Do you feel like the scale just won’t budge? There are many daily behaviors that may be subconsciously making you eat more calories than you think. Luckily, research is identifying more of these diet wreckers.
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Reams of research now show that skimping on zzzs leads to pounds gained. In fact, in one sleep study, women who were kept awake longer, ate 329 more calories and men ate some 263 more calories over the day, compared to when they had their normal amount of sleep. What’s more, the women craved and ate more comfort foods (read: high-cal, high-fat, high-sugar) like ice cream and fast food.
An extra 300 calories a day equals 2100 calories a week and that equals more than a half-pound weight gain per week. As you can see, being sleep-deprived can make the pounds pile on if you do it for extended periods of time. And, unfortunately, we can’t hibernate and sleep off the fat that we’ve gained. Research shows that lack of sleep disrupts our natural hunger and satiety hormones, which drives individuals to overeat.
Your Kitchen Is a Mess
Do you leave leftovers or treats on your kitchen counter? Are less-than-healthy foods visible when you open the refrigerator or pantry? If so, Researchers have found that cluttered and chaotic environments can cause stress, which can lead us to grab more indulgent snacks. In tests conducted by Cornell University Food and Brand Lab reported that women participants who were told to stay in a messy kitchen ate twice as many cookies than those in tidy rooms, increasing their intake by 65 calories in just 10 minutes compared to women who waited in an organized kitchen. Women who reported being stressed and subjected to the untidy space ate even more calories.
You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
Water doesn’t “flush” away pounds or “detox” your body, but studies reveal that people who drink more water tend to be thinner. What’s more, newer studies show that drinking two glasses of water before each of your main meals can help you eat less too. Swapping a glass of water every day for one sugar-sweetened beverage could shave some 50,000 calories and more than 65 cups of added sugar from your diet. That could mean pounds lost! As a good hydration goal, strive to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces of water every day. If you weigh, 140 pounds, you would drink 70 ounces of water.
You Watch Cooking Shows
If you watch Rachael Ray, Top Chef, Chopped or other cooking shows, research shows that they’re bad for your waistline. One study had subjects watch 10-minute clips of either Planet Earth or Food Network. After the clips, the subjects were given 10 minutes to taste-test a variety of foods. Results? Participants watching the cooking program increased consumption of chocolate covered candies by 100 calories, compared to those watching Planet Earth. This study shows that in a short period of time, watching food shows may hijack your brain to make you desire or crave items similar to what is represented on TV.
You Look at Recipes on Pinterest
Pinterest is loaded with what’s commonly referred to as “food porn,” due to the images of decadent treats that make you drool on your keyboard. In fact, studies of Pinterest users reveal that the most pinned food and beverages are the most unhealthy. Researchers from the University of Southern California measured brain activities while women looked at images that would be found on Pinterest compared to non-food images. They found that looking at the junk food activated the region of the brain that controls appetite and reward, whereas the non-food images didn’t. Viewing the photos of the food also upped participants’ hunger and cravings for sweet and savory treats. If you want to Pin without gaining pounds, create boards for healthy cooking recipes.