Clinic Dietitian Kathleen Zelman, says that when we recognize our bad eating habits, we feel empowered and it’s easier to break them. Breaking bad habits in addition to adopting good ones will effectively cause weight loss. But the gain will be much bigger since you will have adapted to a healthy routine and you will be aware of all these unhealthy habits that attract weight like a magnet.

Bright Side has gathered a few healthy habits that will be effective when trying to lose unwanted weight. Be sure to read to the end of the article to catch the important bonus weight loss tip!

1. Avoid low-fat products.

A study that was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research showed that people who consumed products that were labeled as “healthy” found them less filling and ate more in order to satisfy their appetite. Additionally, in order to replace fats, these products are filled with low-performing carbohydrates that digest quickly and bring back the feeling of hunger quickly. This means that you’ll eat more in order to fill your stomach, resulting in weight gain.

2. Try getting 6-8 hours of sleep daily.

Researchers at Wake Forest Medical Center have found that people who sleep 5 or fewer hours a night put on over 2 times more belly fat than those who sleep an average of 6-8 hours per night. Not sleeping as much as you should makes you feel hungry even if you’re not. This happens because sleep loss affects the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that regulates the appetite.

3. Don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach.

You must have heard people say that they can’t eat anything before drinking a cup of coffee right after they wake up in the morning. Dr. Adam Simon says that when coffee drops in an empty stomach it helps produce acid which could damage your stomach lining and cause indigestion. Also, the coffee makes your body feel stressed and clings to belly fat.

4. Don’t watch TV or listen to music while eating.

The University of Vermont found that overweight people who reduced their TV time by 50% burned an additional 119 calories daily on average. Other research conducted by Food Quality and Preference showed that people who ate while listening to music consumed significantly larger amounts than people who ate in silence. This is explained by the fact that when you keep your mind busy, you block it from realizing that you’ve eaten enough.

5. Don’t go to the grocery store while hungry.

Going grocery shopping on an empty stomach will only result in you buying a quick-fix for your hunger. Dr. Kathleen Zelman advises eating something small and healthy before going to the grocery store. You must also bring a shopping list and make an effort to strictly stick to it.

6. Stop drinking a lot of soda.

A regular 12-ounce coke has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar. This means that if you drink 1 can of coke daily, you will eventually begin to gain weight. A new study that was conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health found that women who drank only 1 can of sugary soda per week lost 1 pound more than those who didn’t cut back on their soda intake. The study was made in a period of 2 years and the obese women who participated saw huge changes in their figure after cutting back on drinking sugary sodas.

7. Cutting out after-dinner treats

Kathleen Zelman says that many people tend to eat something right after dinner and it’s usually something sweet. She suggests starting a new habit where instead of eating something sweet, people make a cup of tea or drink some sparkling water instead. Generally, people should stop eating anything right after a meal since all the sugar that your body needs is being taken from your food. Any more sugar eaten will result in weight gain.

8. Don’t drink bottled water.

This is a piece of information that few people are aware of. Research that was published in PLOS One showed that drinking water from plastic bottles can actually be fattening. Plastic bottles contain BPA which is a chemical that causes fatigue, weight gain and disrupts your hormone levels. The study proved that BPA reduces insulin sensitivity and accelerates the formation of adipocytes (fat cells).

What’s more troubling is the fact that 92% of the participants in the study had detectable amounts of BPA in their blood.

9. Try to eat between certain time slots.

One study has shown that those who eat lunch later (3 PM to 4 PM) lose less weight than those who eat lunch by 1:30 PM. Another study showed that eating your last meal before 8 PM will result in eating fewer calories since you don’t spend a lot of time eating. What both studies have proven is that having a balanced eating schedule results in satisfying your appetite before you get extremely hungry and causes you to take longer to finish eating, resulting in consuming fewer calories.

10. Make a habit of starting with a salad.

A study that was published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that those who ate a low-energy-dense salad consumed 7% – 12% less of their pasta meal, while those who ate a high-energy-dense salad consumed 8% – 17% more of their pasta meal. This proves that plain salads that are made of kale, spinach, lettuce and other green vegetables (without fattening dressings) enhance satiety and reduce the amount of calory intake during the main course.

11. Try to eat the same portions whether you are at home or on the go.

We all know that eating out means eating more since the portions at restaurants are generally bigger than the ones you consume at home. According to nutritionist Judy Caplan, when you eat larger portions your body stores these extra calories as fat since it can’t deal with them in another way. Eating two large portions a day won’t replace five smaller portions. They are more likely to slow down your metabolism and start the weight gain process.

Bonus tip

Not all people gain weight in the same areas of their bodies. Below are the different types of fat that stick to certain areas of the body:

  1. Brown fat is the best type of fat and it can be found in slimmer people since it has the ability to keep people warmer and gathers behind the neck. This is why babies have a big percentage of it.
  2. White fat is usually gathered around the belly area and produces a good hormone called adiponectin that protects the body from diabetes and heart disease.
  3. Subcutaneous fat gathered in the buttocks and thighs may not be as harmful as the kind gathered in the belly which may be more dangerous for one’s overall health.
  4. Visceral fat is a dangerous type of fat since it gathers around the inner organs mostly at the belly and waist areas.
  5. Belly fat is both subcutaneous and visceral, and it can be a sign of diabetes.
  6. Thigh and buttocks fat may be a lot better than belly fat since research has shown that pear-shaped women are protected from metabolic disease.

There are ways of avoiding giving into temptation and eating snacks that your body does not need. Here are some changes that could be very helpful:

  • Store unhealthy snacks in your lowest cabinet so that they won’t be at your eye level and will require a bigger effort to get out.
  • Replace your traditional cookie jar with a fruit bowl and opt for healthier snacks during the day.
  • Hide the unhealthy foods at the back of the refrigerator so that you won’t see them first when opening the door.

Did you find these tips helpful? Would you make an effort to incorporate them into your daily routine? Please let us know in the comment section!

Illustrated by Daniil Shubin for Bright Side