Everyone has bad habits. I don’t believe there is a human being alive who doesn’t. In everyday life, most of these aren’t a big deal. So you forget to put your shoes away, no one is going to die from that. You’re not a bad person if you have a weakness for chocolate.
Survival situations, however, are different from real life. A bad habit that may simply be an annoyance to your spouse on a regular day could have severe consequences in an emergency. Here are 5 examples of bad habits that will kill you when your survival is on the line.
1. Eating out
It’s no secret that eating out too often is detrimental to your health and your wallet. It’s much more expensive to eat at a restaurant than it is to cook your own food at home. New York Times columnist Mark Bittman breaks it down in this article.
He calculates that a trip to McDonald’s will set you back $28 for a family of four, whereas a home-cooked chicken dinner with vegetables is only $14. And, it’s not only the expense. It’s also much easier to overeat at restaurants because portions tend to be larger. Then there is the issue of making healthy food choices, something that may be difficult in a restaurant setting. Even when you ask for nutritional information, you still have no idea about the additives in the food.
TIP: Has eating out put a dent in your budget? Remember that financial preparedness is one area in which most survival experts have little to say. I recommend Dave Ramsey’s advice for budgeting and saving.
But here is the biggest reason why the habit of eating out too much can be a bad thing. Even if you choose an establishment that primarily serves healthy food, an over-reliance on outside sources for the preparation of your meals can make you less likely to develop cooking skills and habits of your own. Even if all you have in your food storage is freeze-dried, ready-to-eat, just-add-water meals, what will you do when they run out? Do you know how to cook from scratch, and are you comfortable enough with the process that you could do it every day?
2. Being out of shape
An emergency situation, whether in the short term or in a long-term SHTF scenario, will put a significant strain on your body. It is impossible to foresee the specifics of what that strain will entail.
Difficult circumstances might require:
- Walking long distances
- Lifting heavy objects for an extended period of time
- Going without the comfortably large amounts of food or water to which we are accustomed
- Doing hard, manual labor all day, every day
A fit person who exercises with some regularity will be much better placed to meet these challenges. That doesn’t mean that you should sign up for the Marines’ wilderness survival training, even though I am sure it wouldn’t hurt. If you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle, it is never too late to become more active. Even the smallest amounts of exercise are better than nothing.
(Ever thought of taking Karate? Here is how to choose a Dojo!)