Weird Reasons We Gain Weight

You work out regularly. You eat healthfully (most of the time) — so, why are you gaining weight? For starters, check your mood. A forthcoming study of 787 people conducted by Cornell University found that people in a good mood are 77 percent likelier to eat healthy food than those feeling bad.

“When people are upset, they want immediate relief, which may include grabbing what’s easiest and most comforting,” Brian Wansink, PhD, author of "Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life," tells Yahoo Shine. “However, people in good moods feel optimistic and tend to make choices that benefit their overall health.” Of course, there’s no magic bullet for perking up before you reach for the cookies, but the study also found that taking a moment to ponder a happy thought helps steer people away from the kitchen. But it's not just your mood, of course; here are other surprising reasons you’re tipping the scale.

You pay for your groceries with plastic: Buying your weekly groceries with cash — not a credit or debit card — can help keep your health goals on track. A recent study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people are likelier to buy junk food when they use plastic. “When you use a card, you’re not as conscious of your purchases, so it’s easier to succumb to temptation,” lead study author Kalpesh Kaushik Desai, PhD, a professor of marketing at the State University of New York at Binghamton, tells Yahoo Shine. “However, cash is a vivid form of payment, forcing you to reflect on what you’re buying.” It makes sense: You may feel guilty for grabbing those Oreos, but you’ll feel even worse if you have to painstakingly count your coins to pay for them.

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You idolize thin celebrities: You may think that looking at photos of skinny celebrities will motivate you to hit the gym, but surrounding yourself with images of superfit women (as opposed to average-size women) can offset your fitness goals, according to research conducted at Tilsburg University in the Netherlands. The reason: The more you gaze at Lily Aldridge’s thighs, the less attainable shaping up will seem, and you’ll end up snacking on unhealthy food.

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You do too much at once: Juggling a conference call while reading emails seems like a smart way to maximize your time, but a recent study conducted by Emory University found that “task switching” (pausing one activity to deal with another, then returning to the original) ruins your ability to control yourself around food. “The brain has to allocate resources to handle the various things people do all day,” lead study author Ryan Hamilton, PhD., assistant professor of marketing, tells Yahoo Shine. “If you’re depleted of these resources because your day is a series of start-stop motion, you won’t make sound decisions when it comes to your diet.” So, if you’re typing an email but your phone keeps ringing, let it go to voicemail and follow up only after you've hit send.

You travel a lot for work: Room service and pricey restaurants are just a few perks of taking a business trip, but plane-hop for your job too much and you’ll gain weight. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that people who travel “extensively” for work (more than 20 nights per month) are 92 percent more likely to gain weight. Even for those who don’t travel quite that much, poor health increased with each night of travel. Some solutions: Stand up and walk around on flights to get blood flowing, request a hotel with a gym, and plan meals ahead of time to ensure you eat well so you don't succumb to last-minute temptation.

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