Why Am I Gaining Weight?

By Stacey Feintuch from HealthyWomen’s Weight Loss center

Why Am I Gaining Weight?

You think you eat well and exercise regularly. But, you just can’t lose the weight. In fact, you’re putting on pounds. When you’re trying to lose weight but it’s just not happening, the last thing you want to see is a higher number on that scale.

Find out some reasons why you might be gaining weight and learn how to get back on track.

You don’t hold yourself accountable.
Record everything you drink and eat. Many apps and websites can help, or you can use trusty pen and paper. Note trouble spots, like that late-night bowl of ice cream. This process will make you feel more responsible for what you eat every day. You may think you’re eating healthy but writing down every bite makes you aware of those extra calories you eat without realizing you’re doing it.

You don’t follow your diet.

Don’t stress over which diet to follow. Just be sure that you actually follow it. A study published in JAMA found that what weight-loss plan you choose really doesn’t matter. It’s more important that you stick to it. Weight-loss differences between popular diets like Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach and Nutrisystem—which were all among those included in the study—are minimal. And they have similar levels of effectiveness, researchers found. Looking for some health food ideas? Check out these best fruits for weight loss or the best teas to drink for weight loss.

You don’t drink enough water.
Drinking water helps maintain body temperature, offers energy and keeps you feeling full longer. So, if you don’t drink enough water, you may eat too many calories. And that can lead to weight gain. Plus, when you’re dehydrated, your body saves its water for vital functions. That water retention can make you heavier. To monitor how much water you’re consuming, get a reusable water bottle. That way you know exactly how much water it holds, and you can refill it as often as needed.

You eat too much of healthy but high-calorie foods.
Yes, you may be munching on nutritious fare like quinoa and nuts, but even healthy foods can make you gain weight if you don’t watch your portion sizes. Stick to the item’s recommended serving size to avoid putting on pounds.

You don’t tell anyone.
Don’t keep your weight-loss goals a secret. Improve your chances of success by spreading the word to friends and family about your new diet. Share recipes, ideas, successes and failures with one another. It will motivate you and increase your accountability. You may also want to find a buddy with a similar goal. You can encourage one another when the going gets rough, exercise together, share your progress and swap advice. Just don’t be counterproductive by comparing your weight loss with that of your friend, such as questioning why she’s losing more weight than you.

You don’t get enough sleep.
After all the chores of the day are done and you get the kids to bed, you want some “me time.” You spend the next few hours watching TV and scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feeds. You finally fall asleep and groggily wake up a few hours later to your alarm buzzing. You may be exercising and eating right, but efforts will be hampered if you’re staying up late. Numerous studies have found that less sleep is linked to a higher body mass index and larger waistlines. Remember, the DVR and social media will still be there tomorrow. Need help snoozing? Try sipping on one of these best teas for sleep.

Your goals are unreasonable.
Your goals should be specific attainable, and you should set short-term and long-term goals. That way you’re more likely to stick with your diet. Goals shouldn’t just focus on weight loss. Aim to work out a certain number of times a week so you have something to motivate you to keep going. Then, be prepared to stick with your plan for weeks, even months.

You’re getting older.
Sad but true, with each passing birthday after 30, you start to lose muscle mass. As a result, your metabolism slows. When that happens, you gain weight, even if eat the same as you did when you were younger. Learn about foods that speed up metabolism.

Your kitchen is full of temptations.

Purge any temptations lurking in your kitchen. Think about your triggers—chips and cookies perhaps—and toss them. Then, restock with healthy fare like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy foods. Put healthy, low-calorie snacks where they’re visible. That way you’ll see them first when you open the refrigerator or pantry door. Keep less healthy foods in drawers, on low or high shelves or in the back of healthier foods so you see them less often.

You pig out at dinnertime.
After a long hard day, many of us indulge in a large meal. However, multiple studies have found that doing so is linked to weight gain. When researchers had one group of people eat a bigger breakfast and smaller dinner and another group eat the reverse, it was the big breakfast group that lost more weight. In fact, people in the big dinner group actually ended up gaining weight.

You don’t plan your meals.
Proper planning could mean the difference between staying with your diet versus jumping ship after a few weeks. On Saturdays, scan cookbooks, magazines and websites to decide what healthy foods and recipes you’ll eat for the coming week. On Sundays, grab the list and go shopping. Spend some time Sunday cooking and freezing meals, chopping vegetables and preparing snacks.

For more information on the health topics mentioned in this article visit the HealthyWomen.org areas below.

Weight Loss: www.healthywomen.org/category/tags/weight-loss
Healthy Living: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living

Weight Management: www.healthywomen.org/condition/weight-management

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