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Avoid These 5 Weight Gain Traps That Add Sneaky Pounds

Tim Boyer's picture
Weight gain traps

Putting on a dress or pair of warm-weather slacks that have been closeted for the winter, only to discover that “somehow” they must have shrunk in the dryer, is usually one of the first signs that you have stepped into at least one weight gain trap one sneaky pound after another this past winter.

According to Consumer Reports on Health, avoiding these traps is one way to win your Battle of the Bulge by being cognizant of where in your home these traps lie.

The following is a summary of weight gain traps you can avoid and make sure that last summer’s clothes still fit:

Weight Gain Trap #1: Falling for “diet” food

Read your nutrition labels on so-called “diet” foods to avoid this trap. According to Consumer Reports on Health, people tend to fall for the trap in believing that if something says “low-fat” on the label, then it must have fewer calories and be okay to eat more of in comparison to the non-low-fat brand. Not true, say nutritionists who point out that calorie-laden carb fillers are often used to sweeten the taste of low-fat diet foods.

Weight Gain Trap #2: Sleeping less than six hours.

According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, lack of sleep can increase ghrelin hormone levels and decrease leptin hormone levels—both of which play important roles in telling your brain whether you are hungry or not. If you have to get up early, then avoid this weight gain trap by making going to bed earlier a priority in your life.

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Weight Gain Trap #3: Letting your cabinets overflow

If you see it, then you’ll eat it, is the finding of a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research. Having a full, stockpiled pantry results in more food items left out of the pantry, which encourages a quick snack here and there digging a hand into that box of crackers or cookies. To avoid this trap, trim your shopping list rather than stock up like you’re preparing for a natural disaster or a zombie invasion.

Weight Gain Trap #4: Racking up screen time

Researchers have found that there is positive correlation between time spent sitting down (such as with watching TV or working at a computer) with the negative impact of gaining weight―even for those who also get in 150 minutes per week of moderate to serious exercise at a gym. The solution to this weight gain trap? Decrease your sitting at the screen/monitor time by taking walking breaks and cutting back on non-work related computer time. Or, try watching your TV on a treadmill fitted with a screen.

Weight Gain Trap #5: Distorting portions

According to Consumer Reports on Health, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior showed that comparing movie patrons who were given either a medium or a large tub of popcorn, that those with the larger tub ate 45 percent more popcorn due to the availability of a large tub rather than due to actual hunger. The recommendation is that to avoid this kind of trap you should minimize your portions by eating with smaller plates, bowls, glasses and utensils. Also, measure out one serving at a time from a large package and then put the package away to prevent what some experts refer to as mindless snacking.

For an informative article on additional tips to avoid weight gain traps, follow this link to an article titled, “7 Tips on How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain after Having Lost Weight."

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Reference: Consumer Reports on Health (February 2013); “Weight-gain traps you can avoid”