5 sneaky reasons why you’ve gained weight

Feel like you’ve tried everything to lose weight with no success? Find out what’s really causing your weight gain

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portion size control

Portion distortion

In North America, we're eating as much as 25 percent more food per person than we did 40 years ago.

Fix it
Taking photos of meals before digging in may help you become more conscious of portion sizes:
• Use your cellphone to take a quick snapshot of what you are about to eat, then store it.
• Refer to the photo later when you write down what you ate and how much in a food diary.
• Looking at the photos might change your mind about overindulging. Use the erase button to delete the photos-use your judgement to cut the extra calories.

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french fries

Meal-sized snacks

Many fast-food chains include "snack-size" items on their menus, hoping to pull you in with the small size and super-low price-but these snacks also pack a surprising amount of calories: At KFC, the Colonel Snacker sandwich is 260 calories, and McDonald's Pesto Crispy McMini Sandwich is 330 calories. For that many calories, you could instead have two or three healthy homemade snacks to keep you going.

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McDonald's Southwest Salad

High-calorie salads

Salad may seem like the best option at fast-food restaurants, but watch out: At McDonald's, for example, the Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken has 430 calories-more than a Bacon Cheeseburger!

See more of Canada's Worst Salads.

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Nutrition: Why we crave fat (or not)

Too much fat

In developing countries, fats make up to 10 percent of daily calories. In North America today, daily fat intake is about 35 to 40 percent! This is the equivalent of approximately 90 g of pure fat a day, and more than six to eight times what we need.

Also, a lot of Italian restaurants splash extra-virgin olive oil over everything. We think of it as a healthy fat, and it is, but it is still oil-only one tablespoon has a whopping 119 calories! Better ask the chef to go easy.

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Beer

Drinking before your meal

A British study confirmed what most waiters know-that people who have an alcoholic drink before dinner tend to eat more! The study found that men who drank a glass of beer 30 minutes before a meal ate more during the meal than men who consumed a nonalcoholic beverage. Those who drank alcohol also ate more fatty and salty foods and felt hungrier after the meal than men who didn't have alcohol. So when trying to lose weight, have alcohol with your meal rather than before.

Related:
10 weight-loss tricks you haven't tried
5 myths about your ideal weight
7 things that are secretly making you gain weight