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I wish I'd known...

Hi all! I'm in my early 20s and I'm starting to get serious about taking care of myself long-term. My mom is always going on about things she wishes she had known when she was my age, and I was hoping y'all might have some good advice.

I'm specifically interested in things related to my health, but any other insights are welcome.

Thu. Aug 3, 11:25am

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i wish i had paid more attention to the adage "you are what you eat". all of the deli-meats and processed foods i ate in college, all of the alcohol, the deep-fried late night snacks, these may not show up on your physique right away, but do not be fooled!! there are artery-clogging fats, there are many impurities for your organs to filter out, there are hidden costs to enjoying these "foods" as much as i did in my early twenties.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 11:35 AM

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I wish I'd known about the impact of birth control on bone density (long term use) and consumed more calcium in my teens and twenties. Now I'm at an age where I begin to lose and I wish I had been more mindful.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 11:43 AM

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I wish I had applied sunscreen more regularly to prevent aged skin and reduce my risk for skin cancer.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 11:47 AM

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The more active you are through your childhood, teens and early 20s, the easier it will be throughout your life to get back into shape after slacking off. That "muscle has memory" concept is so true...even 40-year-olds who haven't worked out since college still have the build of a football player or swimmer or whatever they did back then, and can get it back way easier than those of us who, uh, played chess or whatever.

And do your lifetime finances a favor by cutting back to a single credit card with a self-imposed limit around $5K. Yes, there are physical health implications to this - from avoiding joint surgery because you can't cover your bills during recovery, to burying your concerns with cheesecake.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 12:36 PM

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Few questions for some of the above posters.

What do processed meats do to you and do they include deli meats that they cut straight off the bone?

What type of birth control causes bone density issues? The pill or depo or all? Will having more dairy in your diet help you now, for the future?

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:17 PM

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To the BC question....

All of them to some extent - Depo is worst since it is all Progestin, but all birth control contains some amount of progestin. So Depo is worst, but the pill has same effect. They don't decrease bone density, but they can keep you from building bone density (by making it more difficult for your body to absorb calcium) in your 20's and then when you start to lose bone density starting in your 30's you are at an immediate disadvatage - espeicially if you have not been getting adequate calcium (and calcium is best absorbed by the body when you get it in your food).

The makers of Depo warn that due to this effect women should not take depo for longer than two years.

I have been on birth control for nearly 15 years and have not paid very serious attention to my intake of dairy or green leafy vegetables and as such I seriously doubt I have gotten enough calcium to make up for the years I was on BC. This puts me at a greatly increased risk of osteoperosis, broken bones and joint problems as I age. Sure - I can try to do more now, but the years where it would have been most effective are gone and that's just the way the body works and ages.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:30 PM

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Hi all, OP here: Thanks for the great advice! I can definitely use it. Keep it coming!

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:34 PM

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well, when i was in my early twenties (almost 20 years ago), there were not as many alternative choices for deli meats as there are now-such as low-sodium, fat-free, "lean", i ate lots more salt and saturated fats than necessary. also, the added condiments have lots more fats, sugars, salt than one really needs. i think one can probably eat more healthy food these days from a deli, and with the flavored mustards and mayo substitutes and with a wrap instead of a roll, one has more options now.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 2:47 PM

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about the deli meats-not sure about the bone kind you are talking about, but the majority of deli meats available have sodium nitrate in it, a preservative that is very bad for you. get deli meats at a natural food store and most will say "no nitrates, no antibiotics etc". read labels fiercely!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 3:23 PM

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Thanks for the birth control advice! I was thinking about starting a calcium supplement even though I'm only 23... I think I will. I'd try to get more dairy, but, I already try that and I typically fail.

Thursday, August 03, 2006, 3:33 PM

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