Here’s 13 reasons why you might be unknowingly gaining weight:
You are following the diet rigidly, never ate a single cheat meal and you have been exercising a whole lot more. But you are no more shedding any more weight, its been weeks now still the needle is stuck where it was previous week.
Chances are that you have hit a weight loss plateau.
You did nothing differently: eating healthy food, doing your scheduled workouts, getting sufficient rest, and sacrificing junk food and alcohol too. Then why you ain’t reducing anymore after all when you were on a roll and lost so much in the previous weeks.
Weird as it may sound, there could be multitude of reasons, some beyond your control, that are working against your weight loss fight.
These reasons might appear harmless or even healthy, but they could be tricking your body into putting on more weight.
But, how do you fight an enemy you don’t know or that is beyond your control? Don’t panic.
You can always nip them in the butt, if you know why they are leading to the “extra” weight gain.
1. You Have Hypothyroidism
Sometime’s for variety of reasons, your thyroid gland, which sits at the top of your neck, becomes under-active leading to a condition called Hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland is responsible for multitude of functions in the body, hence, if it gets under-active, or succumbs to Hypothyroidism, the body’s overall metabolism gets sluggish. The worst part is that the condition develops slowly so it is difficult for you to identify any difference until its already late. So, you could be doing nothing wrong but still gaining weight.
Pro Tip: Hypothyroidism can be treated early with proper medication supplemented with the right diet. At the same time, try these simple 13 methods to boost your metabolism.
2. You Overeat Healthy Foods
“I can eat as much as I want as long as it is healthy!” – This is probably the biggest myth in the healthy living community.
Please remember that yes eating right is important but the right “portion size” is equally important. Healthy and nutritious food definitely have much less calorie count than unhealthy junk food, but they can still lead to weight gain if eaten in excess amounts.
Popular healthy foods, such as avocados, dark chocolate, nuts, and whole grains, are high in calories and eating them in excess amount can be counter-productive. On the other hand, if portionized properly, you may even indulge in your favorite junk food every now and then.
Pro Tip: As a yardstick, use the following portion sizes while eating healthy food:
- Dairy products (such as cheese, butter, cream)/Olive Oil/Salad dressing: A teaspoon or the size of your toenail
- Whole-grains/Oatmeal/Rice or Pasta: A bowl or the size of a base-ball/tennis ball
- Lean meats/Beans/Soy: 1/3rd of serving plate or the size of your phone
Monitoring your portion-size can be difference between a “fab” and a fat body. Try these 11 sensible eating habits to lose unwanted weight.
3. You’re a Night-Owl
Multiple researches have discovered that sleep deprivation is directly related to weight gain. Basically, when you choose to stay up late at night, the body, especially the brain, starts to function weirdly. It unnecessarily increases the production of the appetite hormone, Ghrelin, and subdues the satiety hormone, Leptin, that’s supposed to stop you from eating.
Additionally, for some reason, the brain also starts craving for fatty-tempting foods. And, due to impaired judgment from lack of sleep, you find it difficult to control the urge. (Check out why?)
Hence, if you are staying up late at night – working or doing another binge session on Netflix – chances are that you are exposing yourself to more visits to the refrigerator and plenty of excess calories.
Pro Tip: Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep everyday and don’t allow any sleep debt to creep up. It definitely is a better idea to sleep early for multitude of reasons including better mood, more time, faster metabolism, but most importantly weight loss. Also, know how to identify sleep deprivation and how to lose weight and improve sleep quality at the same time.
4. You’re not Drinking Water Before Meals
Drinking sufficient water is vital for staying healthy and preventing weight gain. When dehydrated, the body holds back excess water for important body functions leading to weight gain and a fat belly. So, staying hydrated is critical for losing weight and staying fit.
However, when to drink water can be even more critical. Water, besides keeping us hydrated and regulating body temperature, is also a great way to keep the body satiated.
According to recent study, it was found that drinking two cups of water before each meal can considerably increase weight loss by reducing your appetite and portion size. So, if you have been missing this simple trick, you might be unknowingly picking extra food on your plate.
Pro Tip: Drink at least a couple of glasses of water before each meal to ensure you are already a little full and do not overeat.
Many prescribed medicines, including anti-depressants, birth control pills, pain killers, might have side effects, such as increased appetite, lowered metabolism, fluid retention, and exhaustion, that might directly or indirectly lead to weight gain. In fact, doctors report that weight gain is one of the primary reason patients choose not to comply with medicinal treatments.
Pro Tip: If you notice that your weight has started to grow soon after you got on the prescription routine, visit your doctor to recommend you suitable replacements that might deter weight gain or at least explain to you the side effects so that you can deal with them better.
6. You’re Over-stressed
Ever wonder where did the term “Stress Eating” came from? Is it true we tend to eat more (and unhealthy) when we are stressed?
Turns out, it is true and there’s a good reason behind this. When we are stressed, the body releases the hormone ‘cortisol’ that raises blood glucose levels and shift try-glycerides to visceral fat cells. While, the former leads to increased hunger due to suppressed effect of insulin, the later leads to a bigger belly. So, one hand you crave for more high-sugar, high-fat foods and on the other your belly starts accumulating more fat.
