If you’re logging hours in the gym to no avail on the scale, it’s time to rethink your game plan. Here, things you’d never suspect could be making you fat.
1. Your Reading Comprehension
We all know that person, the one who eats burgers and still loses weight while you eat salad and yogurt and can’t shed a pound. Turns out the problem may not be your appetite; it could be your reading skills. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, healthy-sounding labels are duping dieters.
2. Your Diet Soda Habit
Put down the pop! Studies have shown that subjects who drink two or more diet sodas a day have waist size increases up to six times greater than those of people who don’t drink diet soda. These insidious sodas may be free of calories, but they’re not free of consequences!
3. Lack of Sleep
New research suggests sleepless nights don’t just ruin your mood the next day—they could also damage your waistline. Researchers at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital found that while sleepy folks seem to burn the same number of calories as well-rested people, they consume about 300 more calories a day.
4. The Room Temperature
Trying to lose weight? Turn down the thermostat. A cozy home could be contributing to making you fat, suggests research in the journal Obesity Reviews. When our bodies are cold, we shiver, causing our muscles to contract to generate heat—and burn calories.
5. Your Overweight Friends
A New England Journal of Medicine study declared that people can actually ”catch” obesity from close friends. When researchers followed 12,067 people over 32 years, they concluded that those of us with very close friends who are obese have a 171 per cent higher chance of becoming obese too. The theory goes: you’re influenced by your friends, and if they overeat, you may unwittingly follow their lead. Surprisingly, spouses have less sway over the belly than close friends of the same sex. The good news is that it may also work in reverse. Hang out with thin people and you might lose weight.
6. Your Stress Level
When you have chronic stress, your body steps up its production of cortisol and insulin. Your appetite increases, and so do the chances you’ll engage in “hedonistic” eating in the form of high-calorie sweets and fats. When you try to combat stress with food, you activate the reward center of your brain. After that initial feel-good spell wears off, you’ll reach again for the same thing that made you feel good, calm, and relaxed in the first place: more food.