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7 Zero-Calorie Factors That Derail Weight Loss

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Movies love to point out the old eating-ice-cream-after-a-break-up cliché. And while it’s true that you reach for comfort foods when you’re sad, being in a happy mood also cranks up your appetite, shows a U.K. study. Happiness not only distracts you from counting calories, it also makes you worry less about sticking with your diet goals, the authors say. (But if you can’t resist indulging in a slice of chocolate cake, try making these 11 Crazy Delicious Desserts with Hidden Healthy Foods.)

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A Good Mood

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Movies love to point out the old eating-ice-cream-after-a-break-up cliché. And while it’s true that you reach for comfort foods when you’re sad, being in a happy mood also cranks up your appetite, shows a U.K. study. Happiness not only distracts you from counting calories, it also makes you worry less about sticking with your diet goals, the authors say. (But if you can’t resist indulging in a slice of chocolate cake, try making these 11 Crazy Delicious Desserts with Hidden Healthy Foods.)

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Chilly Temps

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The colder the ambient temperature, the more you eat. Your body uses food (and body fat) to keep you insulated and warm. So you tend to both eat more and retain more fat in cold climates than in hot ones, shows a study from Yale University.

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Dim Lighting

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Dim or soft lighting increases consumption in two ways, according to research from Cornell University. First of all, low lighting makes your environment more comfortable, which causes you to linger over a meal. Also, if you’re dining with other people, low lighting makes you less self-conscious about both your body and the dessert you’re chowing on, the researchers suggest.

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Speedy Tunes

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The faster the music’s playing at a restaurant, the faster you’ll eat, according to research from Scotland. That could be a good or bad thing depending on how much you’re served. Your eating speed can outpace your brain and belly’s ability to detect whether you’re full. So if you have a lot of big plates in front of you, speed eating may lead to overconsumption, the study shows.

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Inviting the Whole Group

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The more friends you dine with, the more you eat. According to the study from Georgia State University, every buddy you add to your dinner party ups your consumption by about 11 percent. Friends tend to keep eating as long as someone else is still going at it. So the more pals you’re with, the longer the meal will last.

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Long Reads

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Do you sit down to eat with a magazine? The longer the mag, the more you’ll eat. People who eat and read tend not to stop munching until they’ve flipped through the whole issue, shows a study from Finland.

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Ordering a Large

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The bigger the package, the more you eat. For example, if you’re offered a jumbo chocolate bar or soda, you’ll consume 15 percent more than if the bar or bottle were small, shows research from the Journal of Marketing. (What a bummer! Luckily, there’s an app that can tell you What 200 Calories Really Looks Like.)

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By  Markham Heid

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