12 Worst Habits That Will Make You Fat

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Habit #1 – Drinking Sweet Soda

coke and sweet soda

People think that regular soda is evil, and diet one is good. However, that’s far from the truth. Yes, the regular version is packed with a lot of sugar and not much else, but its “light” version isn’t any better.

Besides containing artificial sweeteners – can be dangerous in large quantities – diet sodas are also a poor substitute for the water that you should be drinking enough throughout the day.

Pay attention: The world is full of pure water to drink, and until the 20th-century humans seemed fine with that. Coca-Cola, however, has made every American (and many people around the globe) feel like they need a sip of sugar every ten minutes.

Habit #2 – Focusing on Low Fat Foods

yogurt dessert

The problem with eating low-fat foods (especially dairy products) is that they’re one-sided. For example, protein is crucial to every aspect of the body’s maintenance but often comes with fats attached (think bacon, fried eggs, or cheese).

These nutrients are not inherently evil, and, in fact, a lack of protein can severely hinder your weight loss efforts. Fat is not that bad, it just adds up quickly.

Keep in mind: Fatty foods are denser, so you have to be aware of that when portioning and planning your meals!

Habit #3 – Skipping Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

meal from shrimps

Each meal plays a particular role during your day. Many men and women have a habit of skipping breakfast altogether. Often, thanks to this we feel less hungry throughout the morning and may not even starve for lunch.

That makes us feel like we’re losing weight, or that we’re virtuous because we’re not eating as much. However, this comes with a price.

Your body is trying to save a lot of energy during that time. Therefore, you will feel tired and weak. Try exercising in the morning and see if you still don’t want anything to eat, as:

  • Hearty breakfast tells your body that there’s no famine, and it can still power you to your fullest potential.
  • Lunch, of course, helps you going through the long afternoon hours.
  • Dinner, too, helps your metabolism keep up its pace and energy until you go to sleep.

Keep in mind: Skipping any one of your main meals can put your organism into semi-starvation mode, which isn’t good for your weight loss plan from a long-term perspective.

Habit #4 – Eating Out of Big Packages

sandwich in big paper package

This bad habit is hard in the United States! Everything in the grocery store is “Family Packed” and “Value Sized“, and the lower prices make those big containers really tempting.

Once it’s in your house, you’re one stressful day at work away from sitting on the couch with that gallon of ice cream until there isn’t a spoonful left.

Tiny packages, like 100-calorie packs, or even splitting large containers into smaller ones at home, can completely avoid this conundrum.

Keep in mind: Saving containers and plastic bags and sealers are so abundant nowadays that there’s no need to leave anything in a giant package unless you’re going to serve it all for dinner or at a party the next day!

Habit #5 – Lack of Protein in Your Daily Menu

eggs on breakfast

Despite the government’s beef and dairy subsidies to farmers, Americans seem not to understand the value and variety of protein available to them. Vegetarians and vegans are especially at risk of not getting enough of this substance, which can cause all sorts of health problems, from eyesight issues to anemia.

People are also unaware of all the ways they can get it – aside from regular meat. Many foods are rich in protein, including fish, cheese, yogurt, nuts, tofu, eggs, and more.

Pay attention: Any of these sources, even in small amounts, can really bolster your diet to provide the lasting energy you need to work at the office and work out at the gym.

Habit #6 – Taking Big Bites

Girl Eating Fruits and Vegetables

Much like eating too fast, having huge bites creates the illusion of a smaller meal – bigger means fewer, and you’re likely not to chew those big bites any longer than the regular ones.

These “shark bites” also make it hard to enjoy your meal.

The key to appreciating and being satisfied with smaller meals is to eat in proportion to what you have. If there’s very little of something, take just small morsels so you can taste the flavors more fully.

Pay attention: If there’s a lot, take slightly bigger bites. You don’t have to eat all that is on your plate. It’s not wasteful to throw away food rather than dump it on your metabolism, which puts it right on your belly and hips.

