Bad Habits #18 – 24 Other People’s Bad Habits, A Blatantly Clickbaity Listicle

So, I’ve been writing this blog off and on for roughly two and a half years.  Or is it three and a half years?  Sometimes I lose track because that year where we all hid under the bed feels like it doesn’t count. You know the one I mean. The one dominated by the All-Powerful Scourge of Wuhan. The Hubei Horror. The Darkness That Came From A Lab Or Bats Or Pangolins Or Whatever.  But anyway, I’ve been sharing the exercise habits I’ve acquired, the good eating habits I’ve acquired, and the bad habits I’ve desperately tried to do away with for some time now.

And now it’s time to discuss more bad habits, but nothing comes to mind.  I’m sure I have bad habits left, but the ones I haven’t covered are probably so minor and obscure that they’d not be worth sharing.  Having said that, I could always ask my wife to list some of my bad habits.  She’d probably come up with a thousand or so.  But I’ll save that particular act of masochism for a later date.

Since nothing comes to mind right now, I wondered, what bad habits do other people struggle with?  What are the most common bad habits other people have?  Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have access to Skynet in its gestational form (Google) and can find out fairly quickly what other people are talking about.

So here are a few things I’ve found from popular articles spewed forth by the search engine that will be our future overlord.  And yes, I’m a little ashamed that this post is now basically a “listicle”.  Based on what I’ve discerned from the more Internet savvy younger generations, listicles are the product of “BuzzFeed soyboys”.  And I’m not entirely sure what that is, but it sounds like I’m risking my man card by doing this.  But here goes anyway.  A list of common bad habits that cause people to put on pounds.

1. Keeping Tempting Foods Around – This is an obvious one.  The temptation of junk food and sweets is that they’re already ready to eat and loaded with excess calories.  I’ve already mentioned that there is temptation at my office in the form of a snack shelf, which can contribute to weight gain.  So I make a point of not having the equivalent in my house.  One way to avoid giving in to cravings is to only have food that requires preparation in the house.  The prospect of having to wait ten minutes at least to prepare food may make me decide that I’m not really that hungry.  But allowing yourself to go hungry can result in excess eating later though.  So the better option is to only have healthy things (broccoli, carrots, etc.) that will fill you up without fattening you up.

2. Skipping Breakfast — This one I see all over the Interweb machine, but I don’t buy it. Obviously, skipping a meal can help you lose weight, since it means you literally eat zero calories. But the rationale behind this is that skipping a meal can make you so hungry that you overeat at the next meal. Maybe. If you’re an undisciplined weakling. The truth is, there are plenty of people that skip meals. Intermittent fasting is a thing that works, even though the people who do it are often irritating. People have been fasting for thousands of years, although much of that was involuntary in the first few thousand years. And on Naked and Afraid. Obesity is a recent phenomenon, though, so it’s not clear how fasting would be a major cause. So the real advice here is that it’s okay to skip breakfast, just don’t go nuts at lunch. Have some self-control.

3. Eating Straight Out of the Bag – It’s true if you get a bag of potato chips or crackers or whatever and you eat straight out of the container there’s a temptation to just keep munching away. So this one’s a good point.  One simple solution to this problem is to just take some out of the bag and put it in a bowl or something. But the easier way to keep the weight off is…just avoid food from bags. The stuff in bags is probably processed crap that isn’t that good for you.

4. Eating on the Run – I did this throughout my twenties and was fine.  It was quite normal for me to down a breakfast sandwich while weaving in and out of traffic, because I was perennially late when I was a young man.  The reason the various Internet articles advise against it is because it’s “distracted eating” which can apparently cause one to overeat.  Here’s a crazy idea: Just don’t eat a crazy portion.  It won’t matter how distracted you are if what you made (or bought) is a sensible amount.  You can eat on the run all you want.  Just don’t do it while actually running.  You’ll choke.

5. Nighttime noshing — “noshing”, or “snacking” if you’re an unsophisticated person who’s married to their cousin (I.E. are from Alabama or South Carolina), is kind of an obvious diet fail. Snacking is something you should keep to a minimum. And nighttime noshing can be a particular problem. Especially if you just got back from the bar, have serious munchies, felt the urge to order a Domino’s Pizza, and ate the whole thing. This is seriously high on calories. And gross because Domino’s is a disgrace. And, no, this opinion has nothing to do with the fact that I once worked at a Papa John’s. Still, a little snacking is fine. I don’t like going to bed hungry, it makes it hard to sleep. So, I just make a point of getting something small.

