Dinner is your largest meal of the day
Americans tend to eat their largest meal of the day at dinner, but that could be a one-way ticket to extra pounds. “Loading up the body with calories that it never has an opportunity to burn translates to weight gain,” says Michael Russo, MD, a general surgeon specializing in bariatric surgery at Memorial Care Center for Obesity at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. Instead, try making your largest meal a high-protein breakfast or lunch instead. “You’ll feel more energized throughout the day and give your body the time it needs to effectively use the calories, instead of storing them while you sleep,” he adds. A study from Tel Aviv University, published in the journal Obesity, suggests racking up as many as 700 calories at breakfast—as long as you eat less at lunch and dinner. In their study, obese women who ate that jumbo breakfast (and then 500 calories for lunch and as few as 200 for dinner) for 12 weeks lost double the amount of weight and double the inches off their waist compared to a group of obese women who ate the same number of calories, just in reverse order (200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner).
You don’t brush your teeth after dinner
Do you tend to snack at night, either because you’re bored or because it’s become a habit to snack and Neflix? Boredom eating can easily pack in the number of calories in an entire meal. “Brushing your teeth right after dinner is a great way to prevent post-dinner snacking,” suggests Leslie Belfanti, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with Kaiser Permanente in Salem, Oregon. “A lot of people find themselves eating desserts and caloric foods at night, even if they aren’t hungry. But after brushing they tend to stop eating because they don’t want to have to do it again.” If you find yourself munching mindlessly night after night, try brushing and flossing your teeth immediately after dinner. It could curb weight gain, plus you’ll have one less thing to do before hitting the hay.