5 Bad Eating Habits That Make It Harder to Control Your Weight

5 Bad Eating Habits That Make It Harder to Control Your Weight

(Last Updated On: April 15, 2019)

5 Bad Eating Habits That Make It Harder to Control Your WeightYou probably have a few vices – a few bad eating habits you’re not even consciously aware of. No one eats “perfectly” all the time but it’s important to be aware of how you ARE eating. Bad habits like mindless snacking can come back to haunt you when you suddenly find it hard to get into your jeans. Here are some of the most common bad diet habits that make it hard to control your weight.

Not Controlling Portion Sizes

Portion sizes have increased in the last 30 to 40 years. Restaurants have set the stage for this by serving huge portions. After seeing such large portion sizes, our minds subconsciously think that’s what a single portion looks like. Then you end up eating that amount at home too. Pretty soon those portion sizes get imprinted into your brain and you serve yourself oversized portions at home too.

Bad Eating Habits Fix:

Learn to eyeball portion sizes. You could weigh them using a scale, but if that’s too compulsive for you, follow these “eyeball” guidelines:

  • 3 ounces of meat = a deck of cards
  • Baked potato = computer mouse
  • Vegetable serving = baseball
  • Muffin = hockey puck
  • A teaspoon of salad dressing = half dollar
  • An ounce of nuts = two shot glasses
  • An ounce of cheese = the size of your thumb

Re-learn what a portion size SHOULD look like and stick to it when you’re eating out. When you eat out, box up the extra to take home. This is one time you don’t want to clean your plate.

Making Unhealthy Foods Too Accessible

Do you keep a jar of candy on your desk at work or stock your cabinets and refrigerator with unhealthy snacks? When you keep unhealthy temptations within easy reach, it makes it easy to mindlessly snack. Plus, you’re more likely to reach for what’s in the front of the refrigerator and your cabinets rather than digging to the back to find something healthier. We tend to reach for what’s most accessible when we open the refrigerator or cabinet.

Bad Eating Habits Fix

Stock your refrigerator and cabinets with the “right stuff” – individual packages of string cheese, cottage cheese, nuts, seeds, sliced veggies and Greek yogurt. Get creative – spread goat cheese on cherry tomatoes or figs for a filling and satisfying snack or spread hummus or almond butter on raw, sliced vegetables.

Prepare healthier fare ahead of time and put it in the front of the refrigerator. Toss nuts and seeds into single-serving baggies you can grab so you don’t overeat by munching out of the bag. Clear out the “not-so-good-for-you” munchies so you won’t see them and mindlessly reach for them. Don’t make it too easy to eat unhealthily.

Not Eating Breakfast

There are lots of reasons people don’t eat breakfast – they’re not hungry in the morning, they don’t have time or they want to save on calories. Problem is they compensate at lunch by eating more or, even worse, snack on something unhealthy before lunch. Breakfast is one meal you need to make time for.

Bad Eating Habits Fix

Set the alarm earlier to make time for breakfast or fill your slow cooker with quinoa or oatmeal and let it cook overnight – and wake up to a high-fiber breakfast in the morning. Make sure you start the morning with a source of protein too to help keep hunger at bay. Prepare a batch of hard-boiled eggs you can grab and eat with your hot cereal. Researcher shows breakfast eaters are better able to control their hunger and are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off.

Overeating on the Weekends

Some people eat cleanly all week but overindulge on the weekends. It’s okay to splurge but an entire weekend of splurging can do damage to your waistline. Why is it so easy to overeat on the weekends? You get out of your normal routine and you’re more likely to engage in social activities that involve eating. It’s easy to let down your guard and lose track of how much you’re eating.

Bad Eating Habits Fix

Have a cheat meal on the weekend and watch it for the rest of the time. You’ll only do so much damage with one cheat meal. If you have a cheat day or, worse, a cheat weekend, you’ll more than makeup for the calorie deficit you created during the week. Don’t let the weekend turn into a major “cheat feast” that’ll leave you cursing at the scale on Monday. Plan ahead.

Not Planning Ahead

When you don’t plan your meals and snacks ahead of time, you leave yourself open to grabbing whatever’s available. When you’re pressed for time, it’s all too easy to make the wrong food choices out of convenience.

Bad Eating Habits Fix

Carry food with you to work and when you’re on the road so you won’t have to pull into a fast food restaurant for an energy booster. When traveling, carry a cooler in the back packed with healthy edibles. It’s challenging to find healthy snack options on the road, so why not carry them with you?

 The Bottom Line?

Don’t let these five bad dietary habits make it harder to control your weight. They’re easy to fix once you’re aware of them. It’s all about being mindful of how you eat.



Journal of the American Dietetic Association, May 2005; vol 105.

Washington University in St. Louis. “Weekends slow weight loss, researchers find”


Related Articles By Cathe:

Portion Size Control: Simple Ways to Control How Much You Eat

5 Things to Do When Your Eating Habits Get Off Track

Portion Control: 5 Ways to Avoid Portion Distortion

Weight Loss: Controlling Your Portion Sizes

What We Can Learn From the French About Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight

The Problem With a Cheat Day & a Possible Alternative

One thought on “5 Bad Eating Habits That Make It Harder to Control Your Weight

  1. Cathe, Hi. Happy Belated Birthday! Congrats on all your success. You’ve come a long way since your first bodybuilding show in 1990, which I still have a picture of us.
    Blessings and Peace to you and your family.

    Melissa Loper

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