Ok, so let’s just say I could relate to this story by Dietitian Julie Upton, after reading. I can say I’ve done all 5, sometimes all in one day! Ouch.
Story By Julie Upton http://www.appforhealth.com/
If you’re gaining weight and are unsure why, there could be a variety of explanations. Thankfully, dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD of Appetite For Health, offers five possible explanations for the upward creep of the scale and a few simple changes to prevent it.
If you weigh more than you want to, you’ve probably acquired a few “fat habits” over the course of your lifetime. These habits are behaviors and food choices that actually change the chemistry in your brain and can lead to intense cravings for high-calorie foods, an amped-up appetite, and the inability to stay satisfied — a triple threat for weight gain.
The good news is that by changing these behaviors (you can do it!), you can lose weight naturally — without going on a diet! Here are five habits worth changing:
1. Too Many Happy Hours
An unhappy side effect of happy hour is weight gain, and right where you don’t want it: in your belly. Alcoholic beverages — beer, wine, or spirits — have been shown in some studies to increase the hunger hormone ghrelin; light up areas of the brain that trigger cravings for high-fat, high-calorie foods; and chip away at your willpower. That’s why about 30 minutes after you drink your Cosmo, the chips and dip, fries, or potato skins become irresistible.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that drinking alcohol is more likely to cause overeating than watching TV or skimping on sleep. While moderate drinking (one drink per day) is less likely to increase your food intake — and pile on pounds — binge drinking (defined as having four or more drinks on one occasion) can certainly make your waistline go AWOL. According to the Centers for Disease Control, up to 24 percent of women ages 18 to 34 report binge drinking.
2. Lack of Zzz’s
A sleep shortage will not only leave you feeling tired, but hungry, too. Several studies have concluded that sleep deprivation increases hunger hormones and negatively affects the region of the brain that processes negative consequences of one’s choices. For instance, you might not even register the 450 calories and six grams of sat fat in a fudgy brownie — instead, you’ll just think about how great it would taste.
The good news? The more sleep you get, the less you’ll crave unhealthy foods. And really, who couldn’t use a little more shut-eye? Make it a priority to get to sleep 30 minutes earlier tonight. Experts recommend at least seven to eight hours a night for most of us, but ideal sleep time is highly individualized.
3. Too Much TV
If you can’t get enough Homeland, Game of Thrones, or House of Cards, don’t be surprised if you can’t get the scale to head south. Adults who log the most TV time are more likely to be overweight or obese. In fact, a six-year study of 50,000 middle-aged women published in JAMA reported that for every two hours they spent watching TV per day, they upped their risk of becoming obese by 23 percent. Researchers believe that television viewing stimulates appetite and increases the desire for high-calories treats. Meanwhile, eating while watching TV leads to overconsumption, as it takes more food to feel satisfied when you’re distracted (working, watching TV, driving, or online shopping; more on this below). Experts recommend limiting TV to no more than two hours per day to keep calories and weight in check.
4. Distracted Dining
Between posting, texting, tweeting, and everything else we do — instead of doing what we’re supposed to be doing — it’s not surprising to hear that we’ve become a nation of mindless eaters. But being checked in while eating is one of the easiest ways to peel off pounds. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition randomly assigned adults to either play a computer card game while eating lunch or doing nothing while eating. The results? Those who were distracted ate faster, consumed more calories, felt less satisfied, and ate up to 100 percent more during their next eating occasion, compared to those who ate their lunch without being distracted. Eat sitting down, with a plate and silverware, and pay attention to feelings of fullness.
5. Eating Out More than Once a Week
For every time you eat out, plan on consuming an average of about 200 more calories than if you’d eaten at home, according to a new study published in Public Health Nutrition. The researchers say the additional calories stem from larger portions, higher fat and calorie counts, and less produce servings. A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity reported that more than 50 percent of adults who eat three or more away-from-home meals per week as well as those who eat out the most have higher BMIs than those who eat out less frequently. That would equal at least 600 additional calories per week, or 31,200 additional calories in a year, the equivalent of about nine pounds. Plan to eat in more often; choose quick and easy recipes or cook on weekends for the week ahead.