From burning less calories than you think when you exercise, to eating ‘healthy’ foods that are surprisingly high in calories, we highlight some common causes of creeping weight gain – and some simple solutions.
1. Going on holiday
“There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that we put on weight on holiday,” according to nutrition scientist Lisa Miles. Some people put on as much as 8lb in a two-week holiday. When you’re eating out, it can be hard to know how many calories you’re consuming.
Salads can seem healthy, but dressings and toppings can mean that they contain as many calories as a bowl of pasta. Lisa Miles advises “Ask restaurants for salad dressings in separate dishes so you can add them yourself.”
2. Drinking too much alcohol
You put on 1lb when you eat or drink 3,500 calories too many. When you consider that a pint of lager contains 250 calories, it’s easy to see how that weight can creep on after too many nights out. Aim to have at least two alcohol-free days each week.
3. Feeling stressed
Researchers at the University of Helsinki who studied 9,000 workers found that the women who were the most stressed put on the most weight. Keeping a food diary at stressful times will help – you may be surprised at the types of foods that start creeping in to your diet.
Check your BMI
4. Watching TV
Watching a lot of television can contribute to weight gain, as we tend to be looking at the screen while eating, which means that we pay less attention to what we’re putting in our mouths. It’s also easier to miss the signs that you’re full when you’re caught up in your favourite TV show, which means that you’ll eat more.
5. Not getting enough sleep
A recent study from the University of Chicago found that lack of sleep increases levels of the hormone ghrelin which makes you feel hungry. Dr Neil Stanley, sleep expert at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, says, “There seems to be a strong link between lack of sleep and putting on weight.”
Sleep helps the body recharge and restore itself. If you’re not getting enough, try and add in an extra hour’s sleep a night and see how different you feel after a week.
How to take your diet on holiday (and still have fun)
6. Larger portion sizes
When we’re served a larger portion, we tend to eat more. We can control portion sizes at home, but it’s far more difficult when eating out. Over the last few decades, portion sizes in restaurants have increased. A study by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found that burgers, for example, have doubled in size since 1980.
Try ordering two starters instead of a starter and main course, saying no to bread and side orders, or choosing two courses instead of three.
7. Gentle exercise
It’s easy to fall into the trap of exercising under your ability and burning fewer calories than you think in each session. You need to raise your heart rate when you exercise in order to burn up calories, and being realistic about the number of calories you use is critical: walking for an hour might use 210 calories for someone of medium weight (more if you’re heavier, less if you’re lighter).
Jogging for an hour will use 390 calories, tennis 430 and cycling 370. Make sure that you don’t replace all of these calories with food after exercising.
have all these at the back of you mind and you wouldnt have a problem keeping the weight off