I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.

Followers

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

6 BAD HABITS (AND HOW TO KICK 'EM)

Nail Nibbling

Why you have to stop Biting your nails makes for ugly hands and over time can interfere with normal nail growth, damage the outer layer of your teeth, and cause nail deformities such as split nails. Harmful bacteria such as staphylococcus also live underneath nails — and you don't want to chew on that. In a 1995 study, researchers found that 19 to 29% of young adults and 5% of older adults bite their nails. Your short-term action plan: Go for a professional manicure once every 2 or 3 weeks, suggests Angelica Kaner, PhD, a clinical professor at Yale University Medical School, because when your nails look pretty, you'll be less likely to snack on them — especially after you've spent $25-plus to make them beautiful. Or try a product such as MAVALA Stop for Nail Biting and Thumb Sucking, which makes nails and cuticles taste terrible. At the very least, keep your nails trimmed short — you'll have less nail to bite, and that harmful bacteria has less space to grow. Your long-term action plan: Nail biting is a common nervous habit that is often an expression of some deeper anxiety. "Ask yourself why you're feeling anxious," Kaner says. If you can't figure it out on your own, consider getting professional help. Because exploratory therapy can take some time, Kaner suggests substituting a new, healthy behavior — instead of biting your nails, rub in a cuticle cream or oil to improve the appearance of your nails and fingers, or keep healthy snacks on hand, such as apples or carrot sticks, to satisfy the need to crunch without destroying your nails.
Dental Disregard


Why you have to stop: Flossing helps prevent gum disease and keeps your teeth and gums looking good, but it may also stave off non-mouth-related diseases: A 2005 study in the journal Circulation showed that older adults with higher levels of four gum disease-causing bacteria in their mouths also tend to have thicker carotid arteries, which raise the risk of stroke and heart attack. And people with gum disease have a 63% higher risk of pancreatic cancer, according to a 2007 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. That's scary business, because 90% of dentists say that most patients don't floss regularly. Your short-term action plan: Buy a floss-holding device, such as the Butler GUM Flossmate Floss Holder, to make the process easier and faster. In an Indiana University study, 50% of previous nonflossers were doing so regularly 6 months after introducing floss to their routine; 85% of the new flossers used a holding device — only 15% preferred doing without the aid. Your long-term action plan: Incorporate flossing into your morning routine before or after brushing. "Think of it like taking a shower," says Steven R. Fox, DDS, in private practice in Manhattan. "It's something you should do every day." Soon your mouth will start to feel dirty if you forget to floss. And according to the American Dental Association, it's necessary to floss only once a day. Try the waxed kind for more comfort or flavors such as mint or bubble gum to motivate you.

Figure Fixating




Why you have to stop: The number on the scale is exactly that — just a number. It doesn't reflect how healthy you are or how much of your weight is lean muscle. Plus, the scale can't tell whether you're carrying extra weight on your hips, rear end, or the more dangerous belly area, which is a major factor in your risk of heart disease. In fact, waist-to-hip ratio is a better predictor of heart disease than body mass index, according to a study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Your short-term action plan: Step off the scale and say hello to your new, improved fat-measuring tool: a tape measure. Measure around your stomach, hips, thighs, and upper arms once a week and record the results. "A quarter-pound fat loss may not register on the scale but could mean millimeters on a tape measure," says Cynthia Sass, RD, nutrition director at Prevention. Keep a close eye on your (hopefully shrinking) waist to sustain the right goals, which are losing fat in high-risk areas such as the tummy, lowering your risk of heart disease (a study from Harvard University found that women whose waists were 38 inches or larger had more than three times the risk of heart disease than women with waists 28 inches or less), and improving your overall health — not just shedding pounds. Your long-term action plan: Once you've achieved a more healthy physique, bring back the scale. "Weighing yourself daily really helps prevent weight regain," Sass says. Keep an eye on your fitness level by watching how your clothes fit and how much longer or harder you can exercise than when you started. Shift your focus to other health issues such as cholesterol (it should be less than 200 mg/dL), blood pressure (systolic blood pressure should be less than 120 and diastolic blood pressure should be less than 80), energy level, and quality of sleep. These are better indicators of your overall health than body weight, shape, or size, says Sass. (Keep up with these health benchmarks by logging them in My Health Tracker. Still, keep up the tape measure so you can continue to monitor your fat levels.



