life: super powers not included

5 Good Habits to Make

Squirrelphoto by jessi.bryan
Overeat? Who, me??

I have a lot of bad habits. I eat dessert every day. I sometimes skip workouts. And I always sleep too late. You know what? I’ll probably do some of those bad habits this weekend. I’ll sleep till 10 and wake with a headache. I’ll O.D. on brownies or cookies or Hershey’s kisses with the paper flag still attached because I’ve scarffed them down so fast. OK, maybe that last one was a lie or long stretch of my imagination.

Everyone has bad habits. In fact, every time a new study is published, we learn about bad habits we never knew we had. Canned goods have BPA—so if you eat ’em, add that to the list. I could go on. Sure, I feel guilty 80 percent of the time because I feel like I’m not doing enough—I’m not eating healthy enough; I’m not exercising long enough or hard enough or often enough.

Despite my faults, I do have a few a few good habits I’d like to pass along. I’m going to give you the five healthy habits that make the biggest difference in my life. I won’t talk about the whole eat healthy and exercise … yada, yada, yada. Pretend those take precedence, then move on. Thanks.

Close up smile
photo by cobalt123

1. I floss my teeth.
I work hard for my good teeth. No, really. I had a cavity in my baby teeth and I’ve had more than a handful since then. One dentist told me it’s because my chompers have deep grooves (which explains why I got a cavity in a molar that hadn’t fully grown). Still, I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with the negative amount of space between my teeth. I mean, it’s tight in there. My dental hygienist won’t even try to lace the floss between my teeth anymore.

A few years ago during a medical conference I was attending for work, I sat in on a talk about periodontal disease. Let’s just say the photos the presenter showed—mangled mouths with missing teeth, inflamed gums, and all sorts of nastiness—made a lasting impression on me. So, despite that fact that 99 percent of floss doesn’t work for me (all but Johnson & Johnson’s waxed floss), I started flossing every night. I still do.

Fact is, as much as brushing scrubs teeth clean, there’s no way to remove all the bacteria that lurks close to gums if you don’t floss.

Oh, and just because I’m in a giving mood (he he), here are a couple other teeth-saving tips: Try Crest Weekly Clean Intenstive Cleaning Paste. It’s gritty and polishes teeth so you feel like you just slid out of the dentist’s chair–$20 extra in your pocket. Finally, don’t be too quick with the toothbrush. A few months ago, I spoke with Robert Eber, DDS, MS, clinical professor of dentistry and associate chair of periodontics and oral medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, for another article I was writing. His best tip: Each section of your mouth should be brushed for 10 seconds (4 to 5 seconds if you’re using a neato electric toothbrush like me).

Washing Facephoto by madmolecule

2. I wash my face. Every night.
There was a major rule growing up: Never go to bed with makeup on. I was keenly aware of the consequences: breakouts and annoying mascara smears on the pillowcase. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t wiped the day’s gunk off my face and put on some moisturizer before bed. Listen, I break out easy enough without leaving random germs and pore-clogging makeup on my skin. If you have skin problems or frequent breakouts, make sure you’re washing before snoozing.

Girl stretchingphoto by sean dreilinger

3. I stretch.
I know, I said I wasn’t going to talk about exercise. But stretching doesn’t count. It needs to supplement exercise. So whether you bike 20 miles or lift for 30 minutes, stretching is crucial. There’s a lot of controversy over the benefit of stretching, but we also know that too-tight muscles can lead to imbalances and injury. Like knee pain.

When my muscles are tight—especially my hamstrings and calves—my knees pay the price. And without stretching, my Achilles tendonitis wouldn’t be fading. Believe me, when I forget to do my stretches my heel aches.

