Can’t figure out why you’re packing on the pounds lately? It may not be related to food at all. In fact, some of your habits may be contributing to the spike on the scale. Find out if you’re guilty of these seven habits that are quietly making you fat, and then take steps to correct them.
1. Sitting at your desk
It’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle — also known as the “Sitting Disease” — can lead to a whole host of problems (the least of which is a few extra pounds, by the way), but those problems are amplified if you’re sitting around just as much at work as you are at home. WebMD reports that “long periods of physical inactivity raise your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.” There are small gradual changes you can make, however, that will get you up and moving again. For starters, get up from your desk and walk around, stretch, or move for a period of at least five minutes. Need motivation? Instead of sending an email to Bill in accounting, take a stroll to his office to speak to him in person.
2. Not getting a good night’s sleep
There’s plenty of science that points to a correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain — there are hormones and other factors involved — but we don’t have to get complicated to understand that not getting enough shut-eye is hurting your waistline. The bottom line is that sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle that is facilitated by and also results in poor eating habits (like too many cups of coffee or a sugar boost to get you through the day) that lead to feelings of sluggishness that make you want to skip the gym which increases the likelihood that you’ll continue to eat poorly once you get home… and so on. Of course, when it’s time to go to bed, you’re too wound up to sleep — and so the cycle continues.
Work on developing better sleep habits, and it’ll be that much easier to develop better diet and exercise habits.
3. Poor posture, even if it’s an illusion
You’re not actually gaining weight if you have poor posture — you could be healthy and active and fit — but if you’re a sloucher, you’re making those couple extra pounds look likeseveral extra pounds. To combat this problem and ultimately look slimmer, be conscious of how you’re sitting and standing so you can work on your posture.
4. Riding instead of walking (or climbing)
Do you always take the escalator when there’s a staircase right beside it? Do you ride the elevator up one or two floors when you could walk? Are you hopping cabs to go a few blocks?
If these scenarios sound like you, you’re missing out on crucial exercise opportunities that may seem small individually but will add up over time and potentially result in weight loss. If you want to lose more weight, you need to get moving more often. Plus, if you do it throughout the day with small steps at a time, you won’t have to beat yourself up at the gym — which also can lead to discouragement and eventually avoidance of exercise altogether.
5. Taking certain kinds of medication
Some of the medications you’re taking may be contributing to your weight gain, so it’s important to discuss this with your doctor if you’ve noticed a change. Ideally, these side effects should be discussed in advance of the prescription so you’re informed, but if you’ve been on a particular medication for a while that you think is the culprit, schedule an appointment to get the situation under control.
6. Changing into sweats/pajamas as soon as you get home
This is more a psychological issue than anything else, because when you change into your pajamas as soon as you get home, you automatically enter a mindset that you’re not doing anything for the rest of the day or night. This leads to hours on the couch, binge watching television, and probably stuffing your face with junk food out of pure boredom. To curb this habit, add more hobbies and activities to your life that’ll keep you busy and moving. Don’t cop out with the ol’ “I don’t have time” routine either; if you’ve got time to stare at the tube for multiple hours on end, you’ve got time to do something more productive. It’s just a matter of your willingness.
7. Putting off exercise
t’s very easy to find a million other lazy things to do than get your butt up and burning calories. Trust me, I was a victim of that mentality for a long time. I understand how hard it is to get out of that rut. Nonetheless, it’s important for you to help yourself get healthy. Nobody else can do it for you, and you owe it to yourself anyway. Instead of brushing off the opportunity to get active next time — even if it’s just for a few minutes — take advantage of it. I promise that afterward your body and your mind will feel better, and hopefully it will be the beginning of a more positive, healthier you.