Featured Image: @joandkemp
Article By: Chiara Townley
Moving out of your parents’ house and going to college is exciting because you are finally able to live your daily life free from judgment and without giving explanations. The problem is that this freedom can also have negative consequences and lead to unhealthy habits, especially related to nutrition. If you want to prepare for a healthy and fulfilling adulthood, you need to break these habits in your 20s:
1. Eating Junk Food
French fries, taste amazing—it’s true, but fried and processed foods contain trans fat, which creates inflammation in the body and can cause heart diseases. It’s ok to indulge in your guilty pleasure now and then—but don’t make this a habit.
2. Going to Bed With Your Makeup On
It’s easy to forget to wash your face when you get home tired and sleepy after a night out, but taking care of your skin is important—especially if you wear makeup. Neglecting your skin can have consequences such as breakouts and premature aging. We often use makeup to cover pimples, but we don’t do much to prevent them from appearing—it takes a couple of minutes to wash your face, and this simple habit can give you long-term benefits. Choose natural products to wash your face, like aloe vera—avoid chemicals.
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3. Skipping Meals
It’s easy to skip meals when life goes fast, between college classes and parties with friends, but you shouldn’t do it because when you are hungry it is hard to focus and your energy gets low. Breakfast is probably the meal we skip the most in our 20s because we tend to rely on coffee to wake us up and give us the energy we need to face the day.
4. Eating Dinner Late
The body needs time to digest food. If you eat dinner late and then go to bed, your stomach will not have enough time to break down the food, and you will mess up your natural cycles. Late dinners also up the triglyceride levels, a fat found in your blood that can lead to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
5. Neglecting Your Teeth
As we eat three times a day, we should brush our teeth after each meal. It would be ideal to put a little brush and toothpaste in your purse and remember to brush your teeth also after lunch when you are out. I get it—it takes time to brush your teeth properly, and sometimes you are in a hurry. If you cannot follow this discipline, at least make sure you take care of your teeth every night before going to bed—brush them and floss. Neglecting your teeth can cause bad breath, yellow teeth, and in the long term, gingivitis and tooth decay.
6. Sleeping A Few Hours Per Night
Sleeping might seem like a waste of time when there are many things to do, and we often rely on caffeine to wake us up in the morning. The truth is that sleep deprivation affects your brain, body’s immune system, hormone levels, mood, and decreases your ability to focus. You might think that you rested enough when you sleep five hours, but your body feels genuinely rested when you sleep at least seven hours.
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7. Neglecting Stress
Stress intensifies as you age and have more responsibilities, but it is essential to find a way to release stress even at a young age, so you can be more prepared for the challenges life brings when you are an adult. Exams, for example, can be a stressful time, and you need to find an outlet to manage your restless thoughts. Find an activity that can help you relax and get focused on the present, like yoga, or anything else that can help you find peace of mind.
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8. Replacing Food with Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks are high in the calorie count. One beer is around 153 calories. If you want a heavier drink, like a Pina Colada, you’re looking at 490 calories. When you are among friends, it is easy to forget about food and lose the count when it is about alcoholic drinks. Alcohol might make you feel full—but that does not mean that your stomach is nourished—a sugary alcoholic beverage cannot replace a meal.
9. Keeping Toxic People In Your Life
The people who surround us should be there to support us and take out the best of us, but this doesn’t always happen. It is not easy to cut relationships, especially if it’s a longtime friend or partner, but this is the perfect moment to choose the people that you want in your life in the future—those toxic people that consistently bring you down have to go. It is painful to let go, but it necessary to create the base for a healthy and fulfilling life.
10. Looking For Approval
We all want to feel part of a group and feel valued, but this desire sometimes can push us to take wrong decisions. We often fear that if we are genuinely ourselves around people, we will not be accepted. In your 20s, you are probably still trying to figure out what you want to do in life—it’s a crucial time, and people around you shouldn’t affect your choices. Your desire for approval is natural, but it is time to think about what you want to avoid regrets later.
You might think that it is too early to think about health-related issues because you are young and you feel strong—but it is never too soon to start taking care of your body.