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14 Habits That Can Make You Fat

Posted Dec 21 2009 12:00am

14 Habits That Make You Fat

1TV Watching
Prolonged TV watching is a strong predictor for obesity1. Recent research2 has proved that people who watch around two hours of TV per day are much more likely to be overweight than those who watched only half an hour per day. When you watch TV you are virtually motionless. Your heart rate, blood pressure and metabolic rate decline, resulting in burning 20 to 30 calories less per hour. Research by Harvard University4 has shown that there is a link between the amount children eat and the amount of television they watch.
2Eating Too Fast

It is a habit of most people living in a fast paced society. Eating fast lets you eat too much before you are fully aware of it. It takes the brain about 15-20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Scientists suppose that fast eating is a risk factor for the metabolic syndrome3, a combination of the symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.
3Task Snacking
Task snacking refers to eating while doing other activities. if you often eat meals or snacks while working by yourself in front of your computer, while driving, watching TV, or standing at the kitchen counter, shopping with a friend, or talking on the phone, it's likely that the "task snacking" eating style is increasing your odds of becoming overweight or obese.
4Frequent Fast Food Consumption

One of the big reasons we’re seeing more obesity in our society these days is that we are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, often opting to get fast food at the nearest drive-thru instead. Fast foods compromise the quality of the diet by replacing more healthy foods. Fast foods are known for having high content of saturated and trans-fat, low content of fiber and massive portion sizes, which leads to obesity.
5Eating To Manage Feelings
Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food (usually "comfort" or junk foods) in response to feelings (such as depression, anxiety, or loneliness) instead of hunger.
Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. How many times have you found yourself scouring the kitchen for a snack, or absently munching on junk food when you’re stressed, but not really hungry?
6Too Busy To Exercise
With all the demands on your schedule, exercise may be one of the last things on your to-do list. If so, you’re not alone. Americans live a more sedentary lifestyle than we have in past generations, yet our minds seem to be racing from everything we have to do. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic, clocking hours at our desks, and plopping in front of the TV in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.
7Your Friends Can Make You Fat

If you're putting on weight, you might want to take a look at who you're hanging around with. A study7 published in the July 26, 2007 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that obesity may be "socially contagious." The study was conducted on more than 12,000 people over 32 years, and concluded that having an overweight friend, sibling or spouse increased one's risk of obesity by 37 to 57 percent.
8Lack Of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of obesity by boosting ghrelin (an appetite stimulating hormone) and lowering leptin (an appetite suppressor). The study5 from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom found that, compared to an eight hours of shut-eye, each one-hour decrease in sleep duration was linked to almost 3% more body fat.
9Unaware Of Calories And Fat
Many people eat foods with no idea of the calorie or fat value. This leads to weight gain and unhealthy eating habits because you can easily consume twice the normal calories required to maintain your weight, let alone lose weight, if you don't know how many calories you are eating.
10Credit Cards

Your plastic may be affecting more than just your credit score. Visa conducted a study of 100,000 fast-food restaurant transactions and found that people who pay for their food with a credit card spend 30% more than those who pay with cash. For the average woman, who visits a fast-food restaurant once a week, that adds an extra 17,160 calories, or 4.9 pounds, per year.
11Missing Meals
Research shows that people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight, and that morning meals seem to help those who've lost weight keep it off. Denise Bruner, MD, obesity specialist and former president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, says that skipping meals of any kind results in a "tremendous bout of compensatory hunger."
12Uncomfortable Clothing
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse6 found that casual and comfortable clothing workdays promote increased physical activity. Specifically, study participants took an average of 491 (or 8%) more steps on Jeans Day than on those days in which they wore normal business attire. It is also estimated that study participants burned an average of 25 additional calories on Jeans Day with the extra steps and miles walked. Wearing casual clothing every day for 50 weeks of work translates into burning an additional 125 calories per week and 6,250 calories per year.
13Neglecting Scales

Recent study from the University of Minnesota found that dieters who weighed themselves daily lost about 12 pounds over two years, while those who never did shed only four pounds. Other research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that those who have daily weigh-ins (along with face-to-face support) are 82% less likely to regain five pounds than a control group without weigh-ins or support.
14Boredom
A survey by the Priory Group in the U.K. found that more people ate when bored than when stressed.
Sources & References
  • 1. Hu FB, Li TY, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Manson JE. Television watching and other sedentary behaviors in relation to risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. JAMA. 2003 Apr 9;289(14):1785-91. PubMed
  • 2. Shanthy A Bowman. Television-Viewing Characteristics of Adults: Correlations to Eating Practices and Overweight and Health Status. Prev Chronic Dis. 2006 April; 3(2): A38. PubMed
  • 3. Kral JG, Buckley MC, Kissileff HR, Schaffner F. Metabolic correlates of eating behavior in severe obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001 Feb;25(2):258-64. PubMed
  • 4. Ads for Unhealthy Foods May Explain Link Between Television Viewing and Overweight in Children
  • 5. Rontoyanni VG, Baic S, Cooper AR. Association between nocturnal sleep duration, body fatness, and dietary intake in Greek women. Nutrition. 2007 Nov-Dec;23(11-12):773-7. Epub 2007 Sep 20. PubMed
  • 6. Casual And Comfortable Clothing Workdays Promote Increased Physical Activity American Council on Exercise
  • 7. Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler. The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years Volume 357:370-379 July 26, 2007 Number 4 NEJM



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