Habit #7 – Not Drinking Enough Water

water with raspberry

We people tend to forget easily to drink, especially in the winter months when we’re not sweating. The recent explosion of water bottles and filters is partially in response to this, but it can’t fix the fact that we often don’t realize we are thirsty until we’re severely dehydrated.

However, liquids are needed for your body to function properly. This includes weight loss, and as a bonus, it makes you feel full.

Keep in mind: Foods that are recommended for weight loss are very high in water content because they make you feel like you’re taking in a ton of fuel when you’re really just self-hydrating. Water in your belly is no substitute for a healthy diet, but it definitely helps avoid binging or thinking you’re hungry when you’re not!

Habit #8 – Not Enjoying Your Meal & Eating Too Quickly

woman with detoxing smoothie

In the past few years, many studies have looked at the way Americans eat when compared to Europeans, Africans, and Asians. These are aimed at finding out why the U.S. is such an obese country, and one of the differences they have consistently found is that Americans don’t savor meals.

We prefer to grab a sandwich “on the go” and consume it in the car or eat a bowl of cereal in front of the computer in the morning rather than to prepare our meals carefully and eat them slowly. Time is of the essence, and people in the U.S. have taken this to mean that eating should be a fast activity.

Keep in mind: This expectation has led to fast meals, which leads to overeating because you’re overfull before you even know you’re not hungry anymore. Consuming more slowly allows your body’s hunger and satiety mechanisms to keep up with your mouth and tell you the right time to put the fork down.

Habit #9 – Lack of Sleep & Its Abundance

woman sleeping well

The problem with lack of sleep is critical and also very simple – when you don’t have enough rest, your mind and body don’t operate efficiently. Being always tired does not allow you to exercise your willpower efficiently and decreases the quality of your choices, including food.

Pay attention: Too much sleep, of course, means you’re not using much energy, and so the same amount of food will turn more readily into fat than if you were up and mobile for sixteen hours.

Habit #10 – Serving Your Meal on Large Plates

salad with meat

The American-sized restaurant dinner plate is eleven to twelve inches across – almost twice as large as an average one in Europe. We have the idea that bigger is better, and this apparently applies to our dishes as well as our SUVs and houses.

Why does it matter how big our dishes are?

Well, because our eyes and brains can’t really tell the difference between a large meal on a large plate and a tiny amount of food on a small one. Visually, these seem like the same.

Pay attention: In other words, the smaller your dish is, the smaller your ideal portion is likely to be – we want to fill most of the plate. Smaller plates have less space around the meal on them, so they make portions seem larger, which is good for eating just the amount you need and no more.

Habit #11 – Eating Artificial Sweeteners

woman with emotional eating

Although we now know the dangers of excessive sugar and insulin resistance, Americans are drinking less sweet soda than ever – but replacing it with artificial versions of the same thing.

The problem here is twofold.

When you taste diet soda, your body still thinks it’s getting sugar, so it gears up appropriately to use the fuel – and then doesn’t get it.

Keep in mind: This leads to problems with metabolism and more sugar cravings. The other problem is that you’re still priming yourself to crave sweet snacks all the time, which is a habit that can and should be broken.

Habit #12 – Not Measuring Your Weight

weight loss leptin hormone

Nobody likes to weigh her- or himself, but it’s a crucial step in effective weight loss. There are many technological tools available to help you track your body size as well as a myriad of other things.

These should include your heart rate and paces per day, eaten calories, body fat percentage, and much more.

If you don’t weigh yourself, though, you can’t know if you’re moving forward or backward in your journey. You also can’t make adjustments based on the changes, or congratulate yourself when you get to your goal weight.

Keep in mind: Although fitting into certain clothes may be a good secondary goal, it’s not measurable or scientific the way a scale is.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed on the anemia thing. My neighbor just lost her husband and she wasn’t eating meat since he was the “meat cook” at home, so she fell down with anemia and now she vowed to try to integrate more proteins in her diet.

  2. I work 3rd shift – for the last 18 years…and with OT it’s hard to get the sleep, let alone the quality of sleep I need on a daily basis. With the sun shine and neighborhood activities..it hard to get “quality” sleep when I do get the chance….. Does anyone have any ideas, or suggestions for consistent sleep during the day….and no – there is no opportunity to go to 1st or 2nd shift in the near future. Thanks,

  3. My father is a rapid eater and I don’t really know if that is a good thing or a bad one. I mean he has always been this way and he doesn’t do it because he is in a hurry to go somewhere. It’s just the way he eats. Could this be a normal thing or should he slow down? I don’t know if I can change his way of eating but I want to know if this is ok or not.

  4. Before last year I was only drinking, maybe 4 water glasses daily! And that was one of my good days! I wasn’t aware of the crucial importance that water has for us but after I’ve been told that I started drinking a lot of water. I am now usually drinking 10 water glasses each day and sometimes much more! My body feels cleansed!

  5. I used to love big, juicy packages! It didn’t matter what was inside really, it was all about the size! I used to eat so much that I soon developed an overweight problem and doctors told me to stop it or I will face the real threat of having a stroke! A stroke at 32! God that scared the life out of me! With the amazing help of my family and 2 friends I started to eat smaller portions and learn to deal with my addiction for big packages. And I’ve lost 30 pounds thank you very much!

  6. My mother used to skip breakfast. She said she was in a hurry and most of the times she even had a black coffee on an empty stomach. It only took 5-6 years for her to get an ulcer because of this. Don’t ever skip any meal especially breakfast which is the time you use to fuel your body for the entire day.

  7. My boyfriend is a huge soda fan and I just don’t know what to do to make him stop. He’s a Coca Cola maniac and some days he drinks over 3 liters! I’m convinced this will get him in the hospital sooner or later! I’ve tried talking to him more than once and he says he will reduce the intake but it doesn’t last more than a few days. He’s addicted to this stuff! Any tips on how to handle this? Thanks!

  8. I think the hardest one for me is taking time to eat my food. I have children and that usually means eating when I can and doing it quickly.

  9. I am sure that if I would take my time when I eat, I could easily lose a few pounds without even thinking about it. I will try it. Thank you!

  10. Good article! For me the greatest problem was always drinking water I’m so terrible at it. A day can pass by without me having more than 2 glasses. Very unhealthy I know and I need to change it fast

  11. Thanks for the list!
    I’ve been trying to lose weight and your blog i really helping me get started, you always have such useful tips&tricks and advice!

    I’m sad I need to cut out my soda habit, but oh well.

  12. number 8 reminds me of a book called “French Women Don’t Get Fat”, which said just that at one point.
    you kinda get used to eating stuff on the go, but truth is, you don’t know what’s in there!!! you could be eating 500 cals worth of sandwhich in just a few bites! 🙁 this is why i always pack stuff from home

  13. thank you for the post!!! i have a few bad habits from this list, including drinking soda! i’m trying to ween myself from it, but it’s really hard. i think i must be addicted to all that sugar…

    i heard about the plate thing! even experimented, and it’s true! when i ate from small plates and bowls i ate less…so people, take care with the size of your china hahaha

  14. Sleep is a big factor in weight…the less you sleep, the more tired you are…this not only messes with your hormones, but with your appetite as well, because you’ll feel the need to get more energy from food! It’s awful, this is why I ALWAYS gained weight in college when finals happened.

  15. drinking soda is awful for the weight! when we first started dating, my bf was drinking close to 3l of soda per day! under constant nagging, he quit and lost 7 lbs! from soda alone, can you believe that!

  16. Great post. I have found that drinking any soda whether it is diet or normal makes me feel unhealthy, and packs on plenty of extra wait that I do not desire. I have begun resorting to water rather than the multitude of energy drinks, coffees, teas and sodas that are currently on the market, and I have noticed that I feel far more alert and healthy 🙂

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