Top 20 Reasons For Being Overweight - Part 4

Over the last few weeks and into next year, we're looking at the 20 biggest reasons that people find themselves overweight in the first place; based on analysis of nearly 1000 overweight people over 3 years .....
8 Eating times. (Eating the right food at the right time)
Next on the list (and no real surprises here), our eating times play a huge part in our weight gain or our ability to lose weight. Eating at the wrong times and/or not eating at the right times is largely down to our failing to plan ahead. As we covered in part 2, it’s very important that we treat ourselves to the time that we deserve, if we’re really serious about getting the results that we desire.

Planning ahead

Having the best intentions is one thing, but you have to make sure you have all the right stuff in”. That was a great quote from one of my clients.

Planning ahead plays a big part in a healthy lifestyle. It isn’t just about knowing what to eat, it’s also about having it there when you need it. Planning your shopping, your meals and your snacks keeps you in control. We all know we need to have a breakfast, we need plenty of water and we need food and snacks to sustain us through the day. So taking a little time at the start of the week to prepare for these, can help keep you from finding yourself hungry in the middle of the day and more prone to making unhealthy choices.

Many of us have busy careers and work long hours, so planning evening meals in advance is also essential, to steer us away from the convenience of a take-away at the end of a busy day. Planned evening meals can be just as convenient if we’ve taken the time to prepare them in advance. It might even be a meal you had earlier in the week, where you deliberately made enough to freeze for another day.

Always make time for breakfast

Although we’ve already covered the importance of having a breakfast, it’s worth reiterating as the timing of your breakfast is just as important as the breakfast itself. Making time for breakfast is huge way to help towards your weight loss goals. Your body actually burns off calories more efficiently once you’ve had something to eat; so the sooner in the day you can have a breakfast, the sooner you’re kick-starting your body's ‘calorie burning’ time!

And, as I say to my clients, it doesn’t need to be a Kings Banquet! … Just a small slice of wholemeal toast, or a small banana, or a hand-full of bran cereal or porridge are examples of all it takes to fire your body up in a morning.

Those people that kid themselves into thinking they don’t have time for breakfast are hindering their own weight loss efforts and often find themselves ‘bumbling’ through the morning feeling lethargic, without any energy and propping themselves up with coffee.

Don’t skip lunch

The importance of eating times isn’t just about the meals we have, it’s about the meals we skip! I remember having a conversation with a client last year, she had a very busy job, driving up and down the country and was telling me she simply did not have time for lunch. “Look”, she said, holding her open diary out in front of me, “Where am I supposed to find time for lunch?”.

Her diary was clearly filled with appointments, so I asked her, “You obviously live by this diary, don’t you?”.

“Yes”, she answered.

“…and, if it doesn’t go in here, it doesn’t get done. Right?”, I continued.

“That’s right”, she agreed.

So, I then asked her, “So, where are your appointments with yourself, to have a half hour lunch every day?”.

You see, it doesn’t necessarily come natural to us to diarise time for ourselves, but if we live by a diary, get those appointments with yourself in there. Yes, this may sound odd, but once those appointments are in there, your thinking changes and you plan your day around them. You just treat them like any other appointment. I know this works because I do it myself !!

Skipping breakfast or lunch is like trying to drive across the country along the ‘b’ roads. If you really want to get going and stay moving throughout the day, a wholesome breakfast and a healthy lunch gets you straight onto the motorway and motoring through your day.

Eating meals late into the evening

As a guide, it’s best not to eat within 4 hours of bed time. Clearly, this isn’t always possible; late nights at the office, meals out with the family, etc, are generally going to cause us to eat on the wrong side of this deadline. It’s important however, to make sure those occasions are the ‘exception’, rather than the ‘rule’.

During the daytime, when our metabolic rate is higher, our bodies have the time to burn off much of what we eat. As we get further into the evening time and our metabolisms are ‘slowing down’ for the day, it becomes increasingly likely that what we eat will not be burnt off and as such, more likely that foods such as starchy carbohydrates are converted into fats and stored by our bodies; very often around the midriff area.

So, for those occasions where eating later is unavoidable, low fat, low carb meals such as prawn, turkey or chicken in a salad, stir fry or soup are a sensible option.

Definite late-night no-no’s would be pizza, kebabs, pies, burgers, take-aways, pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, cakes, biscuits, milk chocolate … you get the picture!

Working shifts

Some people believe it’s their shift pattern which is the cause of their weight problem. To some extent, this can be true; but it’s the changing over from ‘day-shifts’ to ‘night-shifts’ (or vice versa) that causes the biggest problem, not the actual shifts themselves.

For those working night shifts, take ‘breakfast’ as, ‘the meal you eat within an hour of waking up’ and ‘dinner’ (as in evening meal) as, ‘your final meal of the day, which should ideally be eaten around four hours before going back to bed’. If you can successfully challenge yourself to stick to this eating pattern, then you won’t be at any real disadvantage compared to someone working a day shift.

9 Food choices

Next on the list of the top reasons we struggle with our weight, is that it’s often simply down to out-and-out poor food choices.

