(WellnessNova.com) - You’re probably aware of the most common causes of weight gain, but there are some rather random and downright stealthy things that could be contributing to that extra poundage.
In fact, some of these potential causes of weight gain are super strange!
1. Diet Soda
Well, perhaps this cause of weight gain isn’t so strange, unless you consider that even diet and calorie-free sodas can cause you to pack on the pounds at a rate that’s faster than regular soda! And to make matters worse, it doesn’t take a lot to have a dramatic impact on your physique.
Researchers found that over the course of nearly ten years, diet soda drinkers who consumed an average of 1.5 cans of soda per day saw a gain of more than three inches in waist circumference.
But here’s where it gets even more bizarre: the soda drinkers who consumed regular, non-diet pop saw a gain of less than an inch over that same timeframe.
So what gives? Well, scientists believe it comes down to the artificial sweeteners that are used in these diet and no-calorie sodas. They don’t satisfy your mental cravings for sweets, so it’s theorized that the diet soda drinkers actually ate more sweets as a result.
If it’s the carbonation you love, try some naturally flavored seltzer water or make your own fruit-infused water and give it a zap with a carbonator.
2. Living Near Traffic
If you live on a busy street with lots of road noise, you could be nearly 30 percent more likely to be overweight. The same is true if you live near train tracks or an airport. That’s according to a research study that was published in the publication, Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
So how and why does road noise and sounds from other vehicles raise your chance of gaining weight? Well, the researchers believe that these sounds may trigger your body’s cortisol levels to rise. This hormone has been linked to weight gain, especially around the midsection.
It also stands to reason that you could see a similar effect if you’re exposed to these sounds at work, since there’s a good chance you spend as much as one-third of your time at your place of employment.
The solution, though, is fairly simple: just drown out the sounds with noise-canceling headphones, a white noise machine or soothing music.
3. Commuting to Work
Living near traffic isn’t the only threat to your health. Commuting to work can also raise your risk of weight gain. A Washington University study found that a longer commute meant less time to exercise. This left the commuters more likely to be overweight.
Fortunately, you can solve this problem with relative ease. Get off one bus stop earlier than usual and walk the rest of the way to work. Or, if your commute includes a short drive, consider riding your bike or walking instead. Find creative ways to integrate exercise into your commute you’ll know how to lose belly fat in two weeks.
4. Foodie Shows
If you love food and cooking, then there’s a good chance that you watch cooking shows and other foodie programming. But this can significantly boost your chances of gaining weight, as a study found that if you watch cooking shows, you may weigh, on average, 10 pounds more than someone who gets their recipes online, from a magazine or from a cookbook.
Researchers believe the cause is two-fold. Firstly, there’s a good chance you’re sitting down and vegging out while you’re watching your show. The more sedentary your lifestyle, the higher your chances are of packing on the pounds. The other problem surrounds the recipes that are featured on these shows. Many of these meals are high in calories and fat. They can even deceive you into believing that high-fat meals are typical and normal.
So if you’re going to watch cooking shows, watch them while you’re at the gym. And don’t let those cooking show hosts deceive you into believing that fatty, high-calorie meals are healthy. Make a concerted effort to substitute any high-calorie or high-fat ingredients with healthier alternatives. And watch those portion sizes too! The portions displayed on television are often far greater than what’s typical and recommended.
Multitasking is an effective method for boosting productivity, but it seems that multitaskers are also elevating their risk of weight gain. Researchers at Brown University found that folks who focused on a single task and remained focused on the present had an average of one pound less belly fat when compared to the multitaskers.
So how in the world does multitasking increase your risk of weight gain? Well, the researchers theorized that focusing on the here and now makes you more capable of resisting urges that could lead to weight gain. For instance, if you’re a multitasker, you may be more likely to skip the gym or indulge in a not-so-healthy snack.
The solution to this problem is to practice mindfulness. Get in tune with your thoughts, your emotions and what it means to live in the moment. There are lots of ways to do this, ranging from yoga and meditation (especially mindfulness meditation) to endurance training.
Try to avoid these seven unobvious causes of weight gain and you may find you’ve mysteriously dropped a couple of pounds!