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8 Mistakes That Are Making You Gain Weight

8 Mistakes That Are Making You Gain Weight

Mistakes That Are Making You Gain Weight

If you have been struggling with weight loss, you may have some bad eating habits that are causing you to gain weight that you aren't even aware of. It's often the things that you overlook that end up being the biggest contributors to weight gain. Be sure to check out these 8 mistakes that are making you gain weight, and if you are making these mistakes be sure to make changes to your diet and habits to avoid making them in the future. You'll likely start to lose weight and feel better as soon as you make the changes. Trying a strict diet like the HCG diet can also reset your appetites and make it easier for you to follow a healthy diet, but when you aren't dieting you need to be aware of these common weight gain slipups.

Mistake #1 - Dunking vegetables into high fat dressings

Vegetables are perfectly healthy and almost all of them won't pack on extra pounds, even if you eat them in large quantities. The problems with vegetables happen when you dunk them into high fat dressings like Ranch or thousand island. These dressings can add up to 100 calories or more per snack, and a lot of them are not made with natural ingredients, so you are adding unhealthy fat to your diet. More than the calories, it's the quality of the calories that you should be concerned about, and you are much better off coming up with your own dressings made from extra virgin olive oil and other natural ingredients rather than relying on store bought varieties. Although there have been a few "€œhealthy"€ dressings released in recent years, you definitely need to check the ingredient list and if it has additives or chemicals, or unhealthy oils, you should avoid it.

Mistake #2 - Adding too many unhealthy toppings

Cheese in particular is one high calorie topping that many people overdo, as well as other toppings that are high in carbohydrates like croutons, crunchy noodles or sesame sticks. You are much better off topping your salads or other foods with natural foods like water chestnuts, almonds, walnuts, and other nut varieties. Cheese isn't quite as bad as the high carb toppings, and you can get away with adding low fat cheese to your foods, just be careful about the portion sizes. In particular you will want to avoid making your salads unhealthy by adding a ton of cheese, and you should sparingly use toppings made from wheat if you even use them at all. Nuts are a great alternative that still provide the crunch that you may be looking for, and although they are high in calories too, they include high amounts of healthy monounsaturated fat which is not proven to cause weight gain.

Mistake #3 - Making dinner your biggest meal

A lot of people are guilty of doing this, but dinner should most definitely not be the biggest meal of the day for you. Having a big dinner means that the excess calories that you don't burn off will be converted into fat. Because of the fact that dinner is towards the end of the day, you aren't going to be as active as you were earlier in the day and you won't be burning as many calories. Unless you are the type of person who works out in the evening, you are better off eating a smaller dinner and a larger breakfast or lunch. Don't overindulge at dinner, and if you have a dessert or want to eat something unhealthy, eat it earlier in the day if at all possible so that your body can metabolize it more efficiently.

Mistake #4 - Eating and watching TV

Several studies have shown that eating while you are distracted is a bad idea and can end up being a major contributor to weight gain. Your brain does not register that you have taken your first bite until about 20 minutes afterwards, and during that time period a lot of people end up overeating. When you are distracted you are even more likely to eat too much because you are not paying attention to the signals that your body is giving. Instead of watching TV, you should try to focus on your meal and get out of the habit of eating while watching television if at all possible. You don't want to be distracted at all while you eat, and always be mindful of what you're eating and have somewhat of an idea about the calories that you are consuming each meal.

Mistake #5 - Drinking too much

Alcohol is a major contributor to weight gain, and if you drink more than a few drinks per night you are likely to gain weight in the long term. Alcohol is broken down into acetate, which your body burns for fuel before it burns the calories from food that you ate most recently. A 5 ounce glass of wine has about 150 calories, and 12 ounces of light beer have around 100 calories. Also, people tend to eat more when they drink because alcohol may interfere with the signals that tell your brain that you are full, and it can increase your appetite. No matter what, you don't want to drink too much if you are trying to lose weight, and the best bet is to avoid drinking altogether unless you can stick to a glass or two of red wine.

Mistake #6 - Drinking soda or fruit juice

Although fruit juice is healthier for you than soda, you don't ever want to drink either of them regularly if at all. Fruit juice has vitamins and minerals but it is actually high in carbohydrates and similar to soda in terms of calories. The sugar in fruit juice is far better for you than high fructose corn syrup, but you will want to avoid any drinks with calories when you are trying to lose weight. Replace fruit juices with drinks flavored with stevia, and if you have to have a bit of fruit juice try mixing it with carbonated water to dilute the calories. Don't drink pure fruit juice because of how rich it is in carbohydrate content, and in general you should mostly drink water if you are trying to stay thin.

Mistake #7 - Adding sugar to your coffee

Black coffee is a healthy drink, but adding extra sugar and cream can make it one of the least healthy drinks out there. Try using stevia to flavor your coffee if you are addicted to coffee flavored with sugar, and your best bet is to avoid adding any sugar to your coffee at all. Low fat organic milk is also perfectly good for you and okay to use to flavor your coffee, just be careful of the extra calories if you are on a strict weight loss diet. In general, you don't ever want to purchase any of the flavored coffees that you might find at a coffee shop, and stick to drinking black coffee flavored with stevia and organic milk. The same rule of thumb goes for tea and other hot beverages that are commonly flavored with sugar, honey or syrup.

Mistake #8 - Using high carbohydrate condiments and marinades

There are several condiments that are high in carbohydrates or unhealthy fat like ketchup, barbeque sauce, and most varieties of mayonnaise, and these condiments are a common source of extra calories. It can be very deceptive because most people don't check the labels of the condiments or marinades that they use for their food, but just a few tablespoons of barbeque sauce can have 80 to 90 calories or more. It may take some extra effort, but a good idea is to find healthy recipes for your favorite condiments and make your own. If you aren't willing to do this there are some healthy varieties of condiments that you can use, but you should be sure to check the label and avoid any brands that have additives or sugar, even if the sugar is in a lower amount than the "€œstandard"€ condiments. If you aren't sure, ask a nutritionist for advice on low calorie condiments, but some good ideas include mustard (Dijon and regular mustard are usually low in calories), hot sauce, kim chi, pesto, soy sauce, and many others. Do your research and most importantly check the labels before you spend money on a condiment that may not be the healthiest option out there.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

8 min read