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4 Everyday Habits That Wreck Your Health

We all are guilty of skimping on sleep, biting nails, skipping flossing or something similar. However, these seemingly benign things that you do on a regular basis may be anything but. Four women reveal their little indiscretions and share how they made a change for the better.

By Brooke Benjamin

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woman carrying a tray with desserts
Mary Lynn Blasutta
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"I never ate breakfast."
—Jennifer Krosche, Long Island, New York

This 37-year-old owner of a public relations firm and mom to a 13-year-old daughter thought she was way too busy to make breakfast and figured she was saving calories—until she realized how often she hit the vending machine for a midmorning snack.

The Danger: An a.m. meal keeps your eating in check all day. When University of Colorado Health Sciences Center researchers examined the habits of people who successfully lost weight and kept it off, they found that nearly 80% of them ate breakfast daily. Other research has shown that breakfast eaters have lower cholesterol and better brain function throughout the day.

Jennifer's Tips for Making Breakfast a Priority
Take two.
"I get up at 5:30 a.m., but I'm not hungry, just thirsty. I stock up on store-bought smoothies so that I can have one first thing. Then I eat something more substantial at the office (I keep whole-grain cereal, bagels, and fruit at my desk). Splitting my breakfast into two mini meals keeps me more satisfied."

Raid your lunchbox. "When I've tired of my usual breakfast or my office stash is running low, I change things up by eating what I brought for lunch: a peanut butter and jelly or turkey sandwich, or cottage cheese with fruit. Then I'll run out for a small salad later in the day."

Expert Advice: "It's good that Jennifer puts something in her belly early in the morning," says Family Circle Advisory Board member Susan Mitchell, Ph.D., R.D., co-author of Fat Is Not Your Fate (Fireside). "But since processed smoothies can pack serious sugar and calories, she should make her own."

This recipe, which can be prepared the night before, is one of Mitchell's favorites: Put 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt, 1 cup skim milk, and 1 1/2 tablespoons natural peanut butter in a blender and store in the fridge; place 2 bananas in the freezer. In the morning add the bananas and blend (makes 2 servings).

Surprise Benefit: "I can't believe the mental difference that breakfast makes. I can now get twice as much work done in the morning," says Jennifer.

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