You wouldn’t expect these habits to make you fat – but they do.
1. Staying Up Late
The opposite would seem to make sense: If you stay up late, you burn more calories. Burn more calories, burn more fat.
Unfortunately, staying up late can set off a multi-pronged attack on your body composition.
First, sleep is vital for recovery. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t build as much muscle mass – no matter how much time you spend in the gym. Less muscle mass = less fat burning power. Next, if you are sleep-deprived, you increase levels of the stress hormone “cortisol.” The connection between stress/cortisol and obesity is well established, but it gets worse. A recent study (Epel, Yale) shows that cortisol related fat storage tends to be around the vital organs – the worst possible place to store fat in your body.
If that’s not enough, lack of sleep is linked with glucose intolerance (diabetes), lower Growth Hormone levels, a weakened immune system, low energy, and more …
Get a full night’s sleep (7 to 9 hours), but make sure your place of rest is peaceful and pitch dark. Your natural sleep hormone, melatonin, is suppressed when there is too much light.
2. Skipping Breakfast
Many people skip breakfast thinking it will help them to lose weight.
“Fewer calories in – more fat burned.”
The reality is that skipping breakfast actually lowers your metabolism so that at your next meal you’ll tend to overeat. To make it worse, the food you eat on a lowered metabolism is more likely to be stored as fat.
3. Prescription Drugs
Many of the drugs you are prescribed increase appetite, cause edema, or slow our metabolism. That’s a recipe for getting, and looking, fatter.
The most commonly used drugs that have these effects are oral contraceptives, many anti-depressants, and estrogen replacements.
Check with your doctor to see about finding suitable alternatives that won’t make you fat.