11 Ways Your House is Making You Fat

Your home should be a sanctuary—a place where you can relax, recharge, and be your healthiest self. However, there are many hidden dangers in the typical household that can derail your diet and fitness goals.

From the layout of your kitchen to the temperature you keep your thermostat set at, your home environment and setup can either support or sabotage your weight loss efforts. Here are 11 surprising ways your house could secretly be making you fat—and what to do about it.

1. Your Thermostat Is Set Too High or Too Low

Keeping your home extremely cold or hot may lead to extra calorie burn to maintain body temperature. However, it can also cause changes in appetite and fat storage that promote weight gain.

Studies show that exposure to cooler temperatures may increase appetite and calorie intake. This is because the body ramps up metabolism to generate heat, using extra energy. This fuels hunger as the body seeks to refuel itself.

Exposure to heat has also been linked to increased hunger and poorer appetite control. Scientists believe higher temperatures may impair appetite signaling in the brain.

Aim to keep your home right around 70°F for optimal appetite control and preventing unwanted fluctuations in calorie intake. Consider Programmable thermostats to automate temperature changes throughout the day.

2. You Have Unlimited Access to Snacks

When tasty, high-calorie snacks like chips, cookies, and candy are right at your fingertips, it’s all too easy to mindlessly overindulge.

Having a kitchen filled with unhealthy grabs may lead to an extra several hundred calories per day from noshing when you aren’t even hungry. It also predisposes you to cravings for salty and sugary treats throughout the day.

The solution? Purge your pantry, refrigerator and freezer of junk food temptations. Donate unopened items to local food pantries where they can feed others in need rather than your own waistline.

Then, restock with healthy snack options like fresh fruits and veggies, plain Greek yogurt, unsalted nuts, and high-fiber foods to quell cravings. Store indulgent snacks out of sight in opaque containers.

3. You Have a Massive Fridge

Bigger is not always better when it comes to your refrigerator. Oversized refrigerators fill up quickly—giving you more opportunities to nosh. They also encourage purchasing more perishable snacks like cheese, deli meats, and creamy dressings that go bad quickly.

Those with larger fridges consume more calories, likely because of the overabundance effect. When supplies seem overly plentiful, people are less careful about portion control and overindulge.

Downsize to a modestly proportioned refrigerator. Only keep your fridge about 1/3 full at most so you don’t go overboard at the grocery store. Store healthy foods at eye level while relegating treats to bottom drawers.

4. You Always Eat on the Couch

Many of us are guilty of “treating yo self” to regular meals in front of the TV. However, eating while distracted can cause major overeating.

People consume significantly more calories when eating while watching television. Soft, comfortable furniture also discourages overeating by making it easy to keep picking at food.

Make it a rule to only eat seated at the kitchen or dining room table. Dine without any electronics or other distractions and savor each bite. The formal atmosphere encourages mindfulness and portion control.

5. You Don’t Have a Proper Place to Exercise

You’re much more likely to meet daily movement goals if your environment supports it. Yet many homes lack adequate space for breaking a sweat.

If your living room is cluttered, you’ll struggle to find space for yoga or calisthenics. No yard or garage means nowhere to go for a home workout. A missing sidewalk in your neighborhood prevents an after-dinner walk.

Look for solutions to remove roadblocks to exercise at home:

  • Clear an open area indoors for aerobic exercise
  • Consider portable equipment like resistance bands or lightweight dumbbells
  • Walk inside a mall or museum on bad weather days
  • Petition your HOA to install sidewalks for neighborhood foot traffic

6. You Have Harsh Overhead Lighting

You may not think about lighting when it comes to your physique. But the quality of illumination could impact your appetite and cravings.

Harsh overhead lights are linked to increased appetite and cravings, especially at night. Dim lighting supports healthy circadian rhythms and hunger signaling.

Install warm light bulbs that provide a soft glow. Use table and floor lamps at night instead of overhead lighting. Invest in dimmer switches to control brightness.

These simple changes help you eat mindfully when hungry instead of overindulging after dark.

7. You’re Surrounded by Clutter

Many homes are packed with tchotchkes, piles of paper, and overflowing closets. But all this clutter could be weighing you down.

