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Your diet may be as clean as a whistle, but if you’re guilty of any of these 10 meal habits you may still be gaining weight. Here’s how you’re getting in the way of your own progress.

Sure, diet is a big part of weight gain, but it can also be influenced by your dining habits. If you’re turned off to the idea of skipping desert to lose those few extra pounds, here are a few less restrictive ways you can work towards weight management.

1. Eating low-fat

This may sound counterintuitive at first, but hear us out. While you may save a few (yes, just a few) calories by going with the low-fat option, those calories are likely replaced with carbohydrates that are no remedy for hunger.

The truth is, your body needs healthy fats. They assist in absorbing vitamins and also help us feel fuller longer. So, don’t shy away from fat and instead go for the healthy, natural sources like avocado.

2. Banking on free food

Those complimentary loafs of bread, chips and salsa, and tiny bites may be free in cost, but they’re expensive in calories. It’s actually possible that those appetizers carry more calories than your actual meal. Be honest with yourself, how often do you eat just one breadstick, or just a few chips? And then do you go on to eat dessert, too? When did it become customary to have a meal before your meal? Try to avoid going overboard with the freebies, and instead focus on your main dish.

3. Skipping Meals

Foregoing a meal throughout the day is a tactic many people use in an effort to lose weight. However, it can have the opposite effect on your weight. This is because skipping meals may lower metabolism and increase feelings of hunger. And, you’re likely to overeat during your next meal and even make poorer health choices so stop skipping and instead have a healthy bite.

4. Eating Fast

You may be trapped for time while trying to squeeze a lunch in during your busy day, but eating is something to make time for. Some studies suggest that people who eat their meals slowly consume about 66 fewer calories per meal. This may not seem significant, but when you add it up over the course of a year, that could mean losing 20 pounds. Generally speaking, your body requires 20 minutes to sense that you are full, so take that lunch break.

5. Multitasking during meals

It’s easy to mindlessly snack while checking things off your to-do list throughout the day. When you put aside a designated time to eat, you’re more aware of how much you’re eating and what you’re eating. When you eat while focusing on something else, you’re less likely to keep track of what goes in your mouth. Therefore, you end up eating more and also make poorer nutritional decisions.

6. Overloading on the protein

Protein is considered the Holy Grail for muscle building among gym-goers. However, there is a limit to the amount of protein your body actually needs. Protein is often stored as fat when it is consumed in excess. Don’t believe us? Some research has suggested that those who ate high-protein diets had a 90% increased risk for gaining more than 10% of their body weight. So, don’t worry too much about protein powders and expensive shakes. Get your protein from real food and trust that it’s enough.

7. Using large plates

Plate size is linked to food intake and can influence the size of your belly. It makes sense if you think about it. You can only fit so much food onto your plate, so the bigger the plate, the more food you’ll pile on.

8. Eat while looking at food

This one is easy to avoid. If you dine at a buffet or a restaurant with food on display, sit facing away from the food. Some studies suggest that obese diners are 15% more likely to sit in a seat with a clear view and path to the food, so do the opposite. This will help you focus on what you’re eating and not on what you’re going to eat next.

9. Cleaning your plate

You were probably taught to clear your plate from a young age by well-intended adults. What those adults weren’t aware of, though, is the fact that clearing your plate may be linked to weight gain. Eat what you’re hungry for and save the rest for tomorrow.

10. Not chewing enough

Studies have examined the relationship between weight gain and chewing habits, and the results are worth paying attention to. In fact, some studies have suggested that heavier individuals chew their food an average of 11.9 times, while thinner individuals chew about 14.8 times. Looks like it’s time to start counting every bite.

The good news is, these habits are easily avoidable and may even make your dining experience more enjoyable. Try a few and let us know how they work for you!


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