Sneaky Little Culprits: The Little Things That Contribute to Weight Gain


Find out what's keeping you from losing (and keeping off) that weight



Regular exercise and a balanced diet are the two biggest factors in healthy weight loss. They're the two things people take on with caution and careful consideration: setting schedules, creating shopping lists, subscribing to special programs and swearing to commit to a lifestyle change. But what about the in-betweens? The little things that fill in a person's day before and after like taking a spin class or that *fun* calorie-counting at lunch?


These things, when put together, make up the third big factor in weight loss... and can be enough to render all your hard work at the gym useless.


Here, we list the little things that contribute big time to weight gain. Are you guilty of indulging in any of them?


#1: Keeping a fridge in your bedroom (or walking distance from your bedroom)


“Studies tend to show that when food is consumed late at night—anywhere from after dinner to outside a person’s typical sleep/wake cycle—the body is more likely to store those calories as fat and gain weight rather than burn it as energy,” says Kelly Allison of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders.


And if there’s anything that encourages late-night snacking, it’s keeping a fridge so close to where you sleep.


#2: Indulging in flavored drinks every day


This one’s called drinking your calories: You love your flavored drinks more than water. Not only are these packed with preservatives, artificial flavoring and coloring and sugars, but they also don’t do a good job of keeping your body hydrated.


#3: Loving and living for soda 


… And thinking that if you have diet soda, you’re in the clear and can have twice as much. It is a diet drink, right?


#4: Not drinking enough water


Water is key, people. Not only does it help burn more calories, but it also helps curb appetite. Drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day (the amount recommended by health experts) to keep those hunger pangs and bloating at bay—and keep your skin in great condition, too.


#5: Staying up late


Research shows that late sleepers consume 248 more calories a day (typically during dinner and later on in the evening) compared to those who have dinner early and go to bed early. It also showed that night owls also tended to consume half as many fruits and veggies, ate twice as much fast food and drank more sodas than those who went to bed early.


"The extra daily calories can mean a significant amount of weight gain - two pounds per month - if they are not balanced by more exercise," said Northwestern Medicine health psychologist and neurology instructor Kelly Glazer Baron.


#6: Constantly rushing


Always on the go or multitasking while you have your meals? People who are constantly rushing tend to rush through their meals, too. When this happens, they don’t get to watch what they eat, so they overeat. Another tendency that folks who rush have is having fast food astheir go-to. No shocker there.


#7: Feeling the need to celebrate every little thing with food


Promotion? Let’s eat out! End of exam week? Let’s eat out! Early clock out from the office? Let’s eat out! Not only is this habit bad for your body, it’s bad for your wallet too.


#8: Sitting down… all the livelong day…


Ah, the downside to the nine-to-five desk job.


Unfortunately, exercise isn’t enough to reverse the potential weight gain from sitting all day (and quite straightforwardly, sitting all day can kill you), but there are things you can do on your end to counter this little big thing.


#9: Not taking the stairs


…when your destination is just one or two floors up.


The act of climbing a flight of stairs alone will not whip you into shape, obviously, but taking up this little thing can get you your dose of aerobics in between your “active couch potato” hours in the day.



It pays to live more consciously, which means taking these little factors into account, too. Consider nixing these bad habits part of your weight loss plan!




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