We all know the general formula of weight gain; lack of exercise and eating too much of the wrong foods can soon see the numbers on your scale creep up. Though, sometimes it can feel like you are doing everything right, and still you can’t seem to get the results you want. Now, I don’t really like focusing on weight as a measure for success in my F.I.T. programs, but if your clothes are feeling a little more snug than usual and you seem to be doing everything by the books, here some of the reasons you could be gaining weight, or not losing it for that matter.
1. Your hormones are out of whack
Hormones play a major role in your ability to gain or lose weight. Your body has so many different hormones, and if these hormones are out of balance your body can start to pack on those extra pounds. In particular, low thyroid levels, or excess estrogen, can be a major cause to gaining weight and storing unwanted fat. If you are struggling to lose weight, it is always recommended to go to a health professional and have your hormone levels checked.
2. You are stressed out
Some people lose weight when they are stressed out, but others put weight on. When you are under extreme levels of stress, your cortisol levels go up. Cortisol is a stress hormone, that when elevated can make the body store fat and make you put on weight. It also affects your immune function and concentration levels. If you are someone who deals with a lot of stress in your life, look at ways you can reduce the stress or find better ways to cope with it. Things like deep belly breathing, yoga and meditation are all great stress reduction tools. I have a great mind reset program, where I share all my favourite stress busting techniques. Check it out here.
3. Prescription medication
There are a lot of prescription medications available that can lead to weight gain, whether the weight gain itself is a side effect or they increase your appetite, making you hungrier and eating more than you should. Common medication culprits are the contraceptive pill and anti-depressants. If you think your prescription medication could be the cause of your weight gain, always speak to your doctor.
4. You have bad digestion
Digestive issues, including bloating and slow bowel movements can lead to excess pounds. Ideally, you should have a bowel movement one or two hours after eating. There are many causes of digestive issues, including bad gut bacteria, food intolerances, or medications. Taking a good probiotic can help, but if problems persist talk to a doctor or naturopath, to find out if you have any other underlining medical conditions.
5. You aren’t sleeping well
Sleep is so important for your overall health and wellbeing. Not only does a good nights sleep mean you have better brain function, it’s also super important for the body to be efficient at burning calories. One bad night’s sleep can increase the body’s ghrelin levels (which is the hormone that makes you hungry). This is often why when we haven’t slept well, we want to eat all those sugary bad foods. It also reduces leptin (which is the hormone that promotes satiety), making it easy to overeat the next day. As you can see, getting a good night’s sleep is super important. However, it’s not just about the amount of sleep, but also the quality of your sleep. Try and get at least 7 hours of good quality sleep a night. Doing things like turning off your electronics a few hours before bed, can help you reach that deeper sleep a lot quicker.
6. You are consuming hidden or excessive calories without realising
Sometimes 'healthy' food can be filled with unwanted and excessive kilojoules. The worst thing is, because you think it’s healthy, you tend to eat more of it. Foods like breakfast muesli or snack bars are some of the worst culprits for this, as they are often high in fat and/or sugar. Another common food people tend to overeat is nuts. Yes, they are good for you, but if you aren’t sticking to one portion size (a small handful), then you could be increasing your daily calories drastically. Be mindful of what you are eating, stick to appropriate portion sizