5 sneaky things that make you gain weight

Can’t seem to lose those last few pounds? Or are you gaining weight as the years go on? Read on to discover the sneaky ways you might be gaining weight without knowing it, plus tips for curbing bad habits.

By Liz Bruckner

Weight loss tips: 1-5
Admit it: No matter how many times you read about how overindulging in fat, protein or carbs canmake you gain weight, you still can't perfectly balance your diet. Well, join the club, because as much as we try to stay on the straight and narrow, slip-ups happen – including the ones you don’t realize you’re making. With that in mind we polled an expert dietitian for her take on some of the most problematic (and mostly overlooked) ways people unknowingly gain weight. Here are five common offenders. 

1. Eating when you’re not hungry.
Why it makes you gain weight: There’s something about sitting in front of a TV, office computer or restaurant table that brings on the urge to chew, even if you’ve just finished eating. The fix? Distraction, says Toronto-based registered dietitian Madeleine Edwards. When you finish a meal, brush your teeth. Taking this small step means you’ll be less likely to want to dirty them. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum to keep your jaw busy, or keep food out of your view completely. As for restaurant dining, ask your server to remove food from the table once you’ve had your fill. You’re more likely to overeat if there’s a basket of bread or half-eaten plate of pasta sitting out.

2. Eating more diet foods.
Why it makes you gain weight: According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, sweeteners in many low-calorie and diet foods interfere with how the body processes the amount of calories it ingests, and, as a result, can lead the body to believe that other sweets it digests are calorie-free, too, which can promote weight gain. The key to keeping the pounds off? Make sure you pay attention to how much you eat, factor each calorie into your daily allowance, and don’t turn to these types of foods as meal replacements.

3. Eating richer, fattier meals once the cold weather hits.
Why it makes you gain weight: Contrary to popular belief, the arrival of fall and winter doesn’t automatically plant an extra five or 10 pounds on your bottom, but eating calorie-dense meals and lazing around can. To avoid packing on winter pudge, act as you would in warmer months. Sign up for a fitness class, eat lighter meals, and head outside more often. The bonus: Walking in bulky winter gear can add resistance (think of those heavy, clunky boots!) and help you burn extra calories.

4. Skipping meals
Why it makes you gain weight: Think of your metabolism as a furnace – when you’re not fueling it, there’s nothing to keep the fire burning. And every time you skip a meal, it lowers the flame a little further, meaning that when you do finally eat, calories aren’t likely to burn off as efficiently as they would with a constant supply of energy. To remedy the problem, says Edwards, aim to eat every three to four hours. Not only will this stoke your metabolism’s fire, but fueling up this often will help prevent cravings for sugary, fatty foods, too.

5. Buying food in bulk..
Why it can make you gain weight: Unless you have a family of ravenous wolves camped out at home, chances are, buying in bulk will only add to your size. After all, the more food you see, the more likely you are to eat. To address the problem, try these options. Stick to regular-size packages, or pick up the bulk version but divide and conquer as soon as possible. By using plastic bags or containers to portion-control how much you eat at each sitting, you’ll keep your diet in check and cut down on packaging waste at the same time.

Read more:

Discover the truths and myths about your metabolism
Photo gallery: Top 10 healthy foods you've never tried
How to snack yourself skinny


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