6. Emotional Eating — This is also known as “Don’t eat a tub of ice cream when your boyfriend breaks up with you using Facebook Messenger”. The sheer emotional turbulence resulting from a breakup, combined with the sheer insult caused by the use of the BoomerBook messaging system to do it, can cause unwise dietary decisions. Other unhappy events can cause us to use food as a coping mechanism as well. But the solution is simple: Eat something healthy when emotional. If you obeyed rule one, you shouldn’t have ice cream in the house. Nowhere is it written that eating vegetables can’t cure a bad mood. Unless you eat okra. It’s nasty and it’ll make you suicidal.

7. Eating Too Quickly – This is something I’ve done since I was about five years old.  Resulting in multiple raised eyebrows from my mother.  Inhaling food is something I’ve done for a long time.  Now the diet freaks will tell you that this is bad because your body won’t tell you you’re full until twenty minutes later.  But there are ways around this.  The first option only applies to people who live in Hyannisport.  You can eat your meal in three courses.  By the time the third course rolls around, your body’s “full” signals will have kicked in.   But for people who aren’t named Kennedy, there’s a simpler solution.  Just have a little discipline.  If you eat too fast and you still feel hungry, just wait a bit.  Maybe have some water while you’re waiting.  You’ll feel full eventually.

8. Not Getting Enough Sleep — This causes us all sorts of problems. I recently made a post talking about how zombification is a problem. Not getting enough sleep can do things like slow down your metabolism and also stress you out causing you to emotionally overeat. Even if your boyfriend didn’t break up with you over Facebook messenger. Or over Instagram, which is what the Zoomers would do. Facebook is a much older crowd, so the Zoomers aren’t breaking up over it. Facebook Messenger is how your grandfather would break up with his 20-year-old girlfriend. Anyway, just make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

9. Eating Junk Food – This one’s a little obvious. I pointed out recently that junk food, which I call adult baby food (because it’s so processed it’s almost predigested), has been a term since the Truman administration.  We’ve known for a long time that this is not good for you.  If it comes in a box or in a bag you probably shouldn’t eat it.

10. Too Many Meals Away From Home — There’s a lot of truth to this because many restaurants spray your food down with oil and add lots of unhealthy stuff. But there are some restaurants that have healthy options. But even if you are munching on McDonald’s, you can still be smart. It’s fine if you have the quarter pounder with a diet soda and small fry. But if you have the double quarter pounder with the large fry and the huge size super sugary hyperactivity drink, you’re going to get fat.

11. Not Eating Together – I think some mom who’s upset that her family would rather eat while watching football or the Kardashians or whatever rather than talking to each other about the very mundane things that happened during their days thinks this is a problem.  The idea here is that eating together makes you slow down so you avoid the problems associated with eating too quickly.  But this is crap.  First, my family ate together constantly while I was growing up, and I can confirm (as can my mom) that it in no way slowed me down.  But more importantly, it doesn’t matter.  As long as you eat sensible portions, you’ll be fine.

12. Too Many Liquid Calories – This can be a problem since liquid calories like the super sugary hyperactivity drinks (soda pop) will fill you up.  And the fruit drinks, even though healthier, usually still have a large number of calories. Although I’m a bit surprised by one thing.  I’ve seen many articles pushing this advice, but they don’t mention fermented liquids.  I’ve noted before that these can add a lot of calories.  But maybe the reason alcohol is not as dangerous is because the regret from drinking too much alcohol sets in the next day. The regret from drinking too many sugary drinks sets in five years and fifty pounds later.

13. You eat dinner after 9:00 PM. — This is basically just hate speech against people who don’t work from 9 to 5. I’m horrified by this. I used to work a 3:00 PM to 2:00 AM shift in Atlanta so I had no choice but to eat after 9:00 PM. But it’s not completely crazy. The idea is that people who wait until after 9:00 PM. to eat are starving themselves if the last time they ate was at noon. This results in them eating too much. Waiting too long between meals can be a problem and spacing meals out evenly is a good idea. Having said that, you can skip meals if you’re disciplined about it, as I noted above. And when you do eat, just eat a sensible portion.

14. You eat at your desk – This is one of those ridiculous things people claim forces you to eat distractedly and therefore eat too much.  I work as a CPA therefore I eat every lunch in front of the computer at the desk.  But I also control the portion and I know exactly what I’m going to eat before I eat it.  So it doesn’t matter that I’m focused on tiresome accounting things like accumulated depreciation (don’t ask), I know that I’m not going to overeat before I even start eating.

