Even if you’re checking every box on the ‘how to lose weight’diagram, you still may find yourself gaining weight. How can this be? You’ve suffered through kale salads for the past month! Truth is, your weight gain may have less to do with you, and more to do with biology…or both. Here’s why:
- Overeating healthy foods
Just because a food is considered “healthy” doesn’t mean it is low in calories or fat. In fact, many healthy foods, like avocados, are high in fat. In this case it’s the healthy fat, but still fat. While guacamole may be your saving grace when it comes to dieting, remember; everything in moderation.
Portion sizes have grown considerably over time, but that doesn’t mean our bodies actually need more. When feeding your cheese craving, do you go for a baseball-sized portion, or a ping-pong ball-sized portion? If you answered ping-pong ball, not only is your portion size correct, you have incredible self-control. Next time you eat a meal, before taking that first bite, notice the portion you have in front of you and leave some food on your plate accordingly.
According to a University of Utah study, drinking two cups of water before your meals may accelerate weight loss. Water provides energy to the body, aids in temperature maintenance, and also makes us feel fuller. When you feel fuller, you eat less. Additionally, dehydration can cause the body to conserve water for essential functions which can also result in water retention.
- Stress and depression
Not only can your mood be affected, your body may be affected as well. When feelings of stress and depression arise, the body may respond by releasing the hormone cortisol. This may be linked to weight gain, inflammation, premature aging, as well as many cancers. Emotional eating can also come along with low-mood feelings. Self-care days can prove very beneficial in these cases, and finding a way to reduce these feelings can significantly benefit your weight.
- You don’t treat yourself
Although we’re willing to sign a petition for everyday to be Treat Yo Self Day, it isn’t really necessary. When you eat too healthy and strip all enjoyment from your food, your cravings only get worse. Instead, allow yourself a small indulgence every day. This could be a few pieces of your favorite candy, a spoonful of ice cream, or whatever your guilty pleasure may be. Keep it around 100 calories and you’re golden.
- You’re eating wrong
Eating is a pretty automatic process. You know how to do it and you don’t have to think about it too much. Studies show that eating fast can be a contributor to overeating. It takes the brain 20 minutes to sense that you are full, so try eating slowly and drinking water in-between bites. Being present during meals has been shown to aid in weight maintenance, so turn off the television and be one with your food.
- You’re not sleeping enough
Sorry friends, but those late night Netflix binges could be making you gain weight. Obesity and heart disease are just a few conditions associated with sleep deprivation. It’s so important that you’re even born with an internal clock that manages your sleep and wake cycles. Short amounts of sleep can contribute to increased waistlines and higher BMI. Why? Leptin, the hormone that makes you feel satisfied, can be decreased and your brain’s response to junk food may increase.
- You work out… a lot
Studies show that people who are constantly thinking about their next workout consume more calories because they assume their gym session will make up the difference. This isn’t always true.
Pro Tip: Pre-plan your bigger cheat meals at the beginning of the week, or month if you’re ambitious. This way, you can refer to your calendar and refrain from jumping the gun on indulging.
- You try to eat healthy
Wait, what? Yes, we said it. If you make a conscious effort to order the healthiest sounding item on the menu, your brain will begin to play tricks on you with a little hormone called ghrelin. This is the hormone that boosts your appetite. Starting to look more like gremlin instead of ghrelin? We agree. Additionally, as sad as it is, ordering that protein-packed salad isn’t always the lowest calorie option. Do some nutritional research for the restaurants you visit regularly so you can make an educated decision when you go.
Whether you eat too much guac with your late night Netflix marathons, or have an under-active thyroid, weight gain is almost never welcomed and knowing where yours may be coming from is the first step to getting rid of it.
Raquel is a creative writer for Lipozene.com. She is passionate about giving people the tools and guidance to live their healthiest lifestyle. When she’s not helping people achieve weight loss success, you can find Raquel binging crime podcasts, traveling the globe, and exploring her native sunny San Diego.