Kick these bad habits you probably don't think twice about doing.
Chelsea Tuthill 1 / 6
1. Drinking diet soda
It's calorie-free, but it still comes with a cost. New research published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests that diet soda drinkers take in more total calories throughout the day than those who skip the fizzy beverage. More specifically, overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda take in 88-194 more calories, on average, each day in comparison to adults who do not drink diet or regular soda.
When eating out, zero in on certain words on a restaurant menu: Anything breaded, fried, crusted, smothered, or creamed will likely be higher in fat than something that is grilled, broiled, or sautéed. Cut down on the condiments and toppings as well—e.g., hold the mayo and don’t ask for extra cheese. Of course, these things are much easier to accomplish when eating at home.
Research from Northwestern University has linked staying up late—and then sleeping in the next morning—to weight gain. Study subjects who went to bed after midnight, woke up mid-morning, and ate their first meal of the day around noon consumed more calories a day, ate more fast food, and consumed fewer fruits and vegetables than those who routinely went to bed before midnight and woke up around 8 a.m. each morning. Bottom line: If your weekly routine has you going to bed relatively early each night and waking up early for work every morning, keep up with that routine on weekends.
Put down that late afternoon candy bar—your judgement's likely being clouded by your never-ending to-do list. A study from Harvard Medical School suggests that as stress increases cortisol levels in the body, it leads to cravings for sugary and fatty foods. Instead of hitting up the vending machine, reach for one of these smarter deskside snacks.
5. Sticking to steady-state cardio
A study published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal shows that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more fat—abdominal fat in particular—than steady-state cardio routines (e.g., zoning out on the treadmill). Combining cardio and strength training, and switching between upper- and lower-body exercises, is an ideal way to keep your heart rate up and boost your body's fat-burning potential.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, smokers have larger waist circumferences than nonsmokers due to more abdominal fat and less muscle mass, which are direct effects of smoking. Do your lungs (and waist) a favor and drop the cancer sticks.