For most of us, home is definitely where the heart is. From the decorations you’ve chosen to the kitchen set you eyed years before buying, falling in love with your home takes time and energy. And there’s nothing more comforting than sinking into your favorite sofa at the end of a long day.
You know your diet and exercise routine has something to do with your waistline — but could your house be causing you to pack on the pounds, too? Here’s how your home may be making you gain weight, including one household item you never thought could affect your physique (No. 9).
1. You can see your snack foods in plain sight
A man eats out of the refrigerator | LuckyBusiness/iStock/Getty Images
You’re more likely to eat the foods that you see first, which is bad news if you keep snack foods easily visible. It’s a better idea to have fresh fruits and veggies displayed so that’s what you reach for instead.
Though you may not think of cereal as a snack, be wary of having that within sight, too. Livestrong.com notes one study found people who live in households where breakfast cereal is easily seen are 21 pounds heavier on average than those who have to open a cabinet to grab it themselves.
Next: The lighting in your home really matters.
2. Your lighting is triggering hunger
Friends eating a meal together | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images
If you’re like so many others, you’re probably not getting the full eight hours of sleep per night like you should be. Any sleeplessness you’re dealing with is making you crave junk food, Health notes — but that’s not all. Depending on how your house is lit, you might be hungrier than usual.
A study in the International Journal of Endocrinology found sleep-deprived adults who went about their day in dim lighting had less activity from the hormone that makes you feel full. On the other hand, the adults who spent more time in blue light, the kind you get from energy-efficient light bulbs, had higher concentrations of the hormone.
Next: We love cooking shows as much as you do — but there’s a downside.
3. The Food Network is always on
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli from The Food Network prepares food on stage | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
For many, the Food Network is their go-to channel when they’re looking to relax in front of the TV. But you should be mindful that all those delicious foods the chefs are prepping could sabotage your own weight.
Livestrong.com notes a study found women who get recipes from cooking shows weigh an average of 10 pounds more than women who get their recipes from other sources. Additionally, even if you’re not making the unhealthy recipes you see, just watching them can make you crave junk food.
Next: How often are you cleaning your home?
4. There’s dust all over your home
Cleaning fingers with wet wipes | AdamRadosavljevic/Getty Images
No one likes a dusty home — but it also may be causing you to gain weight. A few studies have found evidence that “obesogens,” which are chemicals that alter how your body stores fat when they enter your body, are slowing metabolisms and causing weight gain, the New York Post says. And it’s also suggested that dust could be one of these obesogens.
Aside from dust, some studies also claim artificial sweeteners and pesticides are obesogens, too.
Next: Keep the temperature lower than what’s comfortable.
5. Your home is too warm
Person turning up their thermostat | JerryB7/Getty Images
We all prefer our home at varying temperatures, but if you like it warmer than 70 degrees, you could be doing your body a disservice. According to Health, experts say when your home is above a certain temperature, your body doesn’t have to use as much energy at rest. This means your metabolism may drop, resulting in fewer calories burned.
You might hate being cold, but it can actually rev your metabolism. Lower your thermostat by a degree or two to give it a shot.
Next: Having screens all over the house is a recipe for disaster.
6. You have a TV in your kitchen
Man looking at his laptop at a kitchen desk | Chris Ryan/iStock/Getty Images
Gone are the days when you had to share one TV in your living room when you wanted to watch your favorite show. Now, many of us have screens in the kitchen, bedroom, and beyond. And Health says it’s contributing to obesity.
Your best bet is to just have one TV in your house — and definitely leave a screen out of the kitchen. This will just encourage lingering around food and mindless snacking while a show is on in the background.
Next: It might be time to tidy up.
7. Your home is too cluttered
Messy file rack on a desk in a cluttered room | AG-ChapelHill/iStock/Getty Images
Love knick-knacks, wall decorations, or just leaving your laundry out whenever you feel like it? Your cluttered home or messy habits aren’t doing your health any favors. Today reports a study from The American Association of Nurse Anesthetics found people who have a ton of clutter in their homes are 77% more likely to struggle with their weight.
Anecdotally, it seems less stuff really does equal less weight, too. Nanette Cooley, 54, said she lost 50 pounds after finally cleaning up her home and donating many of her belongings to charity.
Next: Do you know where your dumbbells are?
