Could these things be making you fat?

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

When we notice our waistlines thickening and have to buy bigger clothes because our old ones are a little snug, we often look at our diet and activity level as the cause of the weight gain. Whilst these are two very important factors that should be addressed, there could be other factors that you haven’t considered.

1. Your dining room is too bright

If you often eat out at fast food restaurants, or have bright lights in your dining room, this could be contributing to your weight gain. A study conducted by Cornell University showed that diners who ate out at fast-food restaurants with bright lighting ate 175 more calories (about 18%) than those who ate in dim lighting with soft music playing.

2. You have too much clutter

Research has shown that having a messy or cluttered kitchen or house has been associated with increased unhealthy eating and higher weight. For many people, being surrounded by clutter can cause chronic stress which is associated with weight gain.

3. You’re distracted

Are you guilty of eating your lunch at your desk, or scoffing down your dinner in front of the TV? A study published in the American Journal of nutrition found that being distracted whilst eating led to people eating more, whilst paying attention (mindful eating) resulted in them eating less later on.

4. Your plates are all wrong

Did you know that the size and colour of your plates could be influencing the amount of food you serve yourself? A small study found that people served themselves an extra 30% when the colour of the plate and food were similar (eg white rice on a white plate) than if there was more contrast between the colours. People were also more likely to serve themselves less food when using a smaller plate.

5. Junk food is too convenient

If you have a biscuit jar on the bench, snacks in your desk drawer or potato chips at eye level in your pantry, this could be contributing to your weight gain. Researchers have found that convenience and visibility of junk food was correlated with increased consumption. They believe having fruits and vegetables in plain sight will increase the likelihood of reaching for a healthy snack.

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