Habits that make you fat without you even knowing!

Reviewed by our expert panel
Habits that make you fat without you even knowing!

Ever wondered why, even though you think you live a healthy life, you struggle to lose weight? It could be these two habits are sabotaging your weight loss without you even knowing.

I’ve been asked many times to write a ‘diet’ book. But if I was going to write a book it wouldn’t be a ‘diet’ book – it would be a ‘weight-loss maintenance’ book. This is because many people find the weight loss itself fairly attainable, but the hard part is the maintenance of the weight loss.

I guess that’s why there are so many ‘diet’ books and life memberships to popular weight-loss groups: they know you’ll be back to try that diet again, or perhaps another one.

Obesity is a complex problem and using the ‘diet’ as a medicine to solve the problem is over-simplistic. The trick is not to diet but to adopt eating and activity habits that can be maintained for the rest of your life.

So what are two of these bad habits that could be adversely affecting your ability to lose weight or maintain weight loss?

Stop the loss/gain cycle by getting off the diet treadmill. The bottom line is: dieting makes you fat!

When you start a diet you lose an amount of weight – but that weight loss is linked with the loss of lean body mass as well as fat mass, and loss of lean body mass slows your metabolic rate. So, when you break your diet and resume ‘normal’ eating again, you re-gain the weight you lost plus a little bit more. So dieting itself is a habit that makes you gain weight.

Is a treat a treat if it becomes a daily occurrence? An indulgence or treat should not be a daily event. For weight loss I recommend one treat a week and for weight maintenance, three treats a week.

If a treat happens daily, it’s no longer special and then you start looking for new replacement ‘treats’.

What are some alternatives to unhealthy treats?

Unhealthy treat Alternative treat
2 tablespoons cream 2 tablespoons sweetened yoghurt
Small slice of cake Biscotti
Small packet of chips Small handful of nuts
Small chocolate bar Chocolate dessert yoghurt
2 glasses of wine Soda with a twist
Can of soft drink Can of diet soft drink
French fries Baked potato with light sour cream


First published: Nov 2006

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