1. Dehydration

Image source / Healthy Magazine

We’ve all heard of the daily number of glasses of water we should be aiming for – is it 8, 9? Who knows! What I do know is that it always seems far greater than I achieve in a day. Well maybe it’s time I gave water more attention because an interesting study has shown that drinking around meal times can increase weight loss by up to 30%! It’s official – dehydration = weight gain…

2. Eating speed

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We’ve all been there – you’re starving hungry, your food arrives and you wolf it down in a matter of minutes only to pay for it an hour or so later. The phrase ‘Your eyes were bigger than your mouth’ has plenty of truth in it when it comes to weight loss or gain. Eating slowly gives the food a chance to hit your stomach and begin digestion. This sends a signal to your brain that you are starting to fill up – pretty essential if you’re watching your waistline.

3. Emotional eating

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Your bf has just broken up with you and you’re distraught. Or maybe you flunked your high school exams. Both of these are examples of times when you might be emotionally distressed and seek out food as a result. Be careful though – when we are upset we tend to have a ‘screw it’ / ‘anything goes’ mindset and our hopes of eating healthy go out of the window. Whole tub of icecream… yeah you get the idea. Call a friend instead and take a walk, you’ll feel better for it in the long run.

4. Weekend blow outs

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So many people live for the weekend – after a long week in a job you don’t exactly love, it’s easy to see why people let lose come Friday night. Just be mindful of this though if you’re trying to keep the calories down. All that hard work Monday-Thursday can easily be blown by a weekend full of binge eating and drinking.

5. You turn to ‘low fat’ options

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Be weary the next time you’re in the grocery store and something says ‘low fat’. Why? Well, in truth, these products are often not much lower fat than their ‘high fat’ counterparts. What’s more, the fat is often replaced with other nasties like a higher sugar content. It’s clever marketing and won’t help you lose weight.

6. You’re a coach potato

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Love a lazy day spent on the couch watching TV? Well, don’t make a habit of it if you are trying to slim down. A sedentary lifestyle is a leading cause of obesity. Not only do we tend to nibble on snacks when we watch TV, we are flooded with advertising for tempting food products too. And that doesn’t even cover the obvious issue – a lack of movement definitely isn’t burning any calories.

7. Salt…

Image source / NBC News

Did you know that most Americans consume around 50% more than the recommended daily amount of salt? What makes this frustrating is that for a lot of us, we’re not adding the excess salt ourselves, instead it’s in the highly processed foods we’re so used to eating. Whilst salt on its own won’t make you put on weight it will certainly make you bloat. Given how bad a bloated stomach can make us look and feel, it can be as upsetting as weight gain.

8. Sleep

Image source / Healthline

We all know that sleep is important but when it comes to weightloss, it’s more important than ever. Research has shown that diesters who clock in under 5 hours a night put on significantly more belly fat. Interestingly, those who got 8 or more hours had similar results. The answer – somewhere in the middle, 6 or 7 hours seems to be optimum for weight loss.

9. Plate size

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Smaller plate, smaller portion. It really is as simple as that. This simple hack uses visual trickery to make you think you are getting more food than you actually are. A small plate loaded up with food looks a lot more filling than a large plate barely covered. What’s more, most of the time you will feel full after you have finished your small plate and not need the extra calories you would have eaten with a large plate piled up.

10. Combo meal orders

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Retailers have smart ways of getting extra cash from our pockets. Add fries for a few extra dollars, go large for a fraction more – you get the idea. Although tempting, you should be weary of these marketing ploys if you’re trying to lose weight. Don’t be lured in by the small extra cost, ultimately you are still spending more and eating significantly more.

11. You turn a blind eye to nutrition advice

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Research has shown that people who regularly access nutrition advice and content are far more likely to keep fit, healthy and maintain a good weight than those who don’t. It makes sense – a daily reminder of what looking healthy looks like is likely to make you think twice when you reach for the snacks. Find a few accounts you like on social media and hit follow.

12. You love a freebie

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Free food! Um, yes please! Have you been in a restaurant and they’ve offered complementary bread before the meal or been walking through the mall to be given a food sample. Sure, it’s exciting and tempting as hell but a polite no thank you could save you hundreds of unnecessary extra calories.

13. Your social circle

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Who we spend time with has a massive influence on the way we behave in all aspects of our life. If your partner likes watching crime docs, chances are you’ll start watching them too. Are your friends heavy drinkers? Again, you’ll probably be sucked into a few boozy nights as a result. Food is no different – hang around with people who prioritize health and exercise and you’ll see your own lifestyle change for the better.

14. Sugary drinks

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If everyone only drank water for the rest of their lives, the world would be full of much healthier people! Of course that’s unrealistic but it is true that what we drink has a huge impact on our calorie consumption. One easy change is to switch from high sugar to 0 sugar and calorie options.

15. You shop when hungry

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This is such a simple but effective trick for anyone trying to lose weight. Never, ever go shopping on an empty stomach! Even with the best intentions, your hunger instincts will kick in and you’ll be drawn to the high-fat, high-calorie foods and it will take an awful lot of willpower to resist them!

