If you're a conscious eater who happens to have an enormous sweet tooth, you can bake your cake and eat it, too, as long as you use healthy recipes. Cookies, muffins, pies, and brownies can definitely be made with a nutritional twist, but if you're not careful, your healthy treat could still cause major weight gain. Avoid these mistakes in the kitchen to avoid needing a bigger apron.
In college, I was no stranger to the "Freshman 15." In fact, all that newfound freedom to eat whatever and whenever combined with the all-you-can-eat dining hall and late-night pizza runs made it the "Freshman 30." Now that I've been at a healthy weight for a while, I can look back on all the mistakes I made. I'm sharing these mistakes now in the hopes that I can help someone else avoid the sadness and insecurity that comes with weight gain.
Good-bye, Home-Cooked Meals
With no one to cook me healthy, balanced meals, or tell me to eat my broccoli and not a brownie sundae for dinner, I quickly made my own — unhealthy — meal decisions. This included ordering take-out, devouring junk food, and eating way more food than I did when home.
Is That Cookie Vegan?
My school population was 90 percent hippie, and I was already a vegetarian, so it's no surprise that becoming vegan was my next move. I didn't miss milk or eggs at all. Why miss it when there's decadent vegan ice cream, dairy-free cheese, and even a pizza place downtown serving vegan pizza? I was a total junk-food vegan and must have gained 10 pounds on vegan cookies alone. The late-night candy runs for Swedish fish didn't help either.
No, I Don't Need a Bowl — I'll Eat Out of the Bag
Chips, cookies, crackers, cereal; I ate a lot of my snacks with no plates or bowls because I was too lazy to do the dishes, which often meant polishing the entire package in one sitting.
Carrot Cake Counts as a Vegetable
I may have been vegan, but I hardly ate vegetables, unless you count tomato sauce on pizza, carrot cake, and greasy french fries. My diet was based around these four food groups: pasta, bagels, cereal, and cookies. Come to think of it, I hardly ate fruit either since it wasn't that easy to find on campus (or rather, not that appealing).
Continue reading to see the other reasons I gained weight, and more importantly, how I lost it.
A bowl of cereal makes the perfect breakfast. It's fast, easy, and inexpensive, and the right bowl of cereal is a good source of fiber, calcium, and protein. But if you make the wrong choices, your cereal may actually be contributing to weight gain. Avoid these mistakes when it comes to your morning bowl of cereal.
- Your bowl is too big: Depending on the box of cereal you choose, a serving size is about three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter cups. If you use the biggest bowl you have and just mindlessly pour, you could be devouring over 400 calories instead of the usual 120 to 200 — and this is just the cereal alone!
- You're a little nuts: Sliced almonds, pecans, and walnuts offer healthy fats and protein, but they're also pretty high in calories. Two tablespoons of walnuts is almost 100, so be mindful about how nutty you get.
Keep reading for more ways your cereal bowl can cause weight gain.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Health.com here on our site.
It's true that there are certain times in your life when extra poundage seems to appear out of nowhere . . . and settle on you. In fact, experts have honed in on the exact moments when you're most vulnerable to weight gain.
"Life transitions, having a baby, and going through menopause cause many women to pile on pounds," says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of But I Deserve This Chocolate!: The 50 Most Common Diet-Derailing Excuses and How to Outwit Them. "But with planning and prep, you can stay thin."
We asked top experts for their strategies to help you ward off weight creep — and even shed pounds — at these tricky stages. Solutions ahead.
Heavier ever after? It can be the flip side of wedded bliss: "Six out of 10 of my clients come back heavier after the honeymoon," says celebrity fitness and wellness guru David Kirsch.
Young newlyweds pack on an extra six to nine pounds in the five years after getting hitched compared to singletons, according to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And most of that gain happens in the first year of marriage.
"Couples start to mirror each other's eating habits," explains Albers. "You might be matching him calorie for calorie without realizing it."
Learn how to keep the pounds down postmarriage and in the mommy years, after the break.
David Beckham is one of the lucky ones! Just seven months after baby Harper's birth, the dad of four showed off (almost!) every inch of his toned and tattooed body in one of the steamiest ads to air during the Super Bowl. Wait . . . a postpartum dad showing off his body? Considering that the average dad-to-be adds 14 pounds to his frame during his wife's pregnancy, that's something to be commended! And while we usually talk about the lengths new moms go to lose the baby weight, only 30 percent of new dads say they actually diet with their partners to lose the sympathy weight, making the soccer superstar one of the few.
