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How Saying No Can Be Good for Your Health

How Saying No Can Be Good for Your Health

By Stacey Feintuch

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The word "no" seems so simple and easy to say. But it can be surprisingly difficult to say it and mean it. Saying no doesn't have to be hard or make you feel guilty, especially when you're saying no for the sake of your health.

When you say no, you can reclaim aspects of your life such as:

  • confidence
  • time
  • control
  • respect
  • energy

Here are some things you can say no to for the benefit of your health. Once you start saying no, you'll be on your way to saying yes to a healthier you.

Say no to: Eating processed foods
Say yes to: 
Eating healthy
Do you cave to the cookies in the break room? Nibble on your kids' animal crackers and chocolate chip cookies as you pack their lunch? Treats can be tempting. It's time to resolve to eat less unhealthy processed foods and sugar. Instead, indulge in good-for-you fruits, veggies and beans. Ditch refined carbs like white bread, pasta and rice. Aim for complex carbs like whole-grain bread, pasta and rice. These boast fiber, which has been shown to help hike fat burn, prevent weight gain and boost metabolism. And these complex carbs will help you feel fuller longer. Read more about foods that ruin your metabolism.

Say no to: Too many commitments
Say yes to: 
Less stress
PTA meeting Thursday night. Dinner with the girls Friday night. Back-to-back birthday parties on Saturday. Manning a table at the Little League bake sale Sunday. You're overloaded schedule has you stressed out, to say the least. It's OK to say no to a party or a night out in favor of some "me time" or family time. When you're under too much stress and overcommitted, you're more likely to get sick and feel rundown. Sure, you can't eliminate all stress in your life, but you can avoid certain situations that cause stress. Find out how to manage common causes of stress.

Say no to: Drinking too much and late nights out
Say yes to: Getting enough sleep
You go out with your best friends and may want to drown your stress with some drinks until the wee hours of the night. But, when you drink an alcoholic beverage, you burn less fat and do so slower than usual. Plus, alcohol is full of empty calories and can irritate your gastrointestinal tract, damaging your body's ability to absorb minerals, nutrients and vitamins. Yes, it's OK to have a girls' night out once in a while. But don't let partying with your squad steal your sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says that adults 26 to 64 should get seven to nine hours a night and those 65 and older need seven to eight hours a night. Read about the best teas for sleep.

Say no to: Smoking
Say yes to: 
Quitting smoking
Really, what good comes from lighting up? It weakens your immune system. It's associated with gum disease. It increases your risk of stroke, coronary heart disease and lung cancer (and more than a dozen other cancers), according to the Centers for Disease Control. The benefits of quitting smoking start within hours. Putting down cigarettes can help lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart attack. Need we say more?

Say no to: Channel surfing
Say yes to: Moving more
Step away from the remote! Resolve to exercise your body, not your thumb. Don't let the idea of leaving the sofa make you panic. You don't have to run a marathon or become a gym rat to get fit. Anything that gets you moving qualifies as exercise. Break a sweat doing what you love, whether that be dancing, running, walking, swimming or gardening. Short on time? Seek everyday opportunities to burn calories. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Vacuum the living room. Play a game of catch with your kids in the yard. Park in the last spot at the grocery store. Give your dog an extra walk. These simple bursts of activity will add up.