Your plate is filled with veggies. You carve out time to exercise. And yet every time you step on the scale, the needle seems to be creeping upward. Here’s unsettling news: Some of your most health conscious habits may add pounds.
When it comes to losing weight and burning excess fat, it’s not just about dieting and calorie consumption. Some people follow a healthy diet but never lose weight, and it seems like nothing will work for them. It’s important to realize that weight loss goals need to incorporate factors that go beyond just food – there are many other daily habits that will influence your success, and if we don’t control them they can even cause additional weight gain.
An extra 500 or even 1,000 calories a week isn’t going to make dent in the bathroom scale. Instead, it’s the little things we do, day in and day out, things that we barely notice we’re doing, which determine whether our waistlines are trending upward or downward.
Achieving a healthy weight isn’t a simple task and it requires a lot of commitment regarding both our food intake and daily habits. If you don’t already know what behaviors can cause weight gain regardless of a healthy diet, please keep reading this article to find out.
1. Poor sleep: According to Wake Forest researchers, dieters who sleep five hours or less put on 2½ times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on only slightly less than that. Shoot for an average of six to seven hours of sleep per night—the optimal amount for weight control.
2. Diet Soda: It’s true that diet soda has fewer calories than regular soda. However, artificial sweeteners in diet soda may increase your appetite. Studies comparing groups of diet soda drinkers to non-drinkers find that the drinkers gain significantly more weight than nondrinkers.
3. Eating Quickly: It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s had enough. A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that slow eaters took in 66 fewer calories per meal, but compared to their fast-eating peers, they felt like they had eaten more. What’s 66 calories, you ask? If you can do that at every meal, you’ll lose more than 20 pounds a year!
4. Eating just before bedtime: The desire to eat food at night before going to bed is usually not caused by hunger, but rather out of habit. People who have this craving, usually for something sweet or high in calories, need to understand that it’s not going to help them lose weight. Rather than having a treat before bedtime, start programming set times for meals throughout the day and if you need a snack in between, reach for some fruit instead.
5. Eating while distracted: Slowing down and savoring your food can help you control your intake. Eating while watching TV, using a cell phone, computer, or other distracting devices is a big mistake. According to research conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat while distracted consume 50% more calories. It addition, it’s been shown that those who eat while distracted feel less satisfied and may feel the need to eat again later.
6. Stress: Anxiety is a powerful trigger for weight gain. Occasional, acute stress is no big deal. On the other hand, chronic stress – from an unsupportive boss, or an unsupportive partner, for example – is a problem worth addressing. A chronically stressed-out person will have trouble sleeping, get sick more often, and gain weight. So make a plan for attaining a lifestyle in which you have a strong support network.
7. Drinking out of plastic: BPA triggers and then stimulates two of the key biological mechanisms underlying obesity. Bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA, can negatively impact fertility in both men and women and has also been been linked to obesity. Don’t believe it? The science doesn’t lie: A 2011 Harvard study found that adults with the highest concentration of BPA in their urine had significantly larger waists and chance of being obese than those in the lowest quartile.
8. Eating too quickly: Eating too quickly is a common habit today, and not many people realize that chewing food carefully and slowly is not only safer but also aids in digestion. Spending at least 20 minutes eating without distractions and chewing food carefully is recommended.
9. Skipping breakfast: A new study in animals suggests that skipping meals sets off a series of metabolic miscues that can result in abdominal weight gain.Whether it’s because they don’t have time in the morning, or think that it might help them lose weight, people who skip breakfast are engaging in a very bad habit that believe it or not can actually cause weight gain. It turns out that this first meal of the day actually activates the metabolism and starts your day off right by burning calories. A good breakfast is one that combines complex carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats.
10. Consuming an excess amount of salt: Excess sodium consumption causes fluid retention that increases body weight. However, chronically taking in too much sodium can lead to a host of problems that last a lot longer than bloating does.
11. Not drinking enough fluids: German researchers found that six cups of cold water a day could prompt a metabolic boost that incinerates 50 daily calories. That’s enough to shed five pounds a year!Adequate water intake is essential for all your body’s functions, and the more you drink, the better your chances of staying thin. In one University of Utah study, dieting participants who were instructed to drink two cups of water before each meal lost 30 percent more weight than their thirsty peers. And you can magnify the effect by adding ice.
12. No Physical Acitivities: Leading a sedentary lifestyle is one of the most common causes for obesity in the world because people who don’t exercise also tend to eat more, storing more fat and limiting their physical activity. It’s crucially important to avoid being a couch potato for dietary reasons, but it can also help us avoid a serious illness in the long-term.
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This article is not intended to take the place of a competent nutritionist or doctor. It is solely intended to educate people on the vital and perhaps underestimated importance of this nutritional element.
If you suffer from a medical condition, consult your doctor. If you have questions as to the application of this information to your own health, you are advised to consult a qualified health professional.