Health & Wellness

10 Sneaky Habits Making You Gain Weight

11.04.11 Burger_Fries

Many of us are continuously looking for a silver bullet when it comes to weight loss and management.  However, the best weight management tools aren’t always the most obvious.  Some of your habits might actually cause you to gain weight rather than shed pounds. Cotton Candy enlisted the help of Lisa Brown and Jennifer Medina, founders of Brown and Medina Nutrition in New York City.  They spell out ten sneaky habits that may be causing you to gain weight.

No. 1 Mindless Eating
Eating with distraction – in front of the TV, while reading, typing, writing, in a car, while standing up and needlessly eating out of boxes and containers – can result in excess calorie ingestion.  Mindless eating undermines your ability to recognize when you’re full.  The best way to feel satisfied is by paying attention, plating your food and slowing down.

No. 2 Eating When You Are Not Hungry
Eating for boredom, anxiety, loneliness feels good in those few minutes. If you find yourself in the kitchen hunting or circling the grocery stores, stop and ask yourself if you indeed want to eat?  Rather than eating to eradicate an emotion, distract yourself with an unrelated project for 20 to 30 minutes.  Even the strongest urges can subside in that amount of time.

No. 3 Missing Meals
Skipping meals is a setup for overeating later on. There are no savings of calories.  Your best bet is to eat three meals spaced throughout the day to get the most out of your metabolism.  Don’t forget that afternoon snack to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner.

No. 4 Inadequate Protein
A portion of protein at every meal helps to keep you satisfied longer and helps maintain a healthy metabolism.  Without a proper fuel mix, your blood sugar dips and the body signals a desire to eat despite having had sufficient calories.  Your protein portion need not be larger than a ¼ to 1/3 of your meal.

No. 5 Not Enough Vegetables and Fruits
Instead of filling up on other grab and go snack foods, have loads of veggies and fruits on hand. They are packed with nutrients and fiber to keep you full with a low dose of calories.  Use these foods to displace those ever expanding starches.

No. 6 Poor Preparation
Be prepared. Having a refrigerator and pantry stocked with the right foods – lean proteins, whole grain carbohydrates, fruits, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats – means you’ll be prepared to eat what you should when you should.

No. 7 Inadequate Sleep
Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of obesity by boosting ghrelin – an appetite stimulating hormone – and lowering leptin – an appetite suppressor. Compared to eight hours of sleep, each one-hour decrease has been linked to almost three percent more body fat.

No. 8 Inactivity
Both weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise burn calories and boost the metabolism. Not everyone likes the gym culture. Not to worry.  The goal here is to move. Walk wherever, whenever and take the stairs.  It all adds up. You’ll stick with it if you’re having fun.

No. 9 Eating out
It’s simply harder to count calories and be more vigilant of the nutritive value of your food when you eat out because others have prepared the food.  Stay in control and aim to increase the number of home prepared meals.

No. 10 Liquid Calories
Calories that enter your body in liquid form count against your daily total, but they don’t make you feel full like those we chew. Liquid calories often come in the form of alcoholic beverages, sodas and juices.  All of these should be limited, too.


Written by: Lisa Brown and Jennifer Medina

Lisa Brown and Jennifer Medina are the founders of Brown and Medina Nutrition in New York City. They are certified weight management nutritionists, eating disorder specialists, certified diabetes educators and pediatric nutrition specialists who work with individuals and families to develop a plan that is unique to specific needs.

Cotton Candy Magazine®