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New Year, New You, Part 2

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6 Unhealthy Habits That Promote Weight Gain

If you have decided that this year is the year that you want to lose weight for good and keep it off, congratulations. You have taken the first step towards a healthier, happier life.

However, if you want to make the changes necessary to lose weight and maintain that weight loss, it probably helps to understand some of the less-than-optimal dietary habits that led you to gaining weight, to begin with. Most of us do not put on excess, unwanted weight overnight, or even over the course of a few months; often, it takes many months, years, or even decades of poor habits or less than optimal diet and lifestyle choices to pack weight on.

To that end, it is unfair to expect overnight results, either. It would be wise to approach any philosophy that promotes overnight success with extreme skepticism.

So, what are some bad habits that can lead to weight loss?

1. Eating the wrong kinds of foods.

Most people have a at least a basic understanding of what healthy foods are. Regardless, many people subsist on what amounts to “junk” food, and this comprises the majority of people’s diets. We all have a good idea about what these kinds of junk foods are; they include things like candy, soda, fast food, desserts, and sugary drinks. Even though we all know that we should not be eating these kinds of foods, many people still regularly consume things like chips, snack cakes, candy bars and other convenience store food fare, take out, or drive-thru meals.

Foods like these and other processed foods contain three primary offenders, as far as weight gain is concerned: Sugar, refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats. Most of our processed food is loaded with these ingredients, all of which prompt mechanisms in our body that promote weight gain.

2. Sedentary lifestyle.

Many of us do not get enough exercise, which hurts us in two ways. First, exercise burns calories, which would otherwise be turned into stored fat. Secondly, exercise promotes healthy metabolism, which would in turn either burn more fat during rest, or prevent more calories from being stored as fat.

Exercise is crucial to maintaining healthy weight, yet many of us neglect it.

3. High Stress Lifestyle.

Maintaining a high-stress lifestyle promotes a variety of hormonal mechanisms in the body that contribute to weight gain. In addition, many people often crave unhealthy foods if they are under constant stress. Stress likely influences our diet and our weight more than we give it credit for.

4. Poor Planning.

Poor planning ruins the best of intentions. Often, many people who begin a diet fail to take into account their schedule, or what they stock their refrigerator with. Hunger can be a diet’s worst enemy, and when you have not made plans to have healthy food at arm’s length, you are more likely to reach for the first unhealthy thing to cross your path.

Keeping a house full of healthy food and taking your schedule into account are critical for maintaining a healthy diet.

5. Keep an erratic eating schedule.

Trips to the fridge late at night are not necessarily the worst offender when it comes to gaining weight, although the excess calories late at night do add up. Likely, however, most people are not craving broccoli and carrots late at night; most people are opting for ice cream, pizza, or other highly caloric fares that can wreck a diet and certainly contribute to packing on the pounds.

6. Eating in excess.

This gets talked about less than it should, but the fact is many people consume more calories than they realize and certainly more than they need. Often, people do not realize how many calories are in a lot of the foods they consume, even when those foods are considered “healthy”. Weight loss is not always as simple a calorie in vs. a calorie out, but that does play a role and should certainly be addressed if you are trying to lose weight.

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