Losing weight isn’t always as easy as making healthier food choice and exercising more. Keep reading to find out how your job, travel schedule, and other factors affect your diet.
Packed travel schedule? All that jetsetting may put a damper on your weight loss efforts. In a study published last October, scientists found that the disruption in circadian rhythms caused by jet lag disturbs the microbes in your gut, favoring growth of bacteria linked to a higher risk of obesity.
Your dining room lighting
Want to keep dinner light? Turn off the bright floor lamp and light a few candles—a Cornell University study found that people who ate in brightly lit places consumed 174 more calories than those who ate under soft, warm lighting.
Stressful meeting? It may negatively affect your weight loss…which is stressful. Researchers at Ohio State University found that women who burn fewer calories in the 24 hours following a stressful event—104 fewer calories to be exact, which could add up to 11 extra pounds in a year.
Seeing junk food
Out of sight, out of mind? When it comes to avoiding junk food, yes! A 2011 study found that even briefly seeing and smelling food increases appetite, planned consumption, and actual consumption. Keep your partner’s or roommate’s snack hidden away in a cabinet if you’re trying to cut down, and avert your eyes from the office candy bowl—the closer and more visible it is, the more you’re likely to nosh.
You’re saving calories when you opt for a diet soda instead of regular or put Splenda in your coffee instead of sugar, but you may be doing some harm in the long-term. “Non-nutritive sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. A miniscule amount produces a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes,” says obesity and weight-loss specialist Dr. David Ludwig.
An hour on the treadmill doesn’t just work up a sweat—it can work up your cravings, too. Though the average person craves about three calories for every 10 calories burned, some of us consume 11 or more for every 10 we burn, canceling out the calorie-torching effects of our workout.
Skimping on sleep
You’re probably tired of hearing how important sleep is when it comes to your health, brain, and even your love life…but we’ll remind you again. In fact, getting two thirds of your usual sleep time a night can lead you to consume up to 549 extra calories a day, according to one study. Over a week’s worth of insufficient sleep, that could add up to a pound of weight gain.
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