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If you do have a snack, turn off the screen, and focus on what you’re eating instead of mindlessly munching, he says.
And leave the package in the kitchen put a portioned-out serving in a bowl.
Need more reason to drink the glass in moderation? “Alcohol has a lot of calories and high amounts of sugar, and the body does a really good job of turning that sugar into fat,” Delbridge adds.
Another caveat: Don’t forget to drink a glass of water or club soda in between each cocktail to prevent dehydration.
Vice 5: watching tv
Vegging in front of the boob tube for hours on end is as frowned upon by health experts as it was by your mom. But watching an hour or so of a comedy (other genres don’t have the same effect) like Modern Family or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or The Simpsons—whatever tickles your funny bone—can actually be a windfall for your well-being. “Humor can be very helpful psychologically,” says Greenberg. “It can put you in a positive mood, put the brakes on a negative mood and give you a different perspective.”
Research backs up the benefits of having a laugh. In a 2012 study, scientists at Yeshiva University found one of the key personality traits centenarians share is a love of laughter. And a 2009 study at the University of Maryland Medical Center discovered that heart disease patients were 40 percent less likely to see the humor in various situations compared to healthy people. The most famous study wasn’t strictly scientific: Journalist Norman Cousins claimed to have cured himself of a crippling disease in the 1960s with a regimen of belly laughter, courtesy of Candid Camera episodes.
Make the Vice a Virtue: Don’t let this be an excuse to watch hours of TV. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that every additional two hours people spent watching television, their risk of developing type 2 and heart disease increased. So get your laughs, then get off the couch.
Vice 6: Checking Facebook
Social media like Facebook have been blamed for everything from lowered self-esteem to shorter attention spans. But here’s something to “like”: A 2012 study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking showed that spending time on Facebook can boost your mood. “It can be a way to stay more in touch with distant friends and family, and see what’s going on in their lives,” Greenberg says. Just make sure you’re not wasting hours online, obsessively checking your newsfeed, while avoiding important real-life responsibilities.
Make the Vice a Virtue: “Don’t start comparing yourself—this one went on a better vacation, this one has a better looking kid—and feeling bad about yourself. That’s not healthy,” she says. “Remember, it’s just a little snapshot of someone’s life, it’s not their whole life.”
Vice 7: late-Night snacking Munching on chips or savoring ice cream while watching Colbert, Fallon and Kimmel violates one of the die-hard dieting rules: Don’t eat after 6 p.m. But what if you feel ravenous way past the hour on the clock?
If you’re hungry at night, you should ask yourself why. “It may mean you’re not getting enough to eat during the day,” suggests Delbridge. Or, he points out, it could be another more common problem: boredom. “A lot of people are engaging in a lot of screen time at night and having a snack is comforting.”
Make the Vice a Virtue: If you are really hungry (not just bored), “ask yourself, what did I miss during the day? Did I get enough protein, enough fiber, enough fruits and vegetables? Whatever you missed, eat that.”
If you do have a snack, turn off the screen, and focus on what you’re eating instead of mindlessly munching, he says. And leave the package in the kitchen—put a portioned-out serving in a bowl.
Vice 8: eatiNg ChoColate This dark, delicious treat doesn’t need to be a guilty pleasure. “As a dietitian, it’s frustrating to hear people say, ‘No more chocolate!’” when they want to lose weight, says Delbridge, “And then in three weeks, all they want is chocolate.” Instead of denying yourself, he recommends chocolate lovers fit in a square or two a day.
Aside from keeping your diet on track, a little of the dark stuff is actually good for you, he says. “It has been shown to decrease blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. There are also studies that show that the darker varieties have antioxidants and phytochemicals that can aid in the prevention of heart disease.”
Make the Vice a Virtue: “It comes down to having an appropriate portion (a square or two) and really enjoying it,” Delbridge advises. Unfortunately, milk chocolate like M&Ms and Hershey bars don’t make the cut. To get the benefits of chocolate, “it does mean the dark variety,” he says. “I always tell people to make sure cacao, not sugar, is the first ingredient listed [on the label]. If sugar is the first ingredient, you’re not getting a really good dark chocolate.”
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