Pro Tip: Figure out what’s giving you additional stress. If it’s extra work at office then speak to your manager to reduce the workload or try to delegate some of the work. If it’s extra work at home then speak to your partner and find a way to delegate or re-organize work to reduce the burden on you. If possible, get additional help!
Also, it is always a great idea to invest time in stress-relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, exercise, and sex. If you can’t reduce stress, at least you can learn to deal with it better!
7. You’re Ignoring Protein
Mostly an issue with Vegans, insufficient protein in diet can also lead to considerable weight gain. Lack of protein can force the body to break down muscles instead of fat to gain the nutrients it needs. Lack of muscles leads to slower metabolism and leads to further weight gain.
Additionally, protein is another interesting way to stave off over-eating. It breaks down much slower than carbohydrates and thus keeps you full longer.
8. You Shop on an Empty Stomach
You know why you eat unhealthy fatty snacks? Because whenever you feel a little hungry, you readily find a packet of chips, cookies or crackers easily accessible and waiting for you in the kitchen cabinet.
But, how did they get to the kitchen in the first place? They got their because you purchased them. Why? Because you went shopping on an empty stomach.
When you are hungry, the brain’s survival mode kicks in and it starts looking for “quick-to-eat” and “easily accessible” foods. Now, at that point the brain is not worried about weight loss but instead how quickly can you pacify the hunger.
So, going back home and making a salad or stew is out of question, and thus you head for the “packed/frozen/ready-to-eat” food section. Once in your kitchen, you find it difficult to throw them away and instead indulge in them at the slightest moment of temptation.
Pro Tip: Avoid going to the grocery store when you are hungry. Or, at least eat a few bananas or drink a few glasses of water to give your stomach something to work on. Also, carry a list of items you need to buy and make sure you stick to it. No, don’t pick up the candy at the billing kiosk.
9. You Don’t Portionize your Snacks
Okay so you did end up buying tons of your favorite snack from the grocery market out of sheer hunger or maybe you just really want to enjoy your favorite snack. (I know, I do! I find it difficult to stay away from cookies even for a single day)
Controlling such temptations can be hard and not necessarily warrant a sacrifice. You can lose weight and continue to eat your favorite snack, if only you can limit the intake.
However, that rarely happens. We tend to overeat the snacks out of sheer pleasure and lack of self control. So, if you find it difficult to control the intake of snacks, you are likely to put on excess weight.
Pro Tip: Split the snacks into small portion sizes and store them in small containers or zip pouches. If you rip open the original packaging, you are more likely to finish the entire pack in one go. It is a better idea to unpack them into a container or zip bags immediately in small quantities for future consumption.
10. You Rely Only On Steady-state Cardio
Yes. you need to exercise hard to lose weight. But, doing the right exercise is just as much important. Studies have revealed that simple steady-state exercises, such as running 3 or 4 miles steadily on the treadmill, can actually lead to weight gain by increasing your appetite without burning enough calories. Such exercises, even though they seem rigorous, don’t burn as much calories as you might feel and thus lead to over-eating.
Pro Tip: Try High Intensity Interval Trainings, such as Tabata, for better results and a faster workout. An unsteady and short workout ensures that your appetite doesn’t increase unnecessarily. Try these 10 calorie burning Tabata workouts for beginners.
11. You Eat Healthy All The Time
When you start focusing on eating healthy all the time, you tend to start sacrificing all hunger surges and food cravings leaving behind an emotional void. In the short run, it might work but eventually you lose control and indulge excessively on unhealthy foods.
Thereby, it is important that you please your taste buds every now and then but limit your portion size.
Pro Tip: Once a week, when you are not going doing a specific diet, go to your favorite restaurant or fast-food joint and enjoy your favorite food to fulfil those cravings. Of course, you want to limit the portion size and definitely consider intermittent fasting to reduce calorie intake on those days.
12. You Avoid Monitoring Your Weight
Yes, you are eating all healthy, doing all the workouts, and following all your expert’s advices. But, you find it too much hassle to monitor your weight and calorie intake on a regular basis.
This is where it might get tricky. When you avoid the scale, you tend to over-estimate your efforts, and under-estimate your weight and thus tend to over-eat.
Yes, you might have been receiving a lot of compliments lately, but you might not have lost all the weight you imagined.
Pro Tip: At least once a week keep a check on the amount of calories you are typically eating each day and record your weight. Notice the trend and find any abruption.
Monitoring your weight also gives you a boost of motivation when you see the line of weight taking a downward trajectory with time. Also, learn the Mathematics of weight loss to stay on top off the weight loss game.
13. Your Body is Aging
With every passing second on the clock, you are growing a little older and there’s not much that you can do about it. Our body is aging all the time and its power to break down fats and fight obesity is declining every passing moment.
The body’s metabolism is also declining and it might get more and more difficult to lose weight. Even if you can still run a mile at a stretch as last year, your body has to work that much harder to burn calories and stave off fat.