WELLNESS

7 health mistakes you could be making

Even health-savvy people slip up sometimes, often without even realising.

How to fix 7 common health problems

 

Mistake #1: Your work makes you miserable


It’s a problem because “Feeling sick about your job can really mess with your quality of life,” says Sydney-based GP Dr Ginni Mansberg. “The effects can be devastating, especially on your health and relationships.” Sadly, a 2014 Gallup Poll found that unhappy employees outnumber happy ones by two to one, worldwide.

Turn it around by Taking a week off to put your work life in perspective. “Spend a week sleeping, exercising and recharging your batteries,” Dr Mansberg advises. “If your job is severely affecting your health and happiness, it’s time to start working on your CV. But if you’re keen to make changes at work, explain your concerns to your employer and have solutions ready to show how things might improve.”

 

Mistake#2: You often eat on the run


It’s a problem because “Eating on the run can interfere with your digestion and lead to poor food choices and overeating,” says accredited nutritionist and former executive officer of Nutrition Australia, Lucinda Dobson. “If you’re eating in a rush, it’s common to choose foods high in saturated fat and sugar, which can lead to weight gain.” Plus, if rushing through your meal means you don't chew your food properly, it can also decrease your body's chance to absorb nutrients, constipation and ongoing fatigue.

Turn it around by Aiming to eat without distractions like the TV or computer nearby. “When you’re concentrating on eating, your stomach releases enzymes and juices that aid digestion,” says Dobson. “Think about what you’re eating and chew slowly. This will help you gauge fullness and provide you with more energy.”

 

Mistake #3: You don't floss your teeth every day


It’s a problem because It increases your risk of tooth decay. Why? According to the Australian Dental Association, flossing removes food from between your teeth, which brushing can’t. So, if you don’t floss and the food that gets left behind turns into plaque, your risk of tooth decay rises.

Turn it around by Making flossing part of your daily routine, so that you floss at least once a day. Try keeping floss somewhere visible in the bathroom, and get into the habit of flossing at the same time as one of your twice-daily brushes.

 

Mistake #4: You're not aware of hidden fats in salads


It’s a problem because Ordering dishes with hidden fats can weaken your weight-loss attempts. “Many popular salads sold in cafes and food outlets have dressings that are high in saturated fat, such as mayonnaise, Caesar dressing and Thousand Island dressing,” Dobson explains. So, while you think you’re ordering a traditionally healthy meal, you may be overloading on SmartPoints® without even realising.

Turn it around by “Steering clear of ingredients such as creamy salad dressings, chicken schnitzel, pork belly, bacon and bacon bits, chicken skin and visible fat, fried eggs and croutons,” Dobson suggests. Instead, aim to keep your food order well balanced with a lean protein component and fresh vegies. Dobson also recommends asking the chef or waiter questions like, ‘How is the meat cooked?’, ‘Does that come with salad or vegetables?’ and ‘Can I have the dressing, sauce or gravy on the side?’ Don’t be afraid to request a tweak to the menu or ask the chef if they can create a specially made dish that suits your needs.

 

Mistake #5: You're struggling to get enough sleep


It’s a problem because“A lack of quality sleep has been linked with many health issues, including depression, anxiety, weight gain, diabetes, and even cancer,” says Dr Mansberg. Poor sleeping habits can also affect your fitness, relationships and productivity.

Turn it around by Outsourcing chores to your partner, children or flatmate so you all get a good night’s sleep, says Dr Mansberg. Simple, fuss-free dinners can also save you time. “There are no gourmet Nigella Lawson-style meals in my household: fish and vegies can be served in less than 30 minutes so I’m still in bed by 9.30pm after a long day at work,” Dr Mansberg says. If you’re worried that insomnia or stress-related issues are affecting your sleeping habits, arrange to have a chat with your GP.

 

Mistake #6: Your loved ones tend to dictate your decisions


It’s a problem because It can lead to you feelings of resentment, guilt and anxiety towards them, says Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap. “This sense of duty and obligation can actually lead to damaging physical manifestations, such as headache and neck tension, as well as a range of serious stress-related illnesses,” Dr Harris adds.

Turn it around by Listening to people with experience but not letting them make choices for you, says Dr Harris. “I often ask people for ideas, but never let them override my own intuition,” he says. But what if a loved one doesn’t back off? It may seem simple, but communication is key. “You need to explain that, while you appreciate their desire to help, you’d like the chance to figure it out yourself," says Dr Harris.

 

Mistake #7: You obsess over the scales


It’s a problem because It prompts some people to criticise themselves after the weigh-in, according to senior clinical psychologist Ann Bailey. While research proves that weighing yourself once a week can be beneficial for weight loss, it's important to treat yourself with kindness after stepping on the scales. Beating yourself up for not losing weight or, in some cases, not losing enough weight, can lead to feelings of worthlessness, depression and anxiety, which can affect your outlook on life.

Turn it around by Letting self-criticisms go when you weigh yourself, says Bailey. “Remember, there isn’t a ‘right’ weight, so be compassionate with yourself,” she suggests. You can also gauge your weight loss by seeing how a favourite dress fits during your journey or by using a ribbon or belt to monitor weight loss around your stomach. Aim to weigh in at the same time no more than once every week because your weight can fluctuate by up to 2kg in one day.