Suppose you gain weight and can’t figure out why. It likely has something to do with your normal habits. Many habits can cause you to gain weight, but you can work to change them. These habits include lack of sleep, poor diet, and lack of exercise, among many others.
Habits are hard to break, but with knowledge and consistent effort, you can make a change. To avoid additional weight gain, you have to take control and decide what is most important. If your health and weight are more important than your current lifestyle, you’ll be driven to make a positive change.
Sometimes, you may know that a change needs to be made, but you’re unsure what it is. Luckily, doctors have explained many of the habits that make people gain weight. Their insight can help you understand where the problems are and help you to reverse them.
Habits that Cause You to Gain Weight Without Realizing It
Your diet is the biggest factor in determining why you are experiencing weight gain. You have to consume healthy foods and drinks if you want to maintain or lose weight. So, if you continue to gain weight, you should seriously think about the things you consume each day.
Too Many Processed Foods Cause You to Gain Weight
Highly processed foods include sugary cereals, fast food, and microwave dinners. These foods contain added sugars, preservatives, and unhealthy fats in high amounts, all of which are incredibly unhealthy. Plus, doctors and researchers have found a direct link between processed foods, weight gain, and obesity.
While processed foods have lots of calories, they have no other nutrients, including protein and fiber. Because of this, they don’t make you feel full for very long, and you end up eating your next meal sooner.
If you want to knock this habit, you should begin incorporating more whole foods into your diet. The key is always to have whole foods nearby to be tempted to reach your usual processed foods.
Keep your favorite fruits and vegetables nearby for snacks because quick snacks are often processed on the go. It would be best if you also tried to keep beans and eggs on hand for quick but healthy meals. Other healthy options include nuts and seeds of any kind.
2. Caving to Your Sweet Tooth
Consuming too much sugar is a sure way to gain weight. When you give in to your sweet tooth too often, you’ll notice that this habit is one to be broken.
You will find high amounts of sugar in some of your favorite drinks, including soda, coffee creamer, sweetened coffee drinks, and sports drinks. Plus, you will, of course, find sugar in candy, cake, and ice cream.
Weight gain is often enough of a reason to cut back on sugar, but if it isn’t, sugar causes other health issues, as well. Studies show that it also increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
To stop this habit, you have to find other favorite snacks and drinks. When it comes to drinks, switch to warm tea instead of coffee and sparkling water instead of sports drinks or soda. For snacks, keep your favorite fruits on hand for your sugar cravings.
3. Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
Not getting enough movement is a big cause of weight gain. When you spend more of your day sitting than you do being active, you live a sedentary lifestyle.
Sometimes, this might seem out of your control. If you work at a desk or your career involves lots of driving, you may not be able to change those parts of your day.
Then, there are lifestyle choices such as watching too much TV or playing on your computer or phone too much. Studies show that too much screen time is one of the leading causes of a sedentary lifestyle.
Try incorporating a bit more exercise in your day, or even finding opportunities to stand more. Just one additional hour of standing a day can make a huge difference in weight gain.
Make it a habit to take a walk after dinner instead of playing on your phone. Or, take a walk during your lunch break at work instead of sitting in the lunchroom. Finding small blocks of time to get some exercise will be life-changing, and you will quickly notice the results.
4. Going to Bed Late Makes You Gain Weight
For a healthy body, you have to get enough rest. While there are many negative effects of a lack of sleep, weight gain is a huge one. Research shows that you must get at least six hours of sleep each night to prevent the weight gain associated with too little sleep.
If you can’t sleep at night, you can do a few things to try and improve your sleep quality. Make sure to stop having caffeine after a certain time each day. Determine what time would be best for you, based on how long the effects of caffeine affect you.
You should also limit screen time at night. The light from the screen stimulates your brain rather than allowing it to relax. This means that once you finally turn it off and try to lay down, your brain is overstimulated.
5. High-Stress Lifestyle
If you are often stressed out, studies show it could make you gain weight. When you are stressed, cortisol levels are increased in your body, making you feel hungrier and craving unhealthy foods.
To combat this issue, try practicing new stress management techniques. Or, work to change parts of your life that are overly stressful so that you can relax a little more. One idea is to try breathing techniques when you feel stressed and can’t leave the situation.
Other ideas include trying yoga, going outside, or meditating. These options can all offer long-term benefits to your stress levels if you do them regularly.
If you prefer to stay inside and out of the sunlight, that habit can make you gain weight. Fat cells respond to sunlight, getting smaller with exposure. On the other hand, you increase your ability to store fat by not getting sun exposure.
So, if you are guilty of staying indoors or out of the sunlight, make a change. Slather on some sunscreen with SPF and head outside whenever the sun is shining. No matter the time of year, utilize whatever sunlight you can.
7. Lack of Exercise
Exercise is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t exercise, you are sure to gain weight because of it.
This doesn’t mean that you have to become a bodybuilder or fitness fanatic. It simply means that you should get moving in some way for about 30 minutes each day.
If you don’t like to work out in a gym, you can do plenty of exercises at home. Yoga is a great one because it can be done anywhere, and there are plenty of options for beginners. Go for a walk if you can, and try to find someone who can go with you to make it more enjoyable.
You could also find an active sport you could participate in. Tennis and golf are both enjoyable and offer plenty of movement and exercise.
8. Keeping Your Home Cool
Some people enjoy a cool home, but this could have negative effects no matter the time of year. If your body is constantly having to work to raise its temperature, your body will begin storing fat. Plus, it will make you hungrier for unhealthy foods.
If this is a problem for you, start keeping your home a little warmer. Keep the air conditioner at a higher temperature or turn the heat up, depending on the time of year.
If you don’t want to (or can’t) change your home’s temperature, consider wearing warmer clothes. When your body temperature is appropriately regulated, you won’t store as much fat or eat as often.
9. Not Planning Meals or Snacks
Planning what you will eat is essential to keeping your weight gain to a minimum. When you get hungry and have no plan, you’ll be likely to grab whatever you can find. These options tend to be processed, full of sugar, and lack nutritional benefits.
Instead of relying on unhealthy options, be prepared. Have snacks handy wherever you go, and plan meals ahead of time. This goes for your lunch, as well, so that you don’t end up in a fast-food line when the time comes.
10. Regular Alcohol Consumption
While an occasional alcoholic beverage won’t cause weight gain, it will become a regular habit. Regularly consuming these beverages can skyrocket your calorie intake, quickly causing you to gain weight. Please pay attention to this and remind yourself that it isn’t worth the excess weight.
As you can see, many habits make people gain weight. Once you know what these habits are, you can work to change them. You will quickly see the results if you are consistent in breaking your unhealthy habits.
From lack of sleep to the way you eat, many parts of your lifestyle could be contributing to your weight gain. Take control of your life and use the tips provided here to become healthier.