If you’re a single Millennial out there in the big bad world of dating, you know you’re not always treating your body right. Sure, you might haul yourself to the gym twice a week to slog through some miles on the elliptical, but between heavy meals, bottles upon bottles of booze and far too little sleep, the lifestyle can really take a toll on your health.
Navigating the casual dating scene with your health intact can be difficult, even for those who think it’s all in good fun. Here are five irrefutable ways today’s hook-up culture is sabotaging your well-being.
1. It kills your self-esteem.
Online dating apps make it so easy to judge people based entirely on their looks. That’s not to say this hasn’t been true in the past, but it’s especially brutal out there today.
The anonymity of Tinder, Hinge and other apps means you can wait around for someone to swipe in your favor for days, or even weeks. You may start to wonder, “Am I that unappealing? Does the fact that I’m a good person mean nothing?”
When you’re not getting the kind of attention you feel you deserve, it can be incredibly demoralizing. That lack of confidence can translate over into other areas of your life and cause serious damage.
2. It puts you at risk for STDs.
Even if you’re not sleeping with someone, there are some nasty things out there in the world. And it’s never from the people you expect.
My college was known as the place “where fun goes to die,” yet the most innocent looking nerds were getting freaky. Just because she looks like a geek, doesn’t mean that red bump next to her lip is a zit.
Get yourself checked regularly, and try to use protection.
3. It interrupts that much-needed shuteye.
When you’re always on the prowl for your next hookup, it can mean a lot of late nights. First you pre-game with your friends, then you hit the bars and then you meet someone cute.
Before you know it, you’re sucking face in an Uber at 3 am, headed back to his place. Sleepy time is eons away.
Studies show that lack of sleep is one of the worst things you can do to your body. It ages you as much as the sun and alcohol, it causes poor focus, weight gain and a host of other disorders, including anxiety and even depression.
4. It’s all about alcohol.
Yes, we know you can’t sit through multiple first dates per week without that liquid courage, but when it becomes three or more drinks in an evening, several days per week, you’re not doing your body any favors.
5. It forces caloric overconsumption.
Just like with the booze, dating means you’re going out to eat a lot. And whether you’re good about ordering healthy dishes or not, simply eating restaurant food can take a toll on your waistline.
Add in the fact that you’re probably drinking heavily, and you’re far more likely to crave salty, cheesy, carb-loaded anything. Try to opt for fresh, grilled food whenever possible, and don’t be afraid to be the person who wraps up half your meal to go.
Hopefully, your date can appreciate your frugality and discipline.
While hook-up culture promotes overeating, over drinking and over sexing, it doesn’t mean you have to let your body go to sh*t. Pamper yourself and make smart choices.
Consider limiting your nights out to once per week, and suggest turning a typically wild evening with friends into something more low-key. Give yourself a curfew, and try to never let an unbearable sleep deficit build up.
Sure, you’re only young once, but you also only have one body. Take care of it!