Changing lifestyles and busy schedules have been having a huge impact on our eating habits. The increased stress levels involved in both study and our working lives have brought about a drastic change in the eating and sleeping patterns of many people. This has been one of the main causes of what is known as the “obesity epidemic.”

We are so busy in a day that we often fail to realize whether we skip meals or eat a lot more than needed. Insufficient amounts of sleep, the skipping of meals or overeating are the aftereffects of stress. They are contributing reasons why a person would gain weight too. Apart from these, there are many other common habits that can be proven to be bad and make one gain weight. Let us see these bad eating habits one by one.

1. A low-fat diet.

This is the most common myth that people follow. There is no doubt that a low-fat diet will reduce the amount of fat being consumed. But foods that are marketed as “low-fat” are manufactured using sugars and all kinds of chemicals to replace the flavor and texture of fat. This can be even worse than consuming fat.

2. Taking big bites.

This is a common scenario when you’re at work or college. You need to rush for a meeting or a lecture and don’t have enough time to munch your food properly. This makes you take bigger bites that help you finish faster. Seldom do we realize that this later develops into a habit and is a big cause of obesity. Studies have reported that people who take bigger bites consume 52% more calories than the ones who take smaller bites and chew slowly.

3. Poor combinations of foods.

A lot of tasty new stuff gets introduced in the food industry. Companies try out various recipes where they add two or more ingredients to make the food look more tempting and taste different. Since childhood we have heard that we should choose a balanced diet. Combining foods not knowing whether they will work well together could be risky for the digestive system. The simpler the food, the easier it will be for digestion.

4. Eating food while you are distracted.

The only free time that most of us have during the day is when we are eating food. I have observed many people struggling to utilize this time too. People prefer reading newspapers or watching television while eating. They think this can be a time to catch up on the happenings of the day or enjoy their favorite program. Eating food while being distracted this way causes us to eat more than is actually needed.

5. Eating bag to mouth.

On days when we have a full schedule, we tend to grab those fancy snack packets that contain high amounts of preservative-laden foods. It is advisable to measure out a portion onto a plate and then eat. This will let you know how much the packet actually contains and you can control your consumption rather than finishing the entire thing.

6. Going hungry for meals.

Planned an outing with friends? If you know you will be going out for dinner, don’t walk up to the dinner table starving. An empty stomach tends to ask for more. Snack on a few carrots, cucumbers or even almonds before you arrive. This will help you fill your stomach with something healthy, leaving less room for you to overeat.

7. Eating under stressful conditions.

This is the most common scenario experienced by professionals. Eating while you are stressed will make you eat more. We often fail to realize the amount of food that is consumed when we are stressed or depressed. At such times, it’s best to make note of everything we eat and thus avoid the heavy foods that may cause obesity. Another solution to this would be to indulge yourself in fun activities that will keep you stress free and involved in something else.

8. Eating while you work.

We have already seen how eating while watching television or reading a newspaper can lead to overeating. Eating at your desk can result in overeating too. While at work you are busy as well as under stress. This makes you eat more. If you can, pack your food in a way that will help sort it according to the time it will be consumed. This takes some advanced planning so you can pack some healthy stuff rather than purchasing unhealthy, fat-laden food at the last moment.

9. Posture while eating.

We usually tend to snack on something or other that’s handy when we are moving about in the kitchen. We don’t tend to notice it, but people usually eat directly from the cupboard or straight from the refrigerator. This makes us unaware of what and how much we have eaten. Thus, standing and eating all that we can get our hands on is a bad habit! Simply serve yourself on a plate. Include little of everything that you wish to have and sit down to eat.

10. Eating too quickly.

A busy life and working schedule force us to eat faster. There are days when we don’t even have time to sit still and spend a few minutes eating peacefully. It is said that it takes almost 20 minutes for the stomach to inform the brain that it is full. Thus, it is important that we eat slowly and take at least 20 minutes to have a meal. This will aid in better digestion too. Follow the rule that says that a single bite should be chewed a minimum of 20 times.

Breaking the habits.

There you have them—a few main habits that may result in serious weight gain. Avoiding these behaviors can help prevent weight gain and help you lead a healthy life. A few solutions that can help to avoid the above points are:

  • Planning your meals and strictly following that plan.
  • Don’t set yourself unachievable targets that will leave you craving more.
  • Participate in some stress management programs that will help you deal with all your stressful situations with ease.
  • Take a break and concentrate on the food you are eating.
  • Don’t expect a drastic change in your eating habits. It takes about a month to get used to a specific plan.
  • Eat three proper meals with about two snacks per day.

These tips will help you in better planning and prevent the addition of those extra calories. You’ll still be able to eat everything that you like, but you need to make sure you eat it in limited quantities. Avoiding these bad habits and implementing a better diet plan that doesn’t include overeating or starving will help in controlling the process of weight gain and keep you healthy and fit.

Featured photo credit: Bad Eating Habit via photopin.com

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