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5 'unhealthy' habits that can actually be good for you

Did you miss a workout or eat extra dessert? Here's a look at some "slip-ups" that arent' as bad as you think.
Are you beating yourself because you slept in this weekend?
Are you beating yourself because you slept in this weekend?Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

Beating yourself because you didn't make that spin class? Feeling guilty for finishing that last bite of your ice cream cone?

A lot of us keep a mental tally of all the healthy and not-so-healthy everyday habits, but it's time to stop the cycle. Read on, because, you’re going to feel a whole lot better when you’re done.

1. Skipping a workout

This is a sign that your body might need a rest. I’m not giving you excuse mongers another reason to get cozy with your couch and Netflix, but I am saying that you just may need a break.

The key is to know when your muscles need to recover versus when you just want to scroll through your Instagram feed.

If you’ve done a super-strenuous workout the day before, like a long run or heavy lift, your body may need to recover to actually have a better workout the following day. When you over train, you can put yourself at risk for decreased immunity, disrupted sleep and poor exercise performance. Our muscles recover, rebuild and repair during rest periods. This is where what you eat comes to play, as well. A happy medium in most cases is to take your workout down a notch — try a walk or do a light yoga session.

2. Indulging

You may think having willpower is key to your weight loss and better health, but I’m going to squash that idea and tell you to indulge. That’s right, go find your favorite chocolate chip cookie, garlic bread or grandma’s risotto now.

Indulging may be your waistline's new best friend. Making conscious indulgences is part of being an empowered eater and can keep you motivated, reduce stress and less likely to binge later. And, oh yeah, it can also make you happy!

3. Stress

More than half of American working adults have reported feeling concerned about the stress in their lives in recent studies. We know that stress is not good for our health or weight. However, there is a slight silver lining.

Research has shown that short-term stress can actually have health benefits. A brief period of stress is called the fight-or-flight response, and is how our bodies are wired to react to immediate threats or danger. Think Superwoman. During this time, your body’s immune system is boosted to prepare for possible injury as a means of protection.

Don’t go picking a fight just yet — this added bonus only happens from short periods of stress, not from the chronic stress which most of us live with. Although a tiny bit of stress can be good, too much is not. Commit to working on your day-to-day stress with meditation, aromatherapy or exercise, and at the same time reap the benefits of the short periods of stress.

4. Fat

You love a good piece of cheese or peanut butter sandwich, but you’re trying to avoid fat. Well, guess what? Fat is your friend and it can help you lose weight. We need fat to burn fat, to stay satisfied and for our fat soluble vitamins do all of their good work. Just make sure you maximize the fat you eat by consuming the good kinds such as coconut, avocado, grass-fed butter, nuts, seeds and olives.

5. Sleeping in

Are you patting yourself on the back and looking around for a gold star every time you push yourself to get up at 5 a.m. to exercise or squeeze in an extra hour of work? Are you beating yourself up when you don’t? I’m giving you permission to sleep in tomorrow.

Even when you’re able to roll yourself out of bed in the early morning, your body is not giving you high fives. Sleep is as important as diet when it comes to overall health and weight loss. If you’re properly rested, being an early bird has its benefits. But if you’re lacking sleep, then whatever you’re doing with that extra hour in the morning is not worth it.

Lack of sleep is associated with decreased immune function, lack of sex drive, weight gain and a whole host of health conditions including heart disease. So, set that alarm an hour later at least a couple mornings a week and you’ll be doing something you’re likely to feel the benefits of stat.