From that 3pm trip to the snack machine to those evenings
curled up on the sofa with your favourite treat, we all know the major culprits
when it comes to gaining weight. However, the reasons why you’re struggling to
keep off the pounds may not be as obvious as you think. To rid yourself of
sneaky diet spoilers, check out these seven surprising things that make you
Surprising thing that makes you fat: Your friends
close friends generates plenty of health benefits, research has also indicated
that being overweight can be contagious amongst friends. Research results
published in the journal PLoS ONE
indicated that students were likelier to gain weight if they had friends who
were heavier than them, while a study published in The
New England Journal of Medicine found that having an obese friend
increases your chance of obesity by 50 per cent. The good news is being slim
can also be contagious, so try to influence your social group and keep your
weight down by arranging healthy, fun group activities such as walks, bike
rides or dance classes.
Surprising thing that makes you fat: Diet foods
cleared your cupboards of junk food, stocked up on smoothies and cereal bars,
and now you’re feeling pretty saintly. However, those seemingly innocent diet
foods nestling in your cupboards could actually be causing you to gain weight.
Many foods claiming to be diet-friendly are actually hidden calorie traps
packed with sugar and syrups. In fact, ‘healthy’ cereal bars can contain as
much fat, sugar and calories as an average chocolate bar. Research by the Texas
Health Science Center at San Antonio also found that those who consumed diet drinks
daily experienced a 70 per cent greater increase in waist circumference than
those who drank none.
Surprising thing that makes you fat: Late nights
Most of us
lead busy lives, and this could mean that sleep becomes a last priority.
However, a study by researchers at the University of Washington found that
getting less than seven hours of sleep a night was linked to a higher body
weight. They also found that the longer a person sleeps, the less impact the
obesity gene has on an individual’s weight. For a quick and easy way to keep
off the pounds, try to skip your favourite TV show or night out every once in a
while and catch up on your sleep instead.
Surprising thing that makes your fat: Your to-do list
As well as
causing you to miss out on sleep, having a hectic daily to-do list can also
lead to feelings of anxiety and stress, which can quickly pile on the pounds.
Cortisol – the stress hormone – not only increases your appetite, but studies
have suggested that it can also affect fat distribution so that it is stored on
the abdomen; leading to an unhealthy 'apple' shape. Furthermore, a busy
lifestyle can also lead to erratic eating patterns and a reliance on unhealthy
fast foods. Try to opt for healthy filling snacks instead to fuel your busy
day, and make sure you take some time each day to relax and unwind.
Surprising thing that makes you fat: Food sensitivities
While few of
us have serious life-threatening allergies to food, many people unknowingly
suffer from intolerances and sensitivities to certain foods which can cause a
wide range of vague symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating and skin problems.
Shockingly, food sensitivities could also be to blame if you are struggling to
lose weight. When you eat foods you are sensitive to, this triggers a reaction
in the body which increases levels of insulin and cortisol; two hormones which
increase fat storage, particularly around the abdomen. Furthermore, our body’s
reaction to food sensitivities can also, ironically, create an addiction to the
foods we are sensitive to, causing us to crave them more.
Surprising thing that makes you fat: Your job
you’re being tempted by staff meeting refreshments, celebrating a colleague’s
birthday with cake and treats, attending business lunches or being inundated
with edible gifts from grateful patients or parents, your workplace can be a
source of constant food temptation, and there can be a lot of peer pressure to
indulge. Furthermore, if you’re in a job that you don’t enjoy, the temptation
to treat yourself is even higher. According to researchers, 62 per cent of
people break their diets mid-afternoon (with 3.23pm being the time when you are
most likely to give into temptation), and this is generally due to workplace
stress or boredom.
Surprising thing that makes you fat: Exercise
regular exercise is essential for good health, research has found that relying
solely on exercise to manage your weight can actually be ineffective. Studies
have shown that exercise, when not combined with dietary changes, does very
little in respect to losing weight. Statistics also show that while obesity
levels continue to grow so do the numbers of people getting active, which shows
that exercise may not be having its desired effect. While exercise itself is
not to blame, experts believe that many exercisers gain weight as they undo the
benefits of their exercise regime by increasing their calorie intake to fuel or
reward their sessions; often overcompensating for their workouts.
Read more on Realbuzz
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