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10 Everyday Behaviors That Could Be Leading to Weight Gain

10 Everyday Behaviors That Could Be Leading to Weight Gain

We’ve all heard it before, “You are what you do everyday.” Our actions day in and day out come to define us, and even seemingly small behaviors can have a big impact on our waistlines over time! All of those weeknights you spend working late, mindlessly snacking, the days you skip exercise –even just skipping the stairs, all of these choices can start weigh you down, literally. Thankfully, once you become aware of these unhealthy behaviors, you can begin to change them. Which of the following everyday behaviors are getting in the way of your weight loss goals? Commit to changing a few of these behaviors each month to get your weight back on track.

Problem:Your plate is too big.

Solution: Rethink your plate.

Even something as small as the size of your plate can lead to unconscious overeating. Larger plates can mean larger portions that you don’t truly need. Choose a smaller plate and aim for smaller portion sizes. The same amount of food will seem more generous when served on a smaller plate. Plus, many of us are programed to just finish our plate, regardless of how much is served. These behaviors are often not hunger related, but are instead related to visual cues.

Problem: Snacking late at night.

Solution: Evaluate your hunger before you chow down.

Although it doesn’t matter when you eat, eating late at night can lead to over-eating because of the types of foods associated with after dinner or late-night snacking. When you’re tired and your guard is down, overeating and unhealthy choices are more likely to happen. In addition, one study showed that fasting between dinner and breakfast can help with weight loss.1 To avoid overeating, check in with yourself before you reach for that late night snack. Are you physically hungry, or are you simply bored or looking for comfort? If you determine you are actually hungry, choose something light, like a cucumber salad with marinated mushrooms or a 100 calorie snack.

Problem:Stocking up on tempting food.

Solution: Go out for treats instead.

Having tempting food and beverages in the house may cause you to indulge simply because they are conveniently accessible. Try not to keep these kinds of foods around the house (out of sight, out of mind), but if you do, limit yourself to a single portion indulgence. Most people have a few “red light foods,” foods you can’t stop wanting or eating! Don’t buy them –eat them out in single servings instead or find a healthier substitute.

Problem: Eating when you’re not hungry, or emotional eating.

Solution: Reconnect with your body and emotions.

Before eating, ask yourself if you’re truly hungry. If an apple doesn’t sound appetizing, but a bag of chips makes you salivate –you’re probably not really hungry. There are a lot of reasons why we eat other than hunger: boredom, sadness, stress, and anxiety to name a few. Instead of feeding your feelings, try to cope with them in non-food related ways:

  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths
  • Go for a walk, run or bike ride
  • Take a hot bath
  • Work out to a sports game or shoot some hoops
  • Call a friend or family member while stretching or walking
  • Take a yoga class (men that includes you too!)
  • Treat yourself to a massage or a mani/pedi

Problem: Eating too fast.

Solution: Savor each bite.

It takes at least 15 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it is full. If you eat too fast, you can easily overeat before your brain gets the message. Also, the longer you take to enjoy your food, the more satisfied you’ll feel – so if you take the time to savor each bite, a little can go a long way.

Problem: Skipping breakfast or other meals.

Solution: Eat when you are moderately hungry.

You may think skipping meals is a good way to cut calories, but it can backfire, causing you to eat more throughout the day. Letting yourself get too hungry can lead to binge eating and unhealthy choices. Nourish your body throughout the day and fuel up when you are hungry

Problem: Eating while distracted.

Solution: Designate meal time.

Turn off the TV, close the computer, and put the phone away. Focus on your food and enjoying each bite. If you get a lunch break at work, take it. When you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to overeat

Problem: Not drinking enough water or filling up on high calorie beverages.

Solution: Sip no-calorie beverages throughout the day.

Sometimes thirst is mistaken for hunger. Sipping on some calorie-free water is healthy and can help keep mindless snacking at bay. Make a glass of tea with your meal. Better yet, brew up a big pitcher of herbal fruity tea or herbal ice tea and drink it throughout the day. Check out these easy sugar swaps for healthier foods and beverages.

Problem: Not eating enough fiber.

Solution: Focus on whole foods.

The majority of Americans fall short on fiber recommendations. Fiber helps to fill you up and not out! Fill your plate with fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and legumes. As an added bonus, fiber-rich foods are generally also nutrient-rich and filling. Try this fiber-rich, tasty, & easy assembly veggie party dish.

Problem: Not moving enough.

Solution: Find your happy activity.

You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. It is important to pick an activity that you enjoy, so that you begin to associate body movement and exercise with positive memories and emotions. Aim to make exercise a part of your healthy lifestyle, not a chore.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Rothschild et al. Time-restricted feeding and risk of metabolic disease: a review of human and animal studies. Nutr Rev 2014 May:72(5):308-18.


  • Cbishop
    2 years ago

    Can someone explain why in the world I can’t eat just a couple cookies or one desert,. Noooo I’m on a mission to graze until it’s all gone

  • Meryl Krochmal, RD, CSP, CDE, CNSC moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Cbishop, Thank you for your question. I am a true believer that there is a way for all foods to fit into a balanced diet. Some people may choose to avoid cookies or other dessert food over worries that they won’t be able to stop after just 1 cookie or 1 dessert. If you choose to eat a dessert here are a few tips:
    -have a small portion (1 cookie instead of 2)
    -eat a lower carb dinner and save your carbs for dessert
    -plan to for some physical activity after eating a dessert
    -allow yourself treats here and there without feeling guilty
    Take care, Meryl Krochmal, RD CDE Community Moderator.

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi fannyanne, I know you’re feeling desperate right now but you have to be good to yourself too. Many of us have that moment of desperation that you describe. Weight loss that is healthy doesn’t happen overnight. When I had a lot of weight to lose, I set small goals and I felt so accomplished when I met each of them. I set my goals at 5-10 lbs each time as 1.5 lbs per week is considered healthy weight loss. I usually told myself that I wanted 1 lb per week so that when I lost more in that period, I soared. I felt really good and that motivated me to keep going. I found if I set the goal too big or too fast then for whatever reason it didn’t happen, then I felt bad about myself. I wanted a positive weight loss journey not one that felt too big to accomplish. You can do this. You had the strength to reach out. Now take the time to be good to yourself and make your weight loss journey work for you for success!

  • fannyanne
    4 years ago

    Hi can anyone tell me if I can juice fast for 60 days while taking lyxumia ? I’m a very heavy lady at this moment in time and I’m so desperate to lose this weight I’ll try anything

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi fannyanne, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, we can’t give any medical advice over the internet (for your safety). This is a great question for your doctor. In addition to speaking with your doctor, this article on Lyxumia may be helpful to you: I understand you are wanting to lose this weight, and many here in our community can relate, you are not alone here. A juice fast is something that requires close monitoring from your doctor and/or a Registered Dietitian. Thank you for being part of our community and please let us know how you’re doing or if you have any questions. Kelly Dabel, RD Community Moderator

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