25 Worst Habits That Will Expand Your Waistline

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There's an old saying: If you find yourself standing in a deep hole with a shovel in your hands, stop digging. So if you've been getting fatter, but you haven't been making any changes to your daily habits, you're just digging yourself a little deeper into the hole every single day but still ask yourself "why am I fat?"

You eat 'low-fat'

It sounds crazy, but stop buying foods marketed as low-fat or fat-free, even weight-loss smoothiesThe answer to "does fat make you fat" is "no." Typically, low-fat products save you only a few calories. Only a few, you ask? It's because food manufacturers replace harmless fats with low-performing simple carbohydrates that digest quickly—causing a sugar rush and, immediately afterward, rebound hunger. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates. That means you'll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.


You ignore sodium counts

Your favorite trail mix only has 150-calories, but did you check to see how much sodium is lurking inside the package? All too often, those who aren't suffering from a health condition overlook that part of the nutrition label. "Americans consume, on average, about 50 percent more than the daily recommended intake of salt, and most of the excess sodium is coming from processed foods like frozen waffles, bagels, cheese cottage cheese, veggie burgers and salad dressings," says Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California.


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You don't drink enough water

Adequate water intake is essential for all your body's functions, and the more you drink, the better your chances of staying thin. In one University of Utah study, dieting participants who were instructed to drink two cups of water before each meal lost 30 percent more weight than their thirsty peers. And you can magnify the effect by adding ice. German researchers found that six cups of cold water a day could prompt a metabolic boost that incinerates 50 daily calories. That's enough to shed five pounds a year! Weight gain isn't the only repercussion of consistent dehydration, there are also 7 Side Effects of Not Drinking Enough Water.


You're sleeping too little or too much

According to Wake Forest researchers, dieters who sleep five hours or less put on 2½ times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on only slightly less than that. Shoot for an average of six to seven hours of sleep per night—the optimal amount for weight control. And burn calories overnight with these 8 Ways to Lose Weight While You Sleep!


You don't get tested


Although you may get scanned for high cholesterol or diabetes at your annual exam, doctors don't typically test or look for physical signs of nutritional deficiencies—which can be dangerous! Loy suggests having your vitamin D levels checked if nothing else. "Many people are deficient and don't even know it—and not getting enough may increase the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and certain types of cancer," she warns. Read more to discover the Vitamins You're Not Getting Enough Of.

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