Fridge Raiding








Why it's bad for you: Eating late at night in itself isn't bad for you, but chances are you're eating cold pizza slices instead of apple slices. Adding those extra calories does the late-night damage, according to a 2005 Oregon Health & Science University study. Snacking late at night can also exacerbate symptoms for those prone to heartburn, as lying down after eating makes it easier for stomach acid to flow into the esophagus. Your short-term action plan: Eating late at night is often done because of boredom, not hunger, says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Fit to Live and an expert on nutrition and metabolism. Once the craving hits focus on an activity that engages you until it's time to go to sleep, such as e-mail, a crossword puzzle, or meditation. Peeke says it's also common for people to chow down while watching TV. In fact, a study from the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found that people who were allowed to eat as many potato chips as they wanted ate 44% more chips while watching Letterman than while not watching TV. Keep your hands busy while you watch by folding laundry, using your BlackBerry, or knitting — that way you won't be tempted to break out the Ruffles. Your long-term action plan: Pretty simple — work on going to bed earlier, which might be easier if you can't wait to dive back in to the great new Tom Clancy novel you're reading. You'll limit the time you have between dinner and bed for snacking, and your hormones will be optimally balanced to help you combat cravings. A University of Chicago study found that sleep-deprived subjects had lower levels of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, and higher levels of ghrelin, which triggers hunger. Figure out when and where you're snacking, and try to mix up the situation. If entering your house through the kitchen always leads you to a pint of ice cream in the freezer, come in through the garage door instead — force yourself to bypass the kitchen.







Stuck in a Fitness Rut
















Why it's bad for you: If you never vary your fitness routine, your body adapts to it after time, and muscle will stop growing, says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Fit to Live and Prevention's medical advisor. You're likely to get bored with your workout if you're doing the same thing every time, making it easier to find excuses to skip the gym altogether. A University of Florida study found that exercisers who varied the type of exercise were 15% more likely to work out regularly than those sticking to the same routine and 63% more likely than people who had no set schedule or rules. Your short-term action plan: Even something as simple as changing the route of your morning walk or creating a new workout sound track can add some oomph to your present routine. Visit musicworkout.com and download music in genres you like that are tailored to 30- and 60-minute workouts; also find music preselected for different types of exercise, such as elliptical, jogging, walking, and yoga. The key is to have some good old distracting fun, and "fun comes from your ability to make it different" or more challenging, Peeke says. For example, if you're a walker, try going up hills or interspersing spurts of jogging: "You may be shocked to find you're short of breath," she says. Take an adventure vacation and incorporate activities such as kayaking, hiking, or biking. "You can tailor your training to the kind of vacation you're taking, and that's a great motivator." Or use charity to inspire you: Sign up for the 5-K Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure or the Avon 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. Your long-term action plan: Always have a fitness goal in mind — whether it's walking a mile in 15 minutes instead of 20 or completing a Team Prevention marathon, you'll have something to keep you driven, and you'll be able to assess your performance, Peeke says. "The key is to check yourself at the beginning," she says, evaluating how well you perform when you first start working toward your goal so you have something to compare. Peeke recommends Healing Moves by Carol Krucoff for exercises that may treat or prevent common ailments. Whatever you do, add some variety — not only will your performance continue to improve but you'll also be more mentally engaged, which Peeke says is crucial to improvement, enjoyment, and injury prevention. Keep up the variety as you get older to protect your mental health as well as your physical health: A 2005 study found that dementia (including Alzheimer's disease) occurred less frequently in people 65 and older who participated in a greater variety of physical activities.





















Expired Skin Care







Why you have to stop: Although genetics do play a part in your skin's health, so do outside factors such as sun exposure and pollutants, says Neil Sadick, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College. Even if your mom didn't have a wrinkle until well into her 60s, you might not be so lucky. "Different types of skin react differently to different products," he says. Your mother's Oil of Olay and Vaseline may have worked just fine for her, but your skin type is probably different from hers. Your skin care products should be specific to your skin's needs, unless you want to risk acne, dryness, and unnecessary aging. Take advantage of advances in skin care science, such as new knowledge about antioxidants, alpha and beta hydroxy acids and retinoids. Your short-term action plan: Schedule a checkup with a cosmetic dermatologist so you can determine your specific skin type. "A consumer can't really do that on her own," Sadick says, so you'll need professional help to determine exactly what your skin needs. Ask whether your skin is healthy, whether you're at risk of skin cancer, and if there's any way you can slow down aging. Your long-term action plan: At the very least, start your day with a high-potency antioxidant cream such as L'or De Vie by Christian Dior or one with coffee berry extract, which protects against ultraviolet and environmental damage, and a sun block with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection such as Neutrogena Helioplex or Anthelios SX, which protects against all short and long UV rays. At night, use a cream with vitamin C, an antioxidant, or alpha and beta hydroxy acids, which turn over skin cells and stimulate new collagen synthesis. Sadick suggests products that contain peptides, which stimulate new collagen, or growth factors, which also stimulate new collagen, increase blood flow, and turn over new skin cells. "As you age, you should use more moisturizer," Sadick says. "Use products with even stronger collagen stimulators, more potent sun blockers, and antioxidant preparation creams," Sadick says. Your diet matters, too: Drink a lot of water and eat foods rich in antioxidants such as green tea, soy and tomatoes, Sadick says. This can help protect skin cells and prevent skin cancers. If all this sounds costly, don't worry: "It's possible to have healthy skin on a budget," Sadick says — products by Avone and La Roche-Posay are available at drugstores and are particularly good for women age 40 and older.

LINKWITHIN

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...