Man with vice

Vices: what will you give up this February?

We’ve all got our vices.

Some of us consume too much sugar, some of us drink too much alcohol, while others don’t exercise enough. The good news is there is help.

Febfast is an initiative where you can call time-out on alcohol, sugar or another vice of your choice, to support disadvantaged young people in Australia.

It’s the perfect excuse to kick-start the year with some good health and good will!

So, what vices will you focus on this February?

1. I’m giving up sugar!

Too many pavlovas, ice creams and sweet treats over the festive season? Is it time for a sugar holiday?

The issue

A lot of our energy intake now comes from processed and packaged food and drinks, like cereal and soft drinks. They often contain lots of added sugar, which isn’t great for our diet.

While eating sugar doesn’t directly cause diabetes, it can lead to weight gain if consumed in excess. Obesity is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes – a chronic condition affecting over 1.7 million Australians.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to cut out the chocolate and cakes, and curb those cravings!

Some ideas to get you started: keep a food diary, check food labels before eating, swap soft drink for water, and up your intake of fresh fruit.

It’s also a good idea to chat to your doctor in Pascoe Vale before starting a diet. You could even make an appointment with Jessica Fuller, our accredited practising dietitian.

2. I’m giving up alcohol!

Are you ready for a break from the alcohol-drenched summer months and the over-indulgence of the silly season?

The issue

Alcohol is a depressant drug, which means it slows down the messages travelling between the brain and the body. There is no safe level of drug use – it always carries some risk.

Some long-term effects of alcohol use include high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and sexual health problems.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to banish beer and bubbles!

Some ideas to get you started: catch up over a coffee instead of at the pub, be the designated driver when you go out with your friends, and keep track of the money you’re saving by not drinking.

If you’re a regular or heavy drinker, it can be dangerous to reduce or quit alcohol on your own.

Your GP can refer you to treatment such as detox, medication and even counselling to help manage withdrawal symptoms. You can also have a chat with one of our non-judgmental psychologists in Pascoe Vale, Julie Paschke and Jenny Ricketts

3. I’m giving up Netflix!

Do you find that the only exercise you do is reaching for the remote control? Is it time to give Netflix the flick?

The issue

When you have an inactive lifestyle, your health is affected in many ways. For example, you burn fewer calories (meaning you’re more likely to gain weight), you may lose muscle strength and endurance, your bones may get weaker, and your immune system may not work as well.

By not getting regular exercise, you raise your risk of things like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke – the list goes on.

What you can do

Challenge yourself this February to turn off the TV and get off the couch!

Some ideas to get you started: keep a diary of how many hours you’ve ‘saved’ by doing other activities, take the stairs instead of the lift, park your car a bit further away (forcing you to walk a little further), and give your dog two walks a day rather than one.

One of the best things you can do to get active – especially if you’re just starting out – is to have a chat with our exercise physiologist in Pascoe Vale, Mike Fitzsimon. Mike’s helpful approach will ensure you get that extra spring into your step.

Got any questions about your vices or don’t know where to start? Chat to your healthcare professional today.

 

Source: Febfast, MedlinePlus

Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.