This article was on AOL news, and I thought it was interesting:
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that extra calories will make you fat. Yet calories aren't the only weight woe you should worry about. As it turns out, your day may be loaded with traps that could be keeping you heavy, and most of them aren't so obvious -- like your credit cards or even your best friend. Take a look at these surprising factors behind weight gain.
1. You buy your lunch with a credit card
People who pay for their food with a credit card spend 30 percent more on average than people who pay with cash, according to a Visa study of 100,000 restaurant transactions. Thirty percent more money, translates into more food (and calories and fat) you don't need. The next time you dine out, pull out the cash.
2. You're a meat-eater
Where's the beef? It could very well be on your hips. Researchers asked over 55,000 women to classify themselves as either omnivores, semivegetarians, lactovegetarians or vegans. A whopping 40 percent of omnivores were either overweight or obese while only 29 percent of semivegetarians and vegans and 25 percent of lactovegeterians had these weight issues. To slim down, eat more plant foods and less animal products.
3. You eat at church functions
Blame it on the between-service cookies, potluck suppers and ice cream socials but Baptists, Fundamentalist Protestants, pietistic Protestants and Catholics have the highest rates of obesity among religious folks, according to a Purdue University researcher. Avoid splurging at food-oriented church activities and look to your church for help with your diet: Many have faith-based weight-loss programs.
4. You dine in a group
Other diners may make you overindulge. With one other person, you eat 35 percent more. Yet when seven or more are at your table, you could eat 96 percent more. Not interested in eating alone? Just sit next to someone who eats slowly, as they'll help set your eating pace.
5. You drink diet soda
Diet and other artificially sweetened foods may not be so waistline-friendly after all. When rats ate yogurt sweetened with no-calorie saccharin, they later noshed nine percent more, gained 25 percent more weight and added more body fat, according to a study from Behavioral Neuroscience. It's too early to tell how this applies to people, but if you're concerned about weight, ditching fake sugars may help. Just don't switch to regular soda or you could really pack on the pounds -- drink water instead.
6. You're married
When you took your vows, you may not have realized you were also signing up to be partners in weight gain. Yet a 32-year study found that if one spouse becomes obese, the other spouse was 37 percent more likely to be obese. The obvious solution? Encourage each other to adopt healthy habits like exercising regularly and eating healthy.
7. You drive everywhere
Where you live could impact the number on your scale. One study from the American Journal of Obesity found that people living in walkable neighborhoods with access to healthy foods were leaner than people living in less desirable physical environments where they rely mostly on cars for transport.
8. You wear baggy clothing
You're quick to notice you've put on some pounds when you struggle to zip your jeans, but if you frequently wear oversized clothing, you may not notice the pounds creeping on. You don't have to don a tight outfit to keep your weight check, but you might consider weighing yourself regularly to avoid a sneaky gain.
9. You have heavy friends
It's true: Obesity is contagious. Researchers examined the social networks of over 12,000 people for over 30 years and found that having an obese friend increased a person's risk of being obese by 57 percent. The odds were even greater if they were close friends or the same sex. Don't think you have to ditch your friends, though. Instead, meet for a walk instead of a latte or take a fitness class together rather than hitting the movies.
10. You don't drink alcohol
Here's a surprise: The odds of obesity were 17 percent lower for people who consumed one or two drinks daily than for non-drinkers, according to a study of over 8,000 non-smokers. Heavy drinkers, however, were more likely to be obese. Don't take this as an okay to start drinking, especially if you don't already. But if you are currently consuming alcohol, make sure you're keeping it to a healthy minimum.
11. You rarely see the sun
Dermatologists have been warning against sun exposure for years, but there may be good reason to let a little light into your life. Obesity has been associated with lower vitamin D levels, and sunshine is one of the best ways to increase those levels. Although you still need to be cautious about how much sun you get, some experts recommend getting up to 20 minutes of unprotected exposure (except the hands and face) daily.