15. You eat while watching T.V. — I feel like I just said this, but portion control is the key here. The various articles that say this are claiming that this results in “distracted eating” (that phrase is starting to annoy me) but if you determine your portion in advance it’s not going to matter. So eat as often as you want while watching Game of Thrones. Or eat as often as you want while being forced by your wife to watch Downton Abbey. As long as you only prepare only as much as you should have, you’re not going to have a problem.

16. You stand while you eat – This is another one of those “distracted eating” nonsense things. Eating while standing is something people do at lunch when they’re in a hurry.  But it doesn’t matter how distracted you are, you can’t eat more than you bought or prepared.  So if you have a sensible portion, this doesn’t matter.  And the truth is eating and drinking while standing, if you do this over the course of thirty minutes to an hour, burns calories.  An hour of standing can burn 100 – 200 calories, depending on how large you are.  So maybe you should eat or and drink while standing.

17. You eat off large plates – Somebody out there seems to think that a large plate is capable of mind control and can force you to fill it up.  Here’s the trick: Just don’t put a large helping on it.  It’s very possible.  There’s literally a gourmet chef I follow who puts really small portions on huge plates.  Although portions do look sort of…lonely. Anyway, the point is the plate can’t force you to put food on it. 

18. You serve yourself from the table – This is basically the “don’t pig out at Thanksgiving or potluck dinners” rule.  Whenever one eats “family style”, it’s possible to go overboard.  But, as I’m repeating ad nauseam in this post, portion control is always an option.  But even if you do splurge, the truth is we don’t have these sorts of meals very often.  The reality is, even if you pig out at these types of events, it probably happens rarely enough that you can make up for it on all of the other days of the week.  If it’s normal for you to behave yourself, an occasional “cheat” day won’t kill you.

19. You always polish off your plate – If you get fat polishing off your plate, there was too much on your plate.  This is not a problem if the amount you put on your plate is not extreme.  

20. You eat free restaurant food — This should be known as the “Never eat at the Olive Garden” rule. Not because the Olive Garden is disgusting. It’s actually not bad. Even though I know it gets constantly panned by every food critic ever and every douchebag on the Internet. It’s basically the Nickelback of restaurants that everybody loves to hate, but I disagree. Having said that, the free salad and breadsticks are an easy way to overdo things. And then the main course comes, which involves lots of carbs and pasta and cheese. So take it easy when there’s free stuff. And as noted above, it’s probably best not to eat out too much anyway.

21. You order lunch when you’re hungry – This is not wrong.  Don’t make any food decision while hungry.  If you order lunch or go to the grocery store while hungry you will probably end up obtaining roughly half of a ruminant mammal as your meal.  Like I was saying earlier in rule 13, space out your meals carefully so that by the time you eat the next meal you’re not so famished that you want to eat a species into extinction.

22. You eat in your bedroom – Normally, you should not do this.  Except for after sex, which is fine.  Although if you’re eating during sex, stop reading and talk to someone about your weird fetish.  That’s not what bananas and whipped cream are for.  Having said all of that, I don’t think this matters for the diet.  It’s not about where you eat, it’s about how much you eat.

23. You always have a nightcap — One nightcap is fine. Especially if you’re James Bond because you’re going to work it off by doinking a femme fatale. But six night caps are not fine. Not only does alcohol have lots of empty calories, but it messes with your sleep.

24. You beeline to the add-in station at your coffee shop — The Blessed Brown Water of Life is great, but too much sugar and creamer add a lot of calories. But not all add-ins are bad. Sweetener is generally zero calories, and even though some are gross, there’s at least one that you’ll like. And certain spices, such as cinnamon, are fine to add. Adding spice to anything is a low calorie, high nutrition move. So just don’t add too much of the wrong thing and you’re fine.

So there are 24 bad habits to avoid, according to the Internet.com. And I just realized why I never bothered reading too many of those articles. They are really overthinking it. All of those could be boiled down to much simpler good habits. It’s really just the normie, old school diet advice that you need to follow. Exercise self-control and portion control. Don’t eat crap and don’t add in things unnecessarily. Also, don’t eat out too much, don’t go nuts at parties, and don’t be an alcoholic. Do these seven things and you won’t have to waste your time reading diet listicles by BuzzFeed soyboys.

Published by drilldowndiet

Formerly obese CPA/health humorist using Cronometer and FitBod to lose weight. Sharing assorted life hacks to squeeze nutrition and exercise into a busy schedule. Also on Twitter at @drilldowndiet and Facebook.

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