8. Any exercise equipment you have is hidden away
Dumbbells on the ground of a fitness room | NithidPhoto/iStock/Getty Images
You know you have a dumbbell, exercise ball, and running shoes somewhere in your house. But if you haven’t seen them in awhile, it might be time to put them into plain view. Daily Mail Online notes you should have your exercise equipment easily accessible to help you establish healthy habits.
For morning exercisers, put your gym shoes near your bed as a visual reminder of why you’re waking up. If you’re an evening exerciser, have a gym bag prepped and ready to go so there are no excuses.
Next: The size of your dishes really matters.
9. The plate you’re eating off of is too big
Couple cooking together | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images
You might not think the size of your plate makes a difference for your waistline, but it does. Livestrong.com says research shows your plate serves as a guide for how much you should be consuming in one sitting. Take this, for example: A study found diners who went to a Chinese buffet and ate off of large plates consumed 45% more than diners who chose to eat off of small plates.
Brian Wansink, Ph.D., recommends replacing any of your plates that are over 10 inches in diameter.
Next: Those kitchen cushions might be a little too easy to sit on for long periods of time.
10. Your kitchen furniture is too comfortable
Man helping two kids with homework at a kitchen table | Tom Merton/Getty Images
The kitchen is designed to be the one area of your home where you congregate for meals. But if you have ultra-comfortable chairs, you may be tempted to stay a little longer and snack on more than you would have otherwise, Health warns.
“The more time you spend in the kitchen, the more you end up eating,” Wansink, Ph.D., warns. If your chairs are just a little less comfortable, you won’t be tempted to really sink in and stay there for longer than necessary.
Next: There’s plenty of produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.
11. Your fresh produce is hidden in the refrigerator drawers
Open refrigerator full of fruits and vegetables | AndrewRafalsky/Getty Images
It’s easy to throw all of your fresh produce into the crisper drawers as soon as you get home from the grocery store. But you should refrain from hiding the healthiest items in your household whenever you can, Daily Mail Online says. As Dr. Wansink suggests, “The more visible the food the more attractive it is.” And remember — your apples, pears, carrots, celery, and tomatoes all don’t require refrigeration.
Here’s another tip: Cut up your veggies and store them in see-through containers. As for your less-healthy buys, store those in containers that are opaque.
Next: Your friendly get-togethers may have consequences.
12. The friends you’re inviting over have unhealthy habits
Two friends knitting at the kitchen table together | MachineHeadz/Getty Images
If your home is perfect for house parties, you should pay attention to who you’re inviting over all the time. As James O. Hill, Ph.D., warns to Health, “You’re going to behave similarly to the people you spend time with.” This means if your friends are bringing over junk food and beer, you’re more likely to indulge with them.
We’re sure you love your friends — and we’re not suggesting getting new ones just because their habits differ from yours. But you should also consider inviting over your pals with healthier lifestyles at the same time so you’ll have someone else to eat those carrot sticks with.
Next: Oddly enough, color really does make a difference.
13. You have red walls — especially in the kitchen
Painter painting over the walls | alessandroguerriero/iStock/Getty Images
If you’re thinking about giving your walls a fresh coat of paint, you might want to skip red. According to Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., the color red may promote hunger, Livestrong.com reports.
So, what colors should you choose instead? Experts say blue and green are excellent choices for a kitchen, as they promote relaxation and may keep you from rushing through your meals.
Next: Take a look at the layout of your living room.
14. You have side tables within arm’s reach of the couch
Relaxed woman watching TV with snacks | iStock.com/Manaemedia
Lounging on the couch isn’t such a bad thing after a busy day — but beware of where you’ve decided to put your side tables. Easy access to a surface like a table while you’re watching TV might make you more likely to put snacks there. For this reason, Dr. Wansink suggests moving the tables out of arm’s reach, Daily Mail Online says.
If you’re not too keen on rearranging your living room, the alternative is making it a food-free zone so you won’t be tempted.
Next: You probably should own one of these.
15. You don’t own a scale
Woman stepping on a scale | FotoCuisinette/iStock/Getty Images
We know there are conflicting philosophies around scales, but if you’re hoping to maintain or lose weight, it might be smart to have one. Daily Mail Online reports the U.S. National Weight Control Registry found those who were most successful at weight maintenance owned a scale and kept track of their weight on a regular basis.
If a scale isn’t your style, then keeping a food diary can also have its benefits. You don’t have to be ultra strict, but keeping track of what you’re eating can help you notice and stop any unhealthy habits.
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