I’ve got 3 facts about weight gain, because new research shows that everything from your friends to your spending habits can be potential fat traps!

  • Unexpected Fat Trap #1: Your friends. A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that for every 10 lbs a person gains, their closest circle of friends gain an average of 2 lbs – each! In other words, the more time you spend around overweight friends, the more likely you are to pick up on their bad eating habits! But that’s not to say you should ditch your overweight pals. Instead, think about the time you spend with them. Are you meeting out for dinner every Friday after work? Maybe you should exchange that quality time for a power walk instead.

  • The next unexpected Fat Trap: Your credit cards. The credit crunchers at Visa found that people who swipe plastic to pay for fast food generally spend 30 percent MORE than they would if they just paid with cash, that extra 30 percent in food, lumped together over an entire year, works out to about 17,000 more calories, or five lbs! 

  • Here’s one more surprise Fat Trap: Your health. A new study found that everyday virus infections have a dramatic effect on your weight. In fact, animals infected with a flu bug gained four times as much weight as animals that weren’t infected. On a human scale, that’s the equivalent of 40 lbs! Of course, that’s not to say you’ll gain 40 lbs from a simple cold, but researchers believe certain viruses increase the number of fat cells in our body. But the viruses in question can only be transmitted through direct contact. So I’ll say this again: WASH YOUR HANDS!