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Five Gluttonous Sins that cause Weight Gain

5 “pecados” que nos hacen engordar

Losing weight is a titanic task in life, especially for women and even more so when they are in certain stages of life where they become more vulnerable to the accumulation of fat in areas where they would least like to have it. Losing an ounce is a victory that requires all the collaboration of the universe: eliminating unhealthy foods, smart eating choices, and lots of physical activity. Then comes the truly difficult part: maintaining that healthy weight. Because what if the worst happens? That after all that sacrifice, you gain back the lost weight or even more! If this sounds frustratingly familiar, it’s because it happens to almost everyone. Do you know why? Simply because we fail to undo certain harmful habits that throw away our achievements. What are these bad habits and how do we overcome them once and for all? Here are 5 of the deadliest sins that cause us to put on weight and the formula to overcome them:

1. Eating without paying attention to what we are putting in our mouths.

If you are one of those people who sits down to watch TV while eating, you are more likely to gain weight because you have less control or awareness of what you eat. A 2012 study conducted in England showed that people who eat while distracted by TV tend to eat more than those who eat while driving or at social events (1). Subsequent studies have confirmed that distraction while eating affects food consumption, increasing the likelihood that we eat more snacks between meals. In contrast, when we are attentive to what and when we eat, there is greater appetite control, and we end up eating less (2). In fact, many of today's diet and weight loss therapies incorporate the practice of Mindful Eating exercises to teach how to change this habit and obtain long-term results (3).

2. Lack of proper rest.

Restlessness increases hunger because appetite hormones such as cortisol, leptin, and ghrelin are regulated while we sleep. Lack of sleep promotes fat accumulation within the body. According to one study, people who sleep less than seven hours a night are more likely to have higher body mass indexes and develop obesity versus those who sleep eight hours or more. This occurs because sleep deprivation increases the levels of the hormone ghrelin (regulator of food and weight), retains more sodium and other inflammatory markers, and reduces the levels of leptin (appetite regulator) and insulin sensitivity (4). If you need a little boost to help regulate rest, try a supplement that contains melatonin, as well as drinking relaxation-promoting herbal teas with lavender, chamomile, or passionflower. You can also try working on stress management, which is usually related to sleep issues. A supplementary aid to help with this can be ashwagandha.

3. Hunger-driven shopping.

There is no worse investment than going grocery shopping while hungry! In that instant, everything you see on the shelves and in the freezers becomes temptation. You end up putting a lot of things you do not need and should not eat due to high caloric content in your shopping cart. Hunger leads to impulsivity with food choices (5). The best thing to do is have a meal before grocery shopping and make a list of what you need to buy based on nutrition rather than temptation. This way, you will not buy based on impulse and anxiety and will end up with appropriate food choices in the pantry while spending less! Another functional trick is to drink a glass of water with fiber before shopping. Add a spoonful of chia seeds and let them soak before consuming or try nopal which helps increase the feeling of satiety.

4. Consuming empty calories from alcohol and other beverages.

This is an easy habit to repeat, especially for those who lead a very active social life. You might be minding your diet and paying close attention to what you eat at a work dinner or family party, but it may be a different story when it's time for a drink. Beverages can play dirty tricks on us without us even realizing it. This occurs especially with sweet, creamy, and flavored drinks or drink mixes, which are very popular, especially during happy hours or celebrations. In just a few minutes, you can rack up a lot of empty calories from sugar and alcohol as one drink leads to the next. It has been proven that excess alcohol and sugar increases weight (6). If you are going to drink, try to moderate your consumption. It is better to opt for a simple drink like vodka or whiskey, ideally with water or ice only.

5. Fat-free does not mean calorie-free.

If we really want to learn to manage our weight with the goal of better health, in addition to opting for fresh products, we should learn to read and interpret labels. Just because a product has zero fat does not mean it has zero calories. Many of these products replace certain ingredients and add others, especially sugars. It is very important to check the number of calories per serving and respect the recommended portion size, instead of eating the whole package! Equally valuable for losing weight and keeping it off is learning to distinguish which fats are worth eating, as many people who cut back on fats end up eating more carbohydrates (7).

Check which bad habits you are still stuck on and work to overcome them. Repeating good choices takes time, but the results will be pure pleasure when you stand in front of the mirror, on the scale, and in your health in general!

Let's get healthier together!

Your Santo Remedio Team


1.Jane OgdenNicola CoopCharlotte CousinsRebecca CrumpLaura FieldSarah HughesNigel Woodger. Distraction, the desire to eat and food intake. Towards an expanded model of mindless eating. Randomized Controlled Trial Appetite 2013 Mar;62:119-26. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.11.023. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

2.Suzanne Higgs, Manipulations of attention during eating and their effects on later snack intake. Randomized Controlled Trial Appetite. 2015 Sep;92:287-94. 

doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.05.033. Epub 2015 May 29.  PMID: 26032197 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.05.033

3.Joseph B. Nelson, Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. 

Diabetes Spectr. 2017 Aug; 30(3): 171–174. 

doi: 10.2337/ds17-0015, PMCID: PMC5556586

4.Christopher B CooperEric V NeufeldBrett A DolezalJennifer L Martin, Sleep deprivation and obesity in adults: a brief narrative review. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2018; 4(1): e000392. Published online 2018 Oct 4. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000392, PMCID: PMC6196958. PMID: 30364557

5.C NederkoornR GuerrieriR C HavermansA RoefsA Jansen, The interactive effect of hunger and impulsivity on food intake and purchase in a virtual supermarket. Randomized Controlled Trial Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Aug;33(8):905-12.  doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.98. Epub 2009 Jun 23. PMID: 19546869 DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2009.98

6.Gregory TraversyJean-Philippe Chaput. Alcohol Consumption and Obesity: An Update, Curr Obes Rep. 2015; 4(1): 122–130. Published online 2015 Jan 8. doi: 10.1007/s13679-014-0129-4, PMCID: PMC4338356, PMID: 25741455

7.M ShahJ E BaxterP G McGovernA Garg. Nutrient and food intake in obese women on a low-fat or low-calorie diet. Clinical Trial Am J Health Promot. Jan-Feb 1996;10(3):179-82. 

doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-10.3.179. PMID: 10163296 DOI: 10.4278/0890-1171-10.3.179

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