Are your jeans fitting a bit more snugly than usual? You may have Old Man Winter to thank for that. All that celebrating through the holidays is one reason the numbers on your scale may have increased, and here are six more ways Winter may cause the pounds to pack on even more, with tips for avoiding seasonal weight gain.
Chances are you've been to a holiday party or two already. And besides the guaranteed drinks and merriment with your friends and family, there's another guarantee — the table of never-ending treats.
It can be hard to think about diet and exercise during a month chock-full of cookies, candy, and eggnog. I've asked my friends if it's been easy to stick to a diet as the holiday festivities ramp up, and most of them answer with a resounding, "No!" I'm the same; for me, the holidays mean less a focus on diet than ensuring I stick to a pretty normal workout routine (regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent holiday weight gain), so I don't feel a compelling need to limit myself when the treats roll by.
If you're having the same trouble staying with a diet plan, don't worry; we have some tried-and-true tips for staying healthy whether you're at a holiday party or if you're eyeing the food court while gift shopping. But if you've abandoned all hope until after New Year's Eve, you're not alone — after all, January's a big month for renewed diet resolutions for a reason, right? So tell us: do you conveniently forget about your diet plans over the holidays, or do you make sure you stick to your normal healthy eating plans?
It's easy to forget about your health during the holidays, since you've got so much more on your mind. But instead of putting it off until January when healthy resolutions make their way back up to the top of your priorities, take time this month to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. How to do it? Make sure to avoid these five unhealthy habits.
- Forgetting to sleep: Holiday schedules can mean something's got to give. If that means that your nightly sleeping session has dwindled substantially, it's time to reprioritize. Regular sleep helps keep your energy up, mind awake, and immune system functioning properly, so don't neglect your down time when days get busy. Follow these tips for getting a good night's rest.
- Ignoring the danger of germs: Present deadlines loom, and that can mean more than a few days spent braving crowds — and the germs that come with them. In fact, places like doorknobs and escalator hand rails are just some of the potentially sickness-inducing surfaces. Makeup testers, fitting room clothes, and more can harbor nasty pathogens. Remember to wash your hands regularly, or carry hand sanitizer if you know you won't be able find a sink.
Read on for three more unhealthy holiday habits.
We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Shape here on FitSugar.
Myth: Going Vegan Will Make You Lose Weight
"While various research shows that vegetarians and vegans, on average, consume fewer calories and less fat than omnivores (a 2009 Oxford study found that vegetarians weigh 3 to 20 percent less than their meat-eating counterparts, and a National Cancer Institute study found that subjects who consumed four ounces or more of red meat weekly were 30 percent more likely to die of any cause than those who ate less), these numbers may be misleading," says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a certified nutritionist and owner of Essential Nutrition for You.
Going vegan solely for weight loss can backfire, big time. If you aren’t vigilant with a vegan diet, it’s easy to lack in vital nutrients, vitamins, and proteins, which give you energy and help keep your metabolism stoked. Many first-time vegans may also find themselves reaching for more processed foods like vegan cookies, chips, or even ‘ice cream’ more often with such a restricted diet, and many end up packing on the pounds instead.
If you do decide to adopt a vegan diet, be sure to keep the ‘treats’ to a minimum and plan balanced meals (we love ‘Domestic Vegan’ Diva Jessica Olson’s tips for "going veg"). "Aim to get about 10 to 20 percent of your calories from protein (or about 1 gram per kilogram of body weight), replacing animal protein with healthy plant proteins, like those found in beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products," Batayneh says. "And, whether you are vegan or not, eating more green, leafy vegetables is great for your health and your waistline."
See which other diet habits may also being causing weight gain after the break!
Everyone's approach to beating holiday weight gain differs. Some amp up the exercise time, while others simply give in to the extra noshing and stick to clothing with elastic waistbands. Regardless of your philosophy, the abundance of holiday parties, full of rich foods and fancy cocktails, is a major reason the numbers on the scale often go up. Keep these three tips in mind at your next shindig, and hopefully you can prevent your waistline from expanding this season.
Don't Show Up Famished or Empty Handed
Before heading out the door, snack on something filling like a banana with peanut butter, a pear with some almonds, or some whole grain crackers with hummus. Combining fiber and protein in a sack is satiating, so you won't arrive famished and end up making a meal out of appetizers. To show your hosts some appreciation for throwing the party, it's nice to bring along a present; but instead of the usual bottle of wine, prepare a healthy dish or dessert to complement the meal. Not only will party-goers appreciate the gesture, but you'll know at least one thing on your plate is good for you. This chard, avocado, and asparagus quinoa makes a great side dish, and a batch of healthier holiday cookies are often a nice addition as well.
Continue reading for two more tips to help prevent holiday party weight gain.