Embracing The 7 Deadly Sins

How bad behavior can lead to good health

Don’t shun the dark side—embrace it! How to turn “sinful” behavior into killer strategies that can help you stay fit and healthy.

Pride = Self-Love
What’s wrong with a little vanity? Feeling good about yourself makes it easier to stare down those glazed donuts in the kitchen at work. Multiple studies suggest that self-confidence can provide the boost needed to successfully lose weight and keep it off. So, take a few minutes to gaze in the mirror everyday with adoration.

Envy = Motivation
Jealousy is an easy way to steer yourself off-course. Don’t let your envy of Gisele’s butt or of the burly guy benching 300 pounds next to you at the gym stop you from reaching your potential. Instead, use the green-eyed monster as encouragement. Through their studies on the emotion, researchers in the Netherlands found that envy can actually motivate people to improve themselves.

Gluttony = Indulgence
Nobody said you had to be a saint! Perpetual dieting will leave you an easy target for unhealthy temptations. Create balance by allowing yourself a special treat now and again. Researchers at Yale University have found that just thinking you have eaten something indulgent (even if it may actually be good for you!) can produce a level of satisfaction that restrained eating never provides.

Lust = Pleasure
Go ahead, buy that expensive dress you’ve always wanted but can’t fit into. Hang it in a visible spot and try it on often! If clothing isn’t your thing, what is? Use what gives you pleasure as reward to stay focused on your health goals. A USC study found that people tend to work harder and make more effort in whatever it is they are doing if there are coveted rewards along the way.

Anger = Action
Annoyed that your jeans won’t zip? Tear them off and do some sit-ups, right here and now! As a general rule, there’s nothing healthy about Biblical rage. Channel that anger constructively, though, and you may get a lot of positive benefits. According to studies by the American Psychological Association, anger can be a great catalyst for change, spurring you into taking charge of your life.

Greed = Prioritizing Yourself
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “not enough time” is among the 10 most common reasons why U.S. adults do not exercise. Combat this by creating a schedule and sticking to it. Be greedy about the time you spend doing the things that are important–and healthy!–for you. Don’t let other tasks or other people’s demands stop you from prioritizing your own daily needs.

Sloth = R&R
When’s the last time you took a break without feeling guilty? Relaxation is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, a recent study by Kaiser Permanente found that people looking to lose 10 pounds or more found it easier to do so when their stress levels were low. Lie on the couch and do nothing, soak in the tub with a magazine, or let your spouse or partner give you a foot rub—being “bad” is exhausting! You surely deserve the break.