5 Common Unhealthy Habits that Can Lead to Weight Gain


Losing or gaining weight isn’t just determined by your diet and exercise. There are many other factors that can affect your weight – even factors you are not always conscious of.

That’s why the habits we practice daily have a significant impact on our weight and health. While not everything about weight is within your control, a set of consistent, healthy habits will give you a strong foundation to practice self-care and manage your weight long-term.

What Habits Lead to Weight Gain?

We are not always aware of the unhealthy habits we get ourselves stuck in that can end up making the number on the scale creep up. Here are five common unhealthy habits that can lead to weight gain if they are not addressed.

Sleeping Too Much or Too Little

Poor sleep has repeatedly been linked to a higher BMI (body mass index) and weight gain. When you sleep, both your brain and body use that time to reset and recharge. Both sleep deprivation and sleeping too much can affect your appetite, decision-making, energy levels and much more.

Taking Meals and Snacks on the Couch

Health experts recommend sitting down at a table to eat food instead of on the couch, in the bed or in the car. Eating at a table can help you practice mindfulness and focus on the sensations you are feeling so that you are able to know when you are full or need to slow down. When we bring our dishes or snacks to other areas of the house, or take them on the road, we are more likely to consume more calories than we need.

Lack of Meal Prepping and Planning

If you don’t plan ahead for meals and snacks, you might not only end up spending more money on restaurants and take-out, but you are more likely to eat less healthy foods for the sake of convenience. Planning a menu each week and using it to guide your purchases at the supermarket can help you spend less, eat better and feel less stressed at mealtime.

Poor Stress Management

Speaking of stress… it’s a big factor that affects weight. Too much stress can increase cortisol levels, which are your body’s stress hormones. An increase in cortisol can affect your mood, sleep, appetite, metabolism, energy and more. Stress-busting habits like regular exercise, a healthy work/life balance and making time for an enjoyable hobby can all help you manage stress more effectively.

Bad Relationship with Food and Exercise

Many people who struggle with weight also experiences challenges in their relationships with food and exercise. The impacts of weight bias can make us feel the need to punish ourselves with “diet food” and physical activity that we don’t enjoy. When this happens, it’s not uncommon for someone to get hyper-focused on numbers – whether it’s calories, macros, reps or the number on the scale. Instead, it’s important that we develop healthy relationships with food and exercise so that we see them as opportunities for self-care.


Our habits have a significant impact on our weight and health. The behaviors we practice daily, whether they are conscious or unconscious, can affect everything from the food we eat to the way we manage stress. By using behavior modification techniques, you can learn to develop healthier habits that will support your health goals for the long haul.

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