Stop making these classic slip-ups if you’re trying to slim down.
Are your jeans feeling that bit tighter or you have a muffin top you just can’t shift?
You might want to lose those extra few pounds to feel more confident but it’s also important to realise that a spare tyre can pose some serious health risks.
Belly fat settles around your organs and can increase your risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and other serious health issues.
Here are five bad habits that are boosting your belly fat.
1. You’re addicted to social media
If you’re always checking Facebook or scanning through your Instagram feed you might want to go on a tech detox.
A recent study found that a friend’s weight gain could influence your own, because participants were 57% more likely to become obese if a mate had already piled on the pounds.
Scientists suspect this is because social networking can influence what people perceive as normal and acceptable.
So if you see your friends getting heavier, you might think it’s fine for you to do too.
Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explained how social media could be encouraging us to pack on the pounds.
She said: “I’d say that an addiction to social media could well increase the likelihood of weight gain.
“Anyone who’s spending a lot of time on Facebook or Instagram is likely to be less active, and online connections, even for those who have a lot of online ‘friends’ are much less satisfying and fulfilling than real human contact.
“This could increase the tendency to comfort eat, to boost levels of ‘feel good’ chemicals such as serotonin that are lacking as a consequence.
“For all of us – and particularly those concerned about weight gain – I’d suggest we need to do more than just take the odd break from the screen.
"Making sure that we spend time with friends in the real world is essential, don’t neglect your real relationships with others in favour of your online connections.
“When we’re more fulfilled, we’re less likely to comfort eat.”
2. You don’t get enough sleep
Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com, said: “Studies have shown that a lack of sleep may cause us to eat 300-400 more calories the next day.
“And in order to keep energy levels high we tend to choose sugary or starchy quick fixes.
“Just one extra hour of sleep each night can increase leptin, the hormone which suppresses appetite."
3. You don’t read food labels
Choosing the “healthy” option could actually be increasing the fat around your middle.
Dr Marilyn Glenville said: “If a food or drink is described as ‘low sugar’, ‘slimline’ or ‘diet’ it will usually contain an artificial sweetener.
“These sweeteners have been linked to mood swings and depression and it has been found that people who regularly use artificial sweeteners tend to gain weight because they can slow down the digestive process and increase appetite.”
4. You raid the fridge before drinking water
Weight loss expert Lily Soutter said: “Often when we think we’re hungry we’re actually thirsty.
“Drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes before reaching for a snack.”
5. You sit at your desk all day without any exercise
Sitting for eight hours at a desk without breaks means you’re losing out on physical activity that can help you burn calories; it also decreases activity of the fat-burning enzyme lipoprotein lipase.
You should also try walking around the office more.
Podiatrist Dave Wain said: “Set a reminder to make sure you have a brief walk around the office to get yourself moving and always opt to take the stairs.”
Via Daily Star UK