How To Bounce Back From Your Bad Habits

We all have vices--but Cosmo challenges you to do some damage control.

Everyone's got something they're not proud of, whether it's a chain smoking problem or a penchant for binge eating when you're stressed. These habits may seem inconsequential at first, but they can do serious damage to your health and well-being in the long run. Start undoing the damage of these four major habits that take a toll on your body:

Bad Habit #1: Smoking

Countless government warnings seem to have little effect on the popularity of smoking among women today. This particular habit is difficult to quit due to the reportedly addictive properties of nicotine. To bounce back from this hazardous (not to mention, cancerous) habit, ask your doctor to hook you up with a counselor who can give you a personalized kick-butt plan. Also, ask your MD about taking a nicotine-replacement product, like a patch or gum (but be careful about trying out fads, like the e-cigarette, which may pose certain risks).

Bad Habit #2: Eating Too Much Junk Food

Getting take-out every now and then isn't too harmful, but it's easy to get used to that fast food lifestyle. Get the nutrients you need by making a few easy food swaps during the day on a regular basis. For example, trade diet soda for vegetable juice or a low-fat fruit smoothie. Or swap a sandwich on a roll for one on vitamin-loaded whole-grain bread. To be sure you know exactly what's going into your food, BYOB (that's Bring Your Own Baon!) as often as possible.

Bad Habit #3: Being Excessively Overweight (And Not Doing Anything About It)

There's nothing wrong with being curvy, but if you find yourself gaining a significant amount of weight that's making you insecure or causing health problems, it's time to get your body into gear. Don't go crazy with the exercise or crash diets, though. The safest and most successful goal is to lose a pound a week. That means cutting back on about 500 calories a day. The simplest way: Slash 250 calories from your daily meal plan and then burn off another 250 calories via exercise.

Bad Habit #4: Feeling Stressed Or Depressed

Stress is a natural reaction to overwhelming situations. Don't let your emotions get out of hand, or you could slide into depression. Curb this by doing little things to cut your stress level, like allowing yourself at least an hour of unscheduled time to chill out each day. If you have the blues for more than two weeks straight, ask your primary-care doc for a referral to a mental-health specialist.

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