Sometimes, when you think you’re doing everything you can to stay in your healthy weight range (whatever that means for you), weight gain may still creep up. Get back on track by ensuring one of these sneaky factors isn’t to blame.
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Stress not only causes us to eat more but it’s notorious for throwing a wrench into healthy eating plans. When we're stressed we’re much more likely to choose items that are high in fat and calories but low in nutritional value. Chronic stress has also been shown to increase abdominal fat.
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You’re not getting enough sleep
The more tired you are, the more likely you are to make poor food choices. Who feels like cooking when they’re running on fumes? Skimping on sleep may also affect the hormones involved in appetite regulation making it easier to overeat or eat when you’re not actually hungry. Being tired will also make it much tougher to exercise.
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You’re consuming too many liquid drinks
Be mindful of how many liquid calories you consume. All those lattes, post-work cocktails, mid-afternoon sodas and smoothies add up more than you might realize.
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You’re skipping meals
Regularly skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day and it can have a negative impact on your metabolism. You’re better off grazing on healthy snacks on days you're finding it hard to sit down for three meals.
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You’re eating in front of the TV
Eating in front of the television (or any screen) is distracting and makes it almost impossible to pay attention to what or how much we’re eating. The simple act of eating while you watch something can lead to extra calories consumed.
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You’re eating diet or low-fat foods
There’s no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss, even when the labels reads “diet” or “low fat.” Foods that contain these labels can be very unsatisfying, causing you to eat more. They're also often packed with filler ingredients, which means less fat and more sugar. Stick to a small portion of the real deal — you’ll eat less and be much more satisfied. You can also try incorporating foods that will melt your fat away into your daily meals as a way to eat better and get healthier.
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You’re ignoring portion control
You might think that what’s on your plate is the equivalent of one serving, but is it? We often over-serve ourselves so it’s always best to find out what a serving is and then measure it out.
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It’s your medication
Some medications have the unfortunate side effect of causing weight gain. If you feel like you’re putting on weight for no reason, ask your doctor about whether or not any medication you’re taking could be to blame.
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You’re allergic to something you’re eating
Like medication, some food allergies can cause weight gain. If you’re unaware of any food allergies but think you might have developed a non-threatening adult-onset allergy, an allergy test might help determine if an allergy is contributing to weight gain.
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You’re an emotional eater
Sometimes we don’t even realize we’re reaching for the cookies each time something goes wrong (or even right for that matter). Take stock of when you’re eating and why. If an emotional response triggers your need for food, work on finding other ways to deal with those feelings.
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You’re relying on takeout or restaurant meals
Very rarely will a takeout or restaurant meal have less fat and calories than something you make at home. The more you eat out or order takeout, the more your chances of weight gain increase.
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You’re eating “healthy” meals
When is a salad not just a salad? When it’s coated in high-calorie dressing and full of high-calorie additions like nuts, cheese and avocados. The same goes for soups with added dairy, or wraps and sandwiches with added sauces and cheese. Be mindful of all of the ingredients in what you're eating, not just the fact it looks healthy. Even when it comes to the ingredients, there are vegetables that aren't as healthy as you think.
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You’ve slipped into a fitness rut
A fitness rut is something you might not notice yourself getting into, but it will impede weight loss progress. The more you keep your workout interesting, the harder your body has to work and the more positive results you’ll see.
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You’re eating what others are eating
Whether it’s your friends, spouse or coworkers, it can be easy to fall into the trap of ordering or eating the same thing as the person you’re with even if the portion size is too big for you, you’re not even hungry, or the fat and calories are more than what you need.
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You’re snacking at night
Nighttime snacking is often mindless snacking. It’s done while watching a movie or as a way to de-stress after a long day and the calories don’t get burned off like they would if you were consuming them during the day. See if you can channel your nighttime snacking habit into doing something else like drinking tea, knitting, reading, or having a bath.
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You’re underestimating your calorie intake
We often underestimate just how much we eat in a day, forgetting about small bites or snacks here and there and unintentionally overeating in the process. Keep a food diary for a week to get a better sense of what you’re eating, when and why to better keep a handle on how much you consume.
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You’re expecting too much from exercise
Walking for 30 minutes every day is great but it doesn’t make up for overindulging later. We often give ourselves license to eat more than we normally would because of a trip to the gym. There’s nothing wrong with treats but keep moderation in mind.
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You’re tied to your desk
The more time you spend seated behind a desk the more likely you are to gain weight. Combat desk time by moving more at work. Set a timer to remind you to get up and walk around once every hour and make a point of taking a 30-minute walk on your lunch break — it's just one of the ways to burn more calories during your work day.
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You’re letting the weather dictate your workouts
Sometimes workouts can slow to a crawl once the cold weather hits. On those days where the deep freeze sets in, the thought of even getting from the house to the car to get to the gym can seem daunting. Watch that the colder temperatures aren't becoming a regular excuse not to stay active.
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You’re having a few drinks after work
A few drinks with colleagues here and there is fine, but regularly taking in extra calories in the form of cocktails can quickly add up, not to mention make you more susceptible to poor food choices.