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Here’s the thing about belly fat: Sometimes it sneaks into your world in spite of you taking measures to keep it away through a healthy diet and a workout routine.
This happens because of certain habits that we might think are harmless but actually constitute the primary reasons contributing to our belly fat.
We’re listing out 7 of the most common such habits so that you can work on them and keep that belly fat away:
1. You drink diet sodas
Anything with the tag ‘diet’ can definitely be misleading. It’s the same case with diet sodas. They come with the promise of zero calories or no sugar, enticing your gullible, innocent mind into consuming them without any guilt.
However, a study conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Centre found that participants who drank more than two diet sodas a day suffered a 500 per cent increase in the circumference of their waist! This is due to the presence of aspartame in artificial sweeteners used to sweeten these diet sodas. The study looks at its potential when it comes to raising blood glucose levels to a point that your body cannot handle it and converts the extra glucose into fat that conveniently deposits itself around your belly.
2. You’re too social
Apart from the fact that eating sumptuous delicacies at restaurants regularly can unnecessarily add to your calorie intake, the idea of dining with friends and socialising regularly can contribute to your belly fat. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition, eating with one person can increase your meal size by up to 33 per cent, eating with two people can do so by 47 per cent, and eating with 4, 6, or 8+ friends can do so by a whopping 69, 70, and 96 per cent, respectively. No points for guessing, this totally has to do with the amount of time we spend at the table chit-chatting while gulping down food mindlessly when dining with friends.
3. You spend an unhealthy amount of time on social media
Believe it or not, your love for social media can give you belly fat, according to several studies. Firstly, scrolling through your feed before bed can disrupt your sleep due to the light emitted from your phone, suppressing the melatonin (sleep hormone) production in the brain. Now, poor quality or inadequate sleep can slow down your metabolism and encourage unhealthy eating behaviours. This can further lead to obesity and belly fat.
Secondly, if you don’t stay off social media even while eating your meal, chances are that you will end up eating mindlessly, says a PLOS One study. Again, all that excessive eating can lead to weight gain—especially around the belly.
4. You’re fast and furious
Surely, this trait of yours can help you finish off your work quickly and achieve a lot in life. However, if this extends to your dining table and you happen to be a quick eater, you’re definitely on the path of gaining some extra belly fat.
As per a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, slow eaters take in 66 fewer calories per meal as compared to fast eaters. Now, if you multiply that number by 3 (for 3 meals in a day), it amounts to almost 200 calories a day. Trust us, it takes a lot to burn off those 200 extra cals.
5. Your food-display game is all wrong
A study conducted at the Cornell University states the obvious: If you eat off large plates, you’re likely to eat more calories, gain weight, become obese, and gain belly fat as well. For starters, start using small plates for some portion control.
Additionally, if you’re one of those people who always have food stored in fancy glass jars and kept out in the open, you’re basically just tempting yourself to overeat and gain weight, as a result, says a study conducted at Google’s New York. So, the lesser junk you stock or put out on display, the fewer are your chances of indulging in them and gaining belly fat too.
6. Your dinner timings are totally off
If you don’t feel hungry at usual dinner time, say between 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., or are simply too occupied to have dinner during those hours, you might just end up gaining some belly fat due to your habit of having a late dinner—more so, if you sleep soon after eating the last meal of your day.
There has to be a gap of 3 hours between your dinner and bedtime. Thus, eating dinner timely is the only solution in this case. According to a study published in the journal Obesity Society, doing so gives you more time to burn off the calories consumed before bedtime.
7. Your bed’s too cozy and comfy
There is nothing more comforting than curling up in your cozy, warm room all day every day. However, the same warmth that gives you so much comfort can even give you a larger belly according to a study published in the journal Cell Press. The research points out that staying in colder temperatures can lead to a decrease in body fat significantly as your body has to burn extra calories to maintain its normal temperature.
Not to mention, the warmth can make you lazy and unwilling to move your rear off to do any physical activity. Hence, you’ve got to turn the heat down and do away with your extra-cozy blankets as well.
So, just a few changes can ensure that these common but harmful habits don’t add to your belly fat!