one labeled “trail mix” ate more and exercised less. “The mere association with fitness seems to make folks subconsciously think they’ve done something healthy,” according to the magazine.
5. Staying out of the sun
We’ve been taught to keep out of the sun to prevent sunburn, but Eating Well says that you need vitamin D to strengthen your bones as well as other vital body functions. In other words, you should limit your sunshine doses but still get enough to keep your body healthy!
Yes, sunburns are not good for your skin, and if you burn too often, you're risking long-term damage, and have a higher risk of eventually getting cancer. But the sun is less of an enemy than some would make it out to be. While it's certainly important to wear sunscreen, we actually need some sun exposure. The sun is the best source of vitamin D we have, helping us produce it naturally in the body.
Vitamin D is responsible for strong bones and properly functioning muscle, nervous and immune systems. It's also thought to play a part in chronic disease prevention. While your sun exposure needs vary based on skin color and climate, studies show getting 10 to 30 minutes of sun exposure several times a week makes a major difference. Try taking your lunch break outside the office or opting for the pavement over the treadmill on your next workout.
6. Taking too many vitamins
It's nice knowing we have the option to take vitamins in our modern day and age, but Reader’s Digest says it’s easy to overdo it and think you can get all of your nutrients from a supplement or two. Sometimes people on the keto diet prefer to take select supplements such as magnesium, but it’s best to check with your doctor and figure out which vitamins are best for you to take before piling up on them.
The vitamin controversy continues: While nutrition experts debate whether daily multivitamins and more targeted supplements are really necessary, more science seems to demonstrate that high-dose vitamins can backfire when it comes to your health. “Trials using four or more times the levels found in a healthy diet, meaning four times the ‘daily value,’ have tended to show excess cancers,” Tim Byers, MD, associate dean for Public Health Practice at the Colorado School of Public Health, told Weight Watchers magazine. Dr. Byers says that normal cellular growth may be “knocked off track” when people take megadoses of certain nutrients every day for years. If you take vitamins, stick to a brand that doesn’t exceed 100 percent of the daily value for any nutrient unless your doctor specifically recommends otherwise.
7. Drinking too much water
Experts urge us to drink lots of water, but Brit + Co comments that drinking too much water can make it difficult to flush out all of that water. Keep in mind, however, that on the keto diet that your kidneys will excrete water at a faster rate — so drinking too much water shouldn’t be an issue. See how your body responds and drink enough to stay hydrated.
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.
One healthy habit you can’t overdo is getting your health on track by going on the keto diet. Many people are losing weight, gaining more energy, getting control of their cholesterol, and experiencing many other benefits! Get the scoop on the ketogenic diet by checking out the Body Reboot book. Help us cover shipping, and you’ll get the book for free!
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