Weight gain or loss is almost always a simple mathematical sum — if you consume more calories than you expend, you will gain weight. For every pound of fat you want to lose, you will need to expend 3,500 calories more than you intake — a daily 500-calorie deficit would cause a pound’s weight loss every week. Once you have the all-clear from your doctor, avoid these top five habits that encourage weight gain:

1. Mindless eating: If you’re not thinking about what you’re eating, chances are you’re consuming more calories than you need without even realizing it. Eating in front of the TV, while driving, while on the phone, or in bed are all bad habits because you are not paying attention to what you are eating. This makes it more likely you will eat excess calories and pack on the pounds.


2. Tiredness: Shorting yourself on sleep is a bad habit if you want to maintain a healthy weight. When you’re tired and low on energy, you’re less likely to make healthy food choices. You’re also less likely to spend the time it takes to create a healthy meal at home. Grabbing fast food because you’re tired means you’re adding significant calories to your diet, without necessarily getting the nutrients and vitamins your body needs.


3. Alcohol: Alcoholic drinks are packed with calories and carbohydrates — beer is particularly calorific by comparison with liquor or moderate quantities of wine. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis is a bad habit that can directly cause weight gain. Not only may you be drinking more calories than you are eating in a day, the dis-inhibition effect of alcohol makes high-calorie snacks almost impossible to resist.


4. Smoking: With many public places banning smoking indoors, there’s never been a better time to stop smoking cigarettes and make a positive choice for your overall health. However, quitting smoking often leads to short-term weight gain, as new ex-smokers find themselves eating candy or other calorific snacks instead of smoking cigarettes. While you are in the process of quitting, you might consider using one of the e-cig starter kits, perhaps flavored with a calorie free “vape juice“. Using these kits will prevent you from smelling like smoke and will also improve your breath.


5. Driving: Driving everywhere — even very short distances — increases the likelihood of weight gain. You burn very few calories as a driver, or passenger, in a car. Walk or bike whenever possible to increase your calorie burn and reduce the chance of weight gain.


This is a guest post by written by Kandace Heller. Kandace is a freelance writer from Orlando, Florida. When she is not busy writing, she enjoys going to the beach.