It’s obvious that consuming too much fatty or sugary foods is a habit that contributes to increasing obesity rates globally. A diet that isn’t balanced paired with a couch potato lifestyle is the problem for most of the weight gain that you may be experiencing, bringing on its own issues such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
But you may be subconsciously doing the below habits that are making you gain weight without you even knowing it. They may seem like nothing, but they’re the secret enemies that are increasing your weight. Tackling these habits will help you move towards a healthy weight without making any drastic changes to your life.
1. Not planning your meals ahead of time
If you go shopping late or wait until your stomach is growling to choose what you’re going to eat, that decision is going to be difficult. Your brain literally doesn’t work to its full capacity if you’re hungry. So it looks for something, which will instantly make you satiated – like a cookie instead of a piece of fruit.
To avoid this, you can plan your meals ahead of time, so that you won’t have your hungry-brain thinking about it when it’s time to prepare the meal. If you do want a snack because you’re starting to feel poor from being hungry, fill up your kitchen cupboards with healthy snacks such as whole wheat pita chips and hummus dip.
2. Missing meals
It might seem like an obvious thing to do to skip meals when you’re wanting to diet, as you’re consuming less calories throughout the day. However, this habit can actually make you gain weight rather than lose it.
This is because your metabolism slows down when you choose to skip a meal, making it a longer process to burn calories when you eat next. You’ll also be more hungry than normal, so you are likely to overeat during your next meal.
People who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to become obese according to research by The American Journal of Epidemiology.
3. Eating when you’re bored
It’s easy to pick at snacks when we’re in the middle of our latest Netflix binge; but studies show that you are more likely to eat 5-10x more food than you would if you weren’t watching TV. Not that TV is to blame.
If you’re bored at work and eating your lunch or eating while you’re talking about something, it can distract you enough to not even realise that you’re overeating. If you are someone who eats at your desk or can’t get through a series without a snack, ensure that you pull out a portion of food, so that you can’t access any more when it’s gone.
4. Scoffing your food
You wouldn’t think that the speed at which you eat your food would affect anything – it’s more about the amount of food, isn’t it? Yes and no. The problem is that there’s a slight time delay of about 20 minutes between your brain to your stomach to let it know that it’s full.
This means that if you’re scoffing your food, you won’t realise that you’ve eaten too much until it’s all gone.
It should take you about 20 minutes to finish your meal. The University of Rhode Island’s study found that slower eaters took a third less of the food compared to those who ate faster. Cut your food into smaller bites to help yourself along the way.
5. Eating ‘low fat’ foods
Despite the years of public health warnings we’ve had regarding consuming fat, new studies show that sugar is actually a more looming cause of obesity.
We’ve all been buying more low fat foods as we believe that they are ‘healthy’, but this isn’t the case. Foods with removed natural fat may be less calorific, but that fat is instead replaced with sugar and bad chemical additives that are far more unhealthy. For you.
Sugar is quickly used up or stored by the body, which means that you’ll be hungrier sooner. Meaning that if you’d have eaten a balanced meal instead, you would have eaten fewer calories, as you would have been fuller for longer.