Best Ways To Break Unhealthy Habits

Posted: August 5, 2008 in Health
Tags: , ,

I liked this article a lot because we face so much unhealthy habits. Reading this one can help us to determine furthersteps to change our unhealthy lifestyles and habits. You can find here some useful methods to break those habits.

By Allison Van Dusen


Admit it–you probably have at least one unhealthy habit you’d like to break.

Maybe you can’t stop pulling in to fast-food drive-thrust, you waste your allotted gym time surfing the Web or you’re still tanning. Whatever it is, it’s likely costing you time, energy and money. (With a new tax hike, a pack of cigarettes in New York City could soon cost more than $9.)

If you’re ready to take another stab at giving up your French fry habit, you might benefit from new research showing which methods are most effective and what’s been holding you back. Keeping your defiant attitude in check and attacking a couple of bad habits at once may work better than you’d expect.

Conventional wisdom and the spending habits of public health organizations around the globe seem to indicate that people persist with unhealthy behavior because they don’t realize just how much damage they’re doing to themselves.

But research from the University of Alberta, presented in 2006, has shown otherwise. In two surveys of 1,200 people in Alberta, conducted in 1994 and 2005, respondents ranked lifestyle habits such as smoking and tanning as more hazardous than chemical contamination and ozone depletion. That knowledge, however, wasn’t enough to motivate these people to change, says Cindy Jardine, an associate professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in environmental health risks and communication.

“People don’t need to be told that smoking is bad for them,” Jardine says. “They don’t need to know they’d be better off if they ate better. Everybody knows this. We should be putting our money into getting information on why they continue to do these things and helping them address some of these issues.”


Jardine’s research suggests social acceptance and defiance may play key roles in keeping us shackled to our bad habits. While smoking has recently become far less accepted–even France (known for its high incidence of cigarette smoking) has enacted a ban on smoking in public places–being a stressed-out workaholic is still seen as honorable in modern American society. Likewise, when you’re told by a doctor or the media to avoid an unhealthy habit, you may childishly start to rationalize your actions–telling yourself, for example, “Smoking helps me keep my weight in check.”


If you want to clean up your act, take a cue from science and break away from the norm. Stop using your bad habits as a way to fit in with coworkers or friends. Excuses that enable your behavior are also a no-no. Getting a “base tan,” for instance, may help prevent sunburn, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good for your skin.



While you may have heard that you’re most likely to be successful if you address one habit at a time, research out of the Baylor College of Medicine, published in the June Archives of Internal Medicine, as well as findings from a Northwestern University study released in September, suggests tackling multiple behaviors at once may be more effective


That’s because many bad behaviors are complementary. If, for instance, you watch too much TV and tend to snack as you tune in, cutting down on your TV time may make it easier to rid your diet of tortilla chips. Along those lines, starting a running program may help motivate you to quit smoking; or signing up for a yoga class may get you more active as well as help ease your stress.

“Some of these things go very naturally together,” says Dr. Robert Kushner, an expert on obesity and fitness and a professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.



The amount of flexibility you have at work also influences your ability to follow through with healthy lifestyle habits, confirms research from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine published in December in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. People who work the traditional 9-to-5 typically only have a few minutes of free time here and there, which makes it difficult to fit in workouts or take time for stress-reducing lunches away from the office.

Have you managed to kick an unhealthy habit? What was your secret to success? Add your thoughts in the Comments section below.


Having flexible hours, however, or the option of telecommuting, helps people carve out time for healthy habits, says Joseph Grzywacz, lead author of the study and associate professor in the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.


And don’t discount the impact of timing.

Findings from a study from the Peninsula Medical School in South West England released this spring show that retirement may be one of the most effective times to try to quit smoking.


 The study, which followed 1,712 smokers aged 50 and older over a six-year period, showed that 42% of those who had recently retired put an end to the habit, compared with 29% of those still working and 30% of those already retired.



Quitting a bad habit during a major life transition isn’t for everyone, though, Kushner cautions. Dealing with a divorce, a new child or retirement’s inherent lack or structure may overwhelm some people, sabotage their efforts and discourage them from trying again.

 That’s why it’s important, when picking a strategy, to consider what will work best for your personality and lifestyle.


These challenges “are surmountable,” Kushner says, “but you’ve got to be aware of them.”

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  1. parrymathur says:

    You keep a nice blog! I discovered it through a “possibly related” link. Good advice and nice sketches!

  2. Blue fox says:

    I am so glad that you like the blog.
    Appreciate your incouraging words and I hope that I can keep up like that.
    Thank you so much, glad to know that you liked the sketches too…

  3. Gatawaymn says:

    i actually love your writing way, very charming.
    don’t give up and keep writing as a result it just well worth to look through it.
    looking forward to looked over a whole lot more of your own writing, kind regards 😉

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