Having an imbalanced diet and making poor food choices not only has a negative impact on our weight, it also affects our overall health. The foods you put into your body directly impacts how you feel, your weight and your risk of developing chronic diseases. Making a few simple changes to your diet can start the ball rolling toward losing a moderate amount of weight, improving your blood pressure levels, lowering blood cholesterol and reduces your risk of suffering serious chronic illnesses.


One of the ways in which our diet affects how we feel, is that whenever we eat a stodgy, calorie laden meal, this can make us feel sluggish and rundown. We can feel lethargic, less energised and don’t want to do anything. Over time, we may gain weight, which can impact our physical activity level even further. Without exercise, we ultimately reach a point where we constantly feel tired and fatigued.

Having a diet high in fat, particularly saturated and trans fat, increases your risk of developing heart disease. Having a poor diet generally filled with unhealthy foods leads to problems in your digestive tract, due largely to not meeting your daily fibre intake. This can cause excessive wind, episodes of diarrhoea or constipation, meaning you are unable to have bowel movements for days or strain when you use the bathroom.

Two unhealthy meals in a row…

There can be a whole host of reasons that causes us to eat unhealthily. Time often plays a part; lack of planning ahead can cause us to call for a junk-food take-away for convenience. Sometimes we can be misled into thinking we’re eating healthily, only to find out that in actual fact, that ‘healthy option’ is packed with lots of ‘hidden calories’.

Of course, it’s unrealistic to expect anyone to never have an unhealthy meal again, so a good rule to try and live by, is ‘Don’t eat two unhealthy meals in a row’.

Poor food choices make it easy to eat two unhealthy meals in a row, which literally doubles our chances of falling off the diet wagon. As a result, we can find ourselves reverting back to that old, destructive eating lifestyle. That’s how easy it is to damage our mind-set and willpower when trying to improve our eating habits.

A very punishing rule of life for people who are overweight or obese, is that a whole week of eating healthy foods can be undone by a single day of unhealthy feasting or binge eating.

When that happens, a feeling of defeatism occurs and we tend to abandon our health goals. Two bad meals can easily lead to three, then four, until we have officially halted any health progress we were making.

Instead, if we do happen to eat way too many slices of pizza or are tempted by the ‘super sized’ version of a Big Mac combo meal, we must make sure our next meal is light, such as a chicken garden salad with a low-fat, low-calorie dressing.

Just as we can ruin a diet with two unhealthy meals in a row that clog our system, we can get our weight goals right back by following up our mistake with a healthy meal that cleanses our system.

Even healthy people fall off the wagon with improper food choices some times; but they are quick to get back on the wagon and they make an unhealthy meal an uncommon occurrence. That’s the fine line between healthy people and unhealthy people.

If you have one of those days in which you do consume two consecutive unhealthy meals because of poor food choices, make sure you follow the next most important golden rule – Never eat three unhealthy meals in a row!

There’ll be more of the Top 20 Reasons We Find Ourselves Overweight in the next blog.

Have You Thought About Your Weight Loss Goals For 2013?

Maybe you have. Maybe you haven’t. One thing’s for sure, although it might not seem that obvious, giving some thought to our weight loss goals over the next year is the very first step to making these ideas become a reality. It isn't the ONLY thing we need to do of course, but if we at least have a target in mind, we have our starting point (i.e, now), and we also have something to aim for. We can then set about taking steps, however small, in the direction of where we want to be.

Instead of your New Years Resolutions being mere ‘wishes’ and ‘want’, you really can make them into firm commitments and rituals by beginning the process of thinking through what your weight loss goals and targets might be for next year. You may already have an idea, or it may be something that hadn't really crossed your mind until now ...... How would you really like to look on next years summer holiday photographs? What about on your birthday? or even next Christmas?? Imagine how you really would like to look and feel, how healthy you would really love to see your eating habits. Which of those outfits in the wardrobe would you REALLY look amazing in next year?

The act of 'conceiving' these goals in your mind and wanting them strongly enough, sets the wheels in motion. Then, by applying some of what we know about how the mind works, once you have a clear idea in your mind of exactly what you want out of next year in terms of your weight or size, the next step is an absolute must ... write it down.

The act of actually writing goals down on paper gets processed by a different part of the brain than merely ‘thinking’ through them. It 'cements' them in your mind. It turns them from mere 'flashes in your brain' to 'tangible, perceivable destinations' to which our minds can set about plotting a pathway.

Now, when you’re writing your goals down, be specific, be realistic, set yourself a time limit and most importantly (and this may sound a bit odd), write them in a way that implies you’ve already achieved them.

For example, instead of writing a goal of, “I want to fit into my black cocktail dress by April”, a much better goal would read, “I’m easily fitting into my black cocktail dress before April. I’m looking great and feeling fantastic!”.

You can set as few or as many goals as you wish, writing them down and keeping them in your purse or wallet. Then, you must read them EVERY day, morning and evening.

As strange as it might seem, by setting your goals out in such a way, your mind is FAR more likely to respond to them subconsciously, helping you to resonate with and respond to more of the circumstances required to steer you in the direction of your desired outcome.

Go on then, give that a go. We’ll catch up again in the New Year and in the mean time, I wish you and your families a fabulous and wonderful Merry Christmas.

Best wishes



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