Men's Health offers four mistakes that make you fat:
1. You drink diet soda like it is water.
A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study found that when people swapped their favorite sugary soft drink for the diet variety, they ate more desserts and more bread than people who swapped their go-to beverage for water. Artificial sweeteners may increase your hunger for sweet things, says the study's author Barry Popkin, Ph.D.
2. You try too hard.
Adopting a very rigid diet almost guarantees that your weight loss efforts will be sabotaged by food cravings, suggests a new study in the journal Appetite. So cut yourself some slack. Flexible dieters have just as many cravings and give in to them just as often, says study author Adrian Meule, Dipl-Psych. The difference is that they are more likely to get back on track quickly.
3. You play Call of Duty until 2am.
A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that scant sleep can cause you to overeat fatty foods. When people slept only 4 hours a night for 5 days, they took in nearly 300 calories more than when they slept 9 hours a night. Too little shut eye may increase your appetite by short circuiting your brain's sense of reward.
4. You are too darned optimistic.
If you are like most people, you wildly overestimate the number of calories you burn during exercise. According to a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, people thought that a workout incinerated about 900 calories when it actually burned just 300.