It's officially Christmas Jumper day! Naturally the office girls - and boys - at MSN got involved...
12 things you never knew could make you fat
If you are overweight, then chances are - unless you are really unlucky - it's because you consume too many calories and don't do enough exercise.
It's as simple as that, isn't it? Well, maybe not. There are other lifestyle factors that can have a negative impact on your waistline, and they could explain why, despite living a seemingly monastic existence, you still can't shed those final few pounds.
Read on for a list of things you never knew made you fat.
Too much anxiety in your life? This could be the reason why you find it hard to lose weight, or why you put on weight when your stress levels increase.
Aside from the fact that many of us eat to make us feel better, high levels of stress provokes the body into releasing a bucket load of cortisol, the so-called 'fight or flight' hormone, which helps the body release sugar into the bloodstream, putting you on edge and, worse, giving you a raging appetite.
Humans aren't designed to be stationary all day, but unfortunately this is what modern life means for many of us. This country's rich agricultural heritage meant that our ancestors were active throughout the day, whereas we spend around eight hours a day at our desks.
Try walking part or cycling your entire journey to work, or go for a run at lunchtime - if your office has shower facilities.
Meeting that special someone can be bad news for your waistline. All those candlelit dinners, nights on the sofa with a bottle (or three) of red wine... and pretty soon all that hard work you put into your figure trying to find a boyfriend in the first place goes out the window. Our advice - start jogging together instead, or have a lot of sex.
The fact that most of us sit staring at a computer screen all day isn't the only reason why we live such a sedentary lifestyle. Many of us will then go home and plonk ourselves down on the sofa - where we will watch a UK average of three hours telly a night.
It doesn't matter how healthy your diet is if you don't move, so either cut down on your reality-TV addiction or squeeze in an exercise session.
When you count the calories you have consumed during the day, do you count everything? What about the handful of cereal straight from the box before you ate breakfast, or the biscuit in a meeting at work, or the slug of wine before dinner.
It might seem like nothing at the time, but without knowing it you could have added a few hundred so-called 'stealth calories' onto your daily intake.
As anyone who has ever done the London Marathon will tell you, training throughout winter is deeply unpleasant. In fact many of us ditch our exercise regimes when the weather takes a turn for the worst, so switch to working out indoors instead.
The onset of winter also means that Christmas isn't far away, so you should actually try and do more exercise to burn off all the extra calories.
Don't be alarmed - we're not saying you should give up your mid-day meal, but if you want to keep the weight off, then we strongly recommend taking your own lunch to work.
Shop-bought sandwiches are incredibly calorific, and usually drowning in fatty mayonnaise. Making your own lunch means you know exactly what is in it - and the calorie punch it delivers.
The sudden craze for smoothies and fresh fruit juices is terrific news for the health of the nation; suddenly it became a lot easier to get your five-a-day. But don't make the mistake of thinking they don't contribute to weight gain.
The natural sugars and, in some cases, hidden ingredients, mean that these drinks can still be full of calories, so make sure you factor them into your daily calorie allowance.
They say Guinness is a meal in a glass, but quite often so is coffee. Not all popular coffee drinks are calorific, of course. Coffee + water = low calorie beverage, so it's the milk and sugar that does it.
A large latte can contain as many as 300 calories, and if you make it a mocha, it could be as many as 600 - or a third of your daily calorie allowance.
It's tempting to ignore alcohol consumption when dieting or counting calories, but it could in fact be the primary reason why you struggle with your weight.
Alcohol is packed with calories and lacking in any real nutrition. It can also stop you from getting a good night's sleep and make you feel anxious - themselves contributors to weight gain. Limit your alcohol intake as much as you can or, even better, stay off it completely.
Lack of sleep
Try not to think of this as you lie awake in your bed at night, but research suggests that women who have problems sleeping are more likely to gain weight, particularly those in middle-age.
One Finnish study founds that around one-third of women with frequent sleep problems gained at least 11 pounds over the course of seven years. It has also been suggested that sleep loss alters a person's ability to produce the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate appetite and could lead to overeating.
As well as being an excellent appetite suppressant (which is why it's such a good idea to keep a large bottle of water on your desk at work to drink from throughout the day), water is also thought to help speed up your metabolism so you can burn off calories better.
Drinking plenty of water (aim for eight glasses a day) will also limit water retention and boost your energy levels, meaning you will feel like exercising, rather than lying on the couch all day.
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Prior to my accident 5 years ago I used to cycle 40 miles a day to keep myself fit and healthy. I ate healthily and kept my weight to just over 10 stones which was the weight I remained at for over 30 years. Following my accident (I was involved in a road traffic accident where a car travelling at over 50 mph smashed into the back of me while cycling to work - I was sent home from the hospital with only bruising, but I went downhill rapidly - it was discovered months later that four vertebrae had been shattered). Consequently I've been in a lot of pain ever since. I take opiate meds every day and am unable to exercise at all without the pain increasing to such an extent that I can't carry on. I am always aware of what I eat and try to adjust my diet accordingly, but without the exercise I'm losing the battle. My weight has crept up to nearly 15 stones since the accident; something that alarms me greatly. No one seems to have any answers for my own dilemma. I would love to exercise if only to get the endorphin rush at the end; something I miss greatly. Has anyone any positive advice for such a situation.
Try switching the central heating off!!!
Your body will burn more calories trying to keep warm than you ever will by excercising.
40 years ago the average room temperature was 10C now it is 18C
40 years ago most people weren't 'overweight' it doesn't take a lot of working out.
When you criticize and call over weight people lazy and other derogatory names think about what kind of life we have to lead. All the simple pleasures of life are hell when you are continually thinking about your size and fighting against weight gain. I have never yet met an over weight person who is happy with themselves or the way they look and your comments and attitude certainly do not help. have some respect.
I'm naturally thin and I hate it :(
I would rather be a curvy woman than thin :)
And generally speaking we don't need the masses of carbs we eat. What carbs did cavemen eat? Only those from fruit and veg and they are negligible due to the masses of fibre they got from them.
The average person doesn't have a clue when it comes to nutrition and for that the government have a lot to answer for.
Diabetes from poor diet will cripple the NHS in ten years or so and unless something is done about it now we are screwed.
Fast food should be taxed on a par with cigarettes and alcohol and the doors to the fast food restaurants should be of a size that wouldn't allow severly obese people into them. Either that or they have to start taking out sugars and putting in more fibre. it won't happen though due to the 'donations' these corporations pay govt to keep shovelling crap down our necks.
good on you nutrition student for a bit of common sense on here. one of the main reasons this country is facing an obesity epidemic apart from laziness is a lack of education. Fat doesn't make you fat and saturated fats aren't as bad for you as the govt would have you believe. It's the sugars in food that are making people fat. You get the insulin rush and that's why you get the energy crashes and crave sweet things. Insulin also encourages the body to store more fat.
All these ads you see on tv that tell you that the product contains less fat are bulls**t as they increase the sugar content in them.
I always thought weight loss was easy? when I feel a bit bigger than I want to I do one of two things, east less or do more. AND IT WORKS! I have been about 12.5 stone for the last 10 years this way.
I do not understand how people can eat and then pretend they dont know where the weight is coming from?? sleep-eating is the only real way I can guess would be a real excuse/reason!!
...good exercise comes in many forms, if you can't reduce your intake of food/calories then do some exercise regularly. If you need to tone, then many forms will help greatly. if you need to burn fat then one that gets your heart rate above 90bpm for over 30 mins is the best.
For people with physical problems that has caused them to put weight on without the physical activity they used to do while they are still eating the same amount of food??? (apart from stopping eating the unnecessary calories!) do some low impact exercise, high-effort swimming is meant to be the best form.
Basically the trick is to get the goodness from the amount of food you eat without overloading on calories you can't expend with your lifestyle. If you rarely get your heart going for extended periods, avoid fat as much as possible. Main prioirity though is to still get the goodness, not deny your body the things it needs or you can do some serious damage! The best way is do more by far.
I don't have all the answers, but its kinda common sense..c'mon eat less, or do more, OR BOTH!
..may take a long while for some of you to get to where you want to be but its fair for all.
p.s. your metabolism will increase as you get fitter too which will help in the long term.
I assume this aimed at fat females as you stated 'Your boyfriend'
Eating too much.
Not taking exercise.
These are the main reasons some people are lazy fat pigs, and then blame the whole world, god and his dog, and start crying they are a 'victim'.
All these 'tips' you have given are already known.
This is not a government conspiracy or cover-up.
An 'X-File' document hidden in some deep underground cellar away from the public eye.