16. Boredom eating

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Do you find yourself milling around your fridge or pantry simply for something to do? Boredom eating is a real issue and one you should try to catch yourself doing. The solution? Stick firmly to your meal times and get yourself a selection of snacks out at the start of the day – once they’re gone, that’s it!

17. Mindful eating

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We’ve already spoken about the impact the pace at which you eat can have on your weight. Mindful eating is a really good practise you can use to a) slow down your eating speed b) appreciate your food more and c) eat less! It’s simple enough – the next time you eat something (especially treats like chocolates and candy) really savor every bite, take time to think about the textures in your mouth and the delicious flavors you are enjoying. By doing this, we shift from an unconscious gobble to a slow and thoughtful eating pattern.

18. Extreme diets

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Have you tried the paleo diet? How about a ‘Master cleanse’ or even the baby food diet… Tempting as they may be with their claims of a quick weight loss fix, diets such as these are not going to give you long lasting results. Why? Well, they’re hard to sustain in the long run and also often cut out important nutrients that are essential for long-term weight loss.

19. You cook for 20

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If you cook your meals from scratch at home, great! It’s much healthier to know what we are consuming by making it ourselves. However, this comes with a word of caution. If you have a house of 2 or 3, don’t cook batches for 20 people. Sure, if you are organized and can freeze it right away then that’s great but more often than not, those extra portions go in the fridge only to be consumed by yourself later on!

20. You’re a desk eater

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Busy job? Not enough hours in the day to get everything done? I know the feeling. Perhaps, like me, you’re a ‘desk eater’. This is a term to refer to people who eat their lunch whilst still working at their desk. There’s a few issues with this one – take a break, you owe it to yourself! Two – the distractions of that urgent work email or proposal that needs finishing will mean you give less attention to what you’re eating. The result? You eat loads of food without realizing, oops.

21. Drinking habits

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We’ve already spoken about the calories in drink and alcohol is no exception. If you have a habit of ending your day with a drink then you may want to reconsider this pattern as it’s a sure fire way to put on weight. If you must have a drink to wind down then pick carefully – some spirits have far fewer calories than a glass of red wine.

22. Grocery list

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When you go to the grocery store do you have a plan in mind or are you an aisle wanderer, mindlessly drifting around, hoping you’ll pick up something useful? If you’re the latter, you’re going to want to get organized and change your approach to shopping asap! Having a list and predetermined meals means you shop with intention and can hopefully restrain from buying unnecessary naughties – not on the list, not in the cart!

23. Your pantry is fully stocked

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If you do go to the store without a list, chances are you’ll be grabbing far more than you need. As such, your house quickly gets filled up with food. An overflowing pantry is a big no no for anyone trying to lose weight. Remove the temptation folks, only buy what you need.

24. You’re a late night eater

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Are you a night owl or a morning lark? If, like me, you come alive at night be warned… eating lots of calories in these dark, sedentary hours is far more likely to lead to weight gain than if you were to eat earlier in the day when you are active. Try to stop eating at least 2 hours before you go to sleep to give your body enough waking energy to burn it off.

25. The 8:16 model

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Have you heard of the 8:16 diet? It works by limiting the hours you consume food to 8 a day and having 16 hours of fasting. It’s been shown to be an effective way to lose weight because your body experiences a long stretch of emptiness in the 16h stretch, leading to fat loss. When the food does finally arrive, it’s quickly burnt off as you’re really hungry – clever.

26. You’re restaurant savvy

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Restaurant menus don’t often list the way in which things are cooked. For example, chicken fried in oil will have a far higher calorie content than chicken that’s been steamed or baked. Ask politely enough and the waitress might be able to put in a special request for you to get your food prepared in the healthiest way possible.

27. All you can eat buffets

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If there’s one place you want to avoid when trying to lose weight it’s an all you can eat buffet! I mean come on… that’s a test of willpower for even the strongest minds amongst us. If you have to go (maybe it’s a friend’s party) then use some of our other hacks to stay in control: choose a small plate, eat slowly and swap out some high fat options for more veggies.

28. Variety is key

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Are you a creature or habit? Do you stick to the same 5-10 meals and rarely try new foods? If so, you may be prone to weight gain due to a lack of variety. Swap out those high carb foods for some vegetables and not only will your body be getting vital nutrients, you’ll shave off a few calories too.

29. Junk food addict

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Sure, fast food is convenient and cheap but you don’t need me to tell you how unhealthy it is. They’re often packed full of artificial ingredients and high in fat, calories, salt and pretty much everything else we should avoid if trying to lose weight! Avoid the drive thru and keep the junk food meals to a rare treat.

30. Skipping meals

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When trying to lose weight, it can be tempting to just skip meals altogether. The problem with this is that you’re prone to snacking and when you do eventually eat a proper meal, you’re likely to stuff your face as you’re so hungry. Stick to 3 meals a day and have them at the same time each day if possible. Your body will get used to your eating pattern and thank you for it.