Water splashing
photo by yeenoghu

4. I Guzzle H20.
I go through phases where I think I have diabetes because I drink a lot of water. (No worries, glucose tests say I’m OK.) Still, I’m constantly thirsty so I chug water throughout the day. While I’m not well hydrated, I feel it. My skin is more dry. I’m sluggish. And—worst of all—I get killer headaches. Bottom line is that our bodies are 60 percent water. Eight ounces of water a day isn’t a hard-fast rule, but it’s a good guide. Or think of it this way: Getting up to refill your water glass is a great way to add more movement to your day.

Mtv-jersey-shore

5. Avoid crapola TV.
Yeah, kind of weird for this list. But hear me out. Watching ridiculous shows like The Hills or Jersey Shore (which I’ve never seen and hope I never will) just makes me lose faith in people. It starts me wondering whether all rich twentysomethings are like Speidi. Or if the way to make a living nowadays is to come up with some silly nickname (Snookie?) and hop from bar to bar in too-tight clothes for the sole purpose of getting wasted.

I understand the irony of what I’m about to say… Reality TV (minus tear-jerker Extreme Makeover Home Edition) makes me fear the fate of our country. What happens when all the Snookies and Situations grow up? Scary things. So instead of stressing out about the absurdity that these people make more money in a season than I do in three years, I stick with shows like 24, Lost, and Fringe. Yeah, yeah, yeah, those are definitely not a good representation of humans but at least they’re interesting.

That’s all for me, folks. I’m off to stare at the clock until I’m off for the weekend. (Just being honest.) Tonight is dinner with two friends from college—one of which lives in New York and is down for the night. I think a little girl time will do me good. Have a super weekend, all.

What healthy habits do you have? That’s the magic of alliteration for you right there.

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25 comments

1 Estela @ Weekly Bite { 02.19.10 at 9:17 am }

I love all your tips… but one thing I think I can’t give up is my reality TV.

I know its pathetic, mindless, and is probably sucking cells out of my brain… buts its a guilty pleasure :)

Have a great weekend!

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2 Kelly { 02.19.10 at 10:33 am }

Great tips!! I am so bad about always reminding myself of my bad habits. It is so much easier to think about the bad stuff…you know? So this was a great post because it focuses on the postivie! I think one of my best habits is that I don’t spend money friviously. I tend to really think about my purchases and really think about if I want it. That has allowed me to live my life debt free.

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3 Ameena { 02.19.10 at 1:19 pm }

I watch reality TV, unfortunately! I love ANTM and American Idol. Horrible, right? I am also obsessive about flossing my teeth so maybe these two habits cancel each other out?

I had to laugh as I visualized you eating a Hershey’s Kiss with the flag stuck to it. Those little things are pretty addicting.

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Tracey Reply:

Estela and Ameena, no reason to feel guilty over reality TV if it doesn’t drive you nuts!

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4 Kalli@fitandfortysomething { 02.19.10 at 1:34 pm }

Love this! I am glad I found your blog. You are right…..it is hard not to feel guilty all the time. I like your list of good things. I need to floss!

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Tracey Reply:

Kalli, So glad you found my blog, too!

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5 FoodFitnessFreshair { 02.19.10 at 1:49 pm }

I share in doing all of the above except flossing…that’s one of my bad habits. I do enjoy the occasional reality TV show (maybe one a month) but lately they seem to be getting trashier and trashier…take Jersey Shore, a complete waste of time.

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6 katie { 02.19.10 at 2:10 pm }

those are great great habits! you are truly an inspiration girl-i love it

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7 Gracie @ Girl Meets Health { 02.19.10 at 2:52 pm }

As a blogger, I often feel like I have way too many “unhealthy” bad habits – most of them the same as you. I eat junk (quite often) and skip workouts (also quite often). I’m not really a runner, and *gasp* I don’t really care that I’m not! :P

BUT – your post showed me that I DO have many healthy habits! I also floss and wash my face every night, as well as drink tons of water. Unfortunately I’m a reality-tv JUNKIE, but I don’t take it too seriously =) It’s for sheer entertainment purposes, haha.

Some other healthy habits I have are:
1) I eat veggies EVERY DAY. Especially spinach.
2) I read my Bible/pray/meditate every morning.
3) I don’t tan and wear lots of sunblock

I’m feeling better about myself already, haha! :P

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8 keila { 02.19.10 at 3:38 pm }

Love it. Why do we always spend so much time obsessing over what we do wrong?
For me – I try to read everyday (books, no pictures), tickle my kids everyday, get pedicures (don’t know how healthy it is, but it sure does make me feel good), and I always wear sunscreen. Oh and I maintain a really tight group of girlfriends.
See how great we all are?

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Tracey Reply:

Keila, I don’t think pedicures are healthy per se, but they’re definitely not unhealthy. And they do a stressed-out mind some good. I love getting pedicures! Thanks for visiting my blog!

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9 Nicole, RD { 02.19.10 at 6:29 pm }

Great tips! I really need to work on my TV show selections. They’re scary!

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10 5 Good Habits to Make — i'm (not) superhuman | H2O Report { 02.19.10 at 6:54 pm }

[...] more here:  5 Good Habits to Make — i'm (not) superhuman 5-good-habits-to-make, article, bible, country, healthy-eating, healthy-living, list, mind, [...]

11 theemptynutjar { 02.19.10 at 8:42 pm }

Well. I overeat. I never exercise. I sit and read blogs too long. I watch too much TV.
Good habits? Good question. Might take me a few years to figure that out :)

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12 Stef { 02.20.10 at 12:42 am }

you haev great habits! except i don’t think that eating dessert everyday is a bad habit at all! in moderate amounts it’s actually a really GOOD thing for ya, keeps those cravings from getting out of control, and we all deserve to eat things we love! i really do need to floss daily, that’s something i rarely do (gross!) hmm…good habits…i wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy out..i eat tons of fresh fruits and veggies…i walk whenever possible instead of driving…i thnk that sums it up!

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13 Fit Chick in the City { 02.20.10 at 8:51 am }

These are great tips! Especially the one about watching bad TV. Really its just a waste of time. I just get sucked in when I’m tired after a long day at work.

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14 Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com { 02.20.10 at 11:27 am }

I love this post. Thanks for the five things! I completely agree and I pretty much follow all of your advice except I”m guilty of the reality tv brain rot. Snookie for president?

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Tracey Reply:

Andrea–Thanks so much for visiting my site. If Snookie runs for president I’ll flee the country!

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15 Diane Fit to the Finish { 02.21.10 at 12:00 pm }

I love these tips and the practicality of them. No one is perfect, we just do the best we can do!

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16 Marie { 02.22.10 at 8:45 am }

Great advice — I can think of a couple people I know whose bodies are composed of 60% Mt. Dew — it actually pains me to think of how dehydrated they must be, and how they don’t even know how much better they could feel if they only drank water! Even just a little bit!

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Tracey Reply:

Marie, I love that: 60 percent Mt. Dew. The Man once was 90 percent Coke. So glad he jumped on the water bandwagon!

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17 eatmovelove { 02.22.10 at 10:12 am }

I agree with the Reality TV like crappy Snooki and Flava Flav or whatever for sure!!! But I do love the more “real’ reality shows like The Amazing Race or Dancing With The Stars…that’s more enjoying and stuff….not stupid kids going around punching eachother in the face….usually anyways ;)

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Tracey Reply:

Eatmovelove–I agree with the more real reality shows. Extreme Makeover Home Edition is my favorite of those and always makes me cry.

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18 MadMolecule { 03.18.10 at 12:44 pm }

Hello, that’s my “face-washing” photo above; glad you liked it!

My first thought was to suggest turning off the TV completely, but then of course I started thinking, “Except this… and this….” (For me it’s Jeopardy and NFL football.) Regardless, try turning it off for a week or a month and find out what shows you really miss, and which ones you’ve only been watching in order to pass the time before bed.

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Tracey Reply:

MadMolecule–I do love that photo! Thanks for using a Creative Commons license.

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