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8 Unhealthy Ways to Self-Destruct

By Sandy Schroeder

Usually we talk about healthy steps that help us live longer, but what if we did a self-destruct list of unhealthy habits. Taken as individual steps, you might get by with a few, but if you insist on doing all of these you are practically guaranteed a shorter life and a weaker existence. You will probably feel winded, weak and ill quite often.

Take a look at this list from and consider making a U-turn if these look all too familiar.

Drink way too much? - When one beer or glass of wine quickly drifts into many more, you are headed for vision problems, serious liver damage, brain-shrinkage and early death. For men, erectile dysfunction is likely, too.

Smoke a lot? - If you do, you will probably shorten your life and greatly increase your risk of heart disease, lung cancer and blindness with macular degeneration. Take steps now to stop smoking for good.

Eat fast food every day? Burgers, fries, tacos and pizza deliver saturated fat to clog arteries and trigger heart disease. Most of it is loaded with calories and highly addictive. Try a week without fast food and pick up some fruit and vegetables from your local farmers market. While you are at it, find a few new recipes from and invite some friends over for supper. Enjoy corn-on-the-cob, fresh berries, tangy coleslaw, baked potatoes, spicy black beans and countless other healthy foods, all waiting for you.

Trying drugs? - No matter how you justify it, drugs can cause physical illness, psychiatric issues, addiction and death. See a counselor if you need help, and find ways to stop using drugs.

Never see the doctor? - Bad habits and denial often go together. People who eat lots of fast food, drink too much and smoke also tend to skip regular doctor visits. When symptoms come up, they ignore them too. Dropping one bad habit each week and starting regular doctor checkups could make you feel better and keep you around a lot longer.

Seldom exercise? - If you sit at work all day and hit the couch in the evening, your body has little chance to counteract your other bad habits. Why not lose some weight, boost your immune system and lift your spirits with 30 minutes of daily walking or jogging? Regular exercise may motivate you to shed other bad habits, too.

Sleep very little? - Eating too much every night, drinking a lot, and staying out late can help you self-destruct much sooner. The body needs 7 to 9 hours of rest every night to help your system regroup. Get enough sleep for a week and feel the difference. Having a clear head at work, and energy that lasts all day, may prove addictive.

A magnet for stress? - Bad habits tend to make waves with weight gain, depressed feelings, and lack of energy leading the way. Use exercise, hobbies, friends and meditation to let the stress go.

Where do you stand with this list of bad habits? If you have too many, start chopping one off each week. You may be amazed at how much better you look and feel. Keep going. It only gets better.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chicago, Ill.

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