Cluttered spaces are linked to unhealthy eating choices and excess food intake. Messy environments cause distraction and stress, driving emotional eating. People also tend to eat more snack foods out of cluttered pantries and refrigerators.

Set aside time to tackle the clutter once and for all. Organize pantries, donate unused items, file away paperwork and invest in storage solutions. Deep clean your kitchen so fresh ingredients are front and center.

As your home becomes more streamlined, making healthy choices will feel smooth and natural.

8. Your Kitchen Isn’t Stocked with Healthy Staples

Cooking nutritious homemade meals is difficult, if not impossible, without the right tools. A kitchen lacking fresh staple foods and proper cookware sets you up to order takeout or microwave processed meals.

Give your kitchen a healthy makeover. Stock up on fresh and frozen produce, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. Invest in high-quality pots, pans, baking dishes and utensils.

Meal prep will become a breeze when you have all the right healthy ingredients and equipment on hand. You’ll save money too.

9. You Use Small Plates and Bowls

It may seem counterintuitive, but using large dinner plates and serving dishes helps you eat less. Though portion sizes appear bigger, the visual effect causes you to serve yourself less food.

On the other hand, small plates and bowls make reasonable portions look skimpy. You’re prone to overserve yourself, resulting in excess calorie intake.

Stick to 12-inch dinner plates and large bowls to trick your eyes and prevent overeating. Dining from a spacious kitchen island also creates the illusion of more food, causing you to eat less.

10. You Have Poor Lighting in Eating Areas

Just as overhead lighting can stimulate appetite at night, poor illumination during mealtimes can also lead to overeating.

Low light levels cause diners to linger longer and eat more food. Dark environments also disguise true portion sizes, so people serve themselves more calories.

Ensure eating areas are well-lit with overhead fixtures or ample natural sunlight. Add mirrors along walls to reflect more light. Finally, avoid ornamental lampshades or dimmers that cast shadows over your plate.

With bright, glare-free lighting, you can see portions clearly and avoid mindless extra bites.

11. Your Furniture Encourages Inactivity

A home filled with plush, sink-in seating seems cozy and inviting. But it also discourages movement, promoting a sedentary lifestyle.

Recline-friendly sofas let you watch TV for hours without budging. Thick rugs and carpet prevent you from getting up to grab a glass of water from the kitchen.

Choose firmer furniture that doesn’t envelop you. Swap out shag rugs for smooth flooring. Opt for straight-backed chairs that prevent slouching at the dining table. Consider installing a standing desk as well.

The firm foundation motivates regular activity breaks, more movement, and a lighter you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some common questions about how your home environment affects your health and fitness goals:

Does home décor impact eating habits and weight?

Yes, your interior design choices can nudge you towards healthy or unhealthy behaviors. Clutter encourages stress eating while open floor plans promote activity. Large serving dishes portions food and plain kitchenware discourages cravings. Consider your décor through the lens of wellness.

What small kitchen changes encourage home cooking?

Simple upgrades like organizing pantries, hanging utensil racks, installing extra lighting and maximizing counter space can make cooking at home more appealing. Having pots, pans, appliances and storage solutions at the ready removes friction.

Should I adjust my home’s temperature for weight loss?

Don’t go overboard raising or lowering the thermostat. But keeping your home around 70°F provides optimal conditions for appetite signaling. Cooler and warmer temperatures could potentially increase hunger and calorie intake.

Does the size of my furniture impact fitness?

Yes, oversized cushy couches and chairs encourage lounging instead of activity breaks. Opt for compact, firm seating to stay light on your feet. Standing and portable desks are also excellent for burning extra calories.

How can better lighting help me eat healthier?

Harsh overhead light and darkness both increase appetite and overeating. Install warm, bright light bulbs overhead and use table lamps for a balance at meal times. Proper illumination helps you pay attention to portions.


Your home should support, not hinder, your health goals. Many unseen traps—like thermostat settings, kitchen setup, furniture choices and lighting—could be sabotaging your diet and fitness routine.

Making thoughtful modifications to create an obesity-proof environment removes roadblocks to nutritious eating and regular exercise. Now your house can be a weight loss asset rather than a liability!

Prioritizing healthier design, décor and furniture arrangements helps your space work for you, not against you. Try incorporating some of these impactful ideas so you can feel your best and progress towards your wellness vision while at home sweet home.