Habits That Make You Obese and Overweight

1 TV 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 University4has shown that there is a link between the amount children eat and the amount of television they watch.

2 Eating 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, and insulin resistance.

3 Task Snacking

Task snacking refers to eating while doing other activities. If you often eat 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.

4 Passion for Fast Food

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 meal by replacing more healthy choices. They are known for having a high content of saturated and trans-fat, lack of fiber, and massive portion sizes, which leads to obesity.

5 Eating To Manage Feelings

Emotional eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food (usually “comfort” or “junk”) 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?

6 Too 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.

7 Your Friends Can Make You Obese

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.

8 Lack 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.

9 Unaware Of Calories

Many people eat with no idea of the calorie or fat value. This leads to weight gain because you can easily consume twice the normal amount required to maintain your weight, let alone lose weight, if you don’t know how many calories you are consuming.

10 Credit 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 4.9 pounds per year.

11 Missing 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.”

12 Uncomfortable 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 6,250 calories per year.

13 Neglecting Scales

Recent study from the University of Minnesota found that people 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.

14 Boredom

A survey by the Priory Group in the U.K. found that more people ate when bored than when stressed.

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