Staying healthy has always been an uphill battle for me. Cheat days slowly become, well, every day and exercising is actually just me shuffling around the track or sitting in the steam room for way longer than the recommended amount of time. Nevertheless, I've concocted some kind of diet and exercise plan that seems to work because my clothes still fit. (Were these jeans this tight last time? I can't remember). Unfortunately, food and physical activity aren't the only things we have to worry about. Here are all the other things science says to look out for when trying to combat extra pounds:
Your friend to you: "Oh, you eat a banana with almond butter pre-workout? I'm all about [insert brand name energy bar we can't say aloud]." Congrats, pal, buuuut a new study in the Journal of Marketing Research suggests that people who rely a lot on these products could undermine their own weight-loss efforts. Study authors note that people often get into this mindset that by eating these fitness-/weight-related foods they don't need to exercise as much and still reach their goals. Or basically that these bars, shakes (pick your own adventure) can replace exercise—which is just so, so false. Sorry.
Add getting a Bachelor's degree to your things-I-need-to-do-before-marriage bucket list. Research published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that people who marry before they earn a degree from a four-year college are 65 percent more likely to become obese later in life than those who graduated from school pre-nuptials. It's like that old nursery rhyme: First comes love, then comes college, THEN comes marriage...you know the rest.
According to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, more time on the web leads to more weight gain. If you're scrolling through Tumblr you're probably doing all things unhealthy: not working out, mindlessly polishing off a bag of Lays, and staying up until 2 a.m. looking at cute pictures of puppies. While the internet is glorious, try shaving off 30 minutes of surfing each night to devote to healthier activities like actually getting to bed at a decent hour.
If you've never seen your roommate touch a dish to make a home-cooked meal, chances are their unhealthy habits are taking a toll on your weight. A study from the University of Michigan found that college freshman with more active, health-conscious roomies were less likely to pack on the "freshman fifteen." The behavior of those around you will influence your own. (Now you've got another question to add to your potential roommate survey.)
While some people smoke to keep their weight down, those of us exposed to the castoff smoke won't be so lucky. A BYU study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism discovered second-hand smoke triggers cellular changes that result in weight gain. Living with a smoker puts you at a higher risk so try asking them to take it outside.
Despite the never-ending amount of 'Got Milk?' ads reminding us of its importance, a lack of Vitamin D is extremely common among adults. Not only does Vitamin D fortify bones but too little of it has been linked to obesity (sad face), so drink up.
There's a reason why all those perfect Pinterest cakes and Rachel Ray pot pies look too-good to be true. According to a study published by Appetite, people who regularly take recipes from food networks and social media weigh more on average that people who don't. (Ina Garten, whyyyy.)
This is probably the hardest one to stomach. After all that time looking for *the one*, science is here to put a damper on your love-fest. According to a study in Health Psychology, couples in satisfied relationships are no longer interested in attracting a mate and less motivated to eat healthy and exercise. Ugh, relationship weight is too real.
Simedar Jackson is an esthetician, content creator, and lover of sci-fi fiction living in Brooklyn, New York. She is passionate about creating space for Black and Brown people in the beauty and wellness industries by providing access to culturally nuanced education and services that meet their needs. You can find them doing their skincare routine, reminding friends to reapply SPF, and watching reruns of Love Island.
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