Losing weight can be tough. It requires dedication, willpower and perseverance. Sometimes we stray off the ‘healthy living’ path and we gain a little weight, which we can account for. But how about those times you don’t know why you are gaining weight? There are many reasons for this, some which I am sure will surprise you!
1. You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
So many people push themselves in the gym and eat healthy, but still don’t see results. The reason? They aren’t getting enough sleep. When you lack sleep your body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that makes you want to eat more) and less leptin (the hormone that tells you you’re full). Having a decent night’s rest also leaves you feeling more energised and less irritable, meaning you aren't as likely to reach for that chocolate bar for an energy burst.
2. You’re Eating ‘Low-Fat’ Food
If you have switched out all your favourite foods to the low-fat variety, beware this may be causing your weight gain. To make up for the missing fat, companies may add other ingredients are added to enhance the flavour or texture of these foods. Unfortunately these ingredients are usually things like sugar, which can contribute to weight gain. This isn’t always the case for unflavoured foods, such as milk, natural yoghurt and cheese, but flavoured versions of these as well as other pre-packaged foods. Make sure you check the ingredients labels in low-fat foods if you are going to be consuming them. My advice would be to swap for healthier versions of your favourite foods, for example banana ‘nice’ cream instead of ice-cream etc.
3. You’re Eating Unhealthy Food In Disguise
Sometimes even the best of intentions can lead us to unwanted weight gain. I am talking about foods that we love to snack on, and think they are healthy. For example, if you fill up your morning breakfast bowl with store-bought muesli, you may be overloading on calories in the form of dried fruit and sugar. It is super important to check your ingredient labels as what we may think is healthy, is actually far from it! This also applies to fruit yoghurts, trail mixes, fruit juices and dips.
4. Portion Sizes Are Off
This is a big one so many people struggle with, and I admit it can be difficult to control. A lot of the time it isn’t so much what you eat, but rather how much you eat. Portion sizes (especially in restaurants) have gotten bigger over the last few decades and this causes people to believe they must finish everything on their plate even though they feel full. If you are eating out, don't be scared to ask for the rest of your meal take away. If at home, eat off of smaller plates and stop as soon as you start to feel full.
5. Social Pressures
Maintaining our willpower and sticking to a healthy diet and workout routine is great when we are alone, but how about those social outings you are always invited to? The odd friendly catch up here and there can make a huge impact on your weight. Especially if your friends are telling you that a glass of wine or an extra piece of garlic bread won’t hurt you. The more often you give in to these types of scenarios, the harder it is for you to maintain consistent results. Now I’m all for treat or cheat meals, but make sure you aren’t having these too often and especially if you know you could definitely go without it. I would advise to remind all your friends you have goals you would really like to reach and you could use their help to get there. Offer to eat lunches at healthy cafes and swap the fatty or fried sides for grilled veggies and baked things.
6. You’re Drinking Calories
So many people forget that liquids have calories, and when you are eating healthy all day you may think a can of diet soda or a juice won't hurt you. The thing many people forget is that some of these drinks can have up to 200 calories in one serve, which is a lot for something that won’t really satisfy your hunger! The same goes with ‘healthy’ pre-made juices. Yes, they might contain fruit and veggies but a lot of the time this also includes sugar. If you tend to drink juices or soft drinks with each meal try to cut back and replace them with fruit-infused water.
7. Resistance Training
Sometimes gaining weight is not a bad thing! If you complete a lot of weight training you may actually be gaining muscle mass, not fat. An increase in muscle mass may increase your weight, but this is not necessarily a bad thing as muscle is what gives us nice shape and definition. This is why I always say to compare photos of yourself and use these as progress reminders, rather than the weight on the scale.
Embarking on a healthy lifestyle is not always easy, there are going to be ups and downs and we are only human. You will have setbacks, but it is important to keep going. Always have your goal in focus. The way you get there may change but I promise you, you will get there! If you have been gaining weight back and are not sure what you are doing wrong, try change up your daily routine and modify small behaviours. Remember to never give up!Kayla xx