5 ‘healthy’ habits that are making you fat
Virtuous things that can pile on the pounds
When trying to lose weight, some of the first things we do – such as cutting down on fat, drinking more water and eating more fruit – can also be the things that cause us to struggle to lose weight or even pile on the pounds. Check out the 5 ‘healthy’ habits that could be making you gain weight, as well as how to make them more diet-friendly.
Cutting fat from your diet
Hands up who’s ever checked a packet and then rejected your food choice based on the fat content? If you’ve ever been on a diet, we’re guessing your hand is probably up. For many dieters, fat seems like the ultimate enemy. However, opting for low fat products can be much more of a diet disaster than opting for those that contain moderate amounts of fat.
Firstly, many low fat meals are packed with sugar to compensate, meaning that they can still inevitably lead to weight gain. Furthermore, contrary to what you may think, not all fats are good for you, and studies have found that eating good monounsaturated fats – found in olives, nuts and avocados – can actually help to promote weight loss.
Drinking plenty of water is undoubtedly good for you; helping you to stay hydrated and energized and to keep your organs and digestive system in good condition. However, studies have shown that the chemicals found in water could also be making you fat.
Not only have research results published in PLoS ONE shown that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastic water bottles encourages the body to create more fat, our drinking water can also contain the hormone estrogen, which affects the way our bodies store fat. The more we are exposed to these chemicals, the harder it becomes to lose weight. However, there’s no need to panic just yet – while ditching water clearly isn’t an option, experts suggest that filtering your water or using a reverse osmosis purification system can limit the chemicals you are exposed to.
While exercise is essential for good health and, when approached correctly, can help you to shed excess pounds, many exercisers make vital mistakes that can lead to them gaining weight. Firstly, research has found that relying solely on exercise to manage your weight can actually be ineffective. Studies have shown that exercise, when not combined with dietary changes, does very little in respect to losing weight.
Additionally, many of us overestimate the amount of calories burned through exercise and adhere to the myth that exercise continues to boost the body’s ability to burn fat well after our workout is over. Therefore, we often end up overcompensating for workouts with pre- or post-workout snacks, leading to weight gain. For maximum weight loss benefits, try to incorporate both exercise and dietary changes into your day.
Looking on the bright side
While impulsive and optimistic people may be happier (and therefore have stronger immune systems) than their more anxious and pessimistic counterparts, research suggests that they could also have more trouble losing weight.
According to research by America's National Institute on Ageing, impulsivity is the strongest predictor of who will become overweight. Furthermore, researchers from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan studied obese women and men partaking in a six month weight loss program and found that those who were more positive and optimistic in their outlook lost the least weight. It is believed that positivity may cause weight gain by causing optimists not to worry enough about their weight to resist temptation and stick to a strict healthy eating and fitness regime.
Snacking on fruit
Fruit is undoubtedly nutritious, being packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. However, due to its healthy properties, many people overindulge on fresh fruit, juices and smoothies, forgetting about the fact that many fruits are also high in calories and sugar. Although fruit is healthy, remember that a calorie is still a calorie, and the ones in fruit are as likely to make you overweight as the ones in any other food.
Furthermore, research results published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that fructose (the sugar found in fruit) can help to trigger overeating, as after consuming fructose the brain doesn’t register feelings of fullness and satiety as it does when we consume glucose. While it is still important we feed our bodies with the nutrients found in fruit, those struggling with their weight should ensure they don’t go overboard. You should also try to obtain some of these nutrients and fiber through vegetables, which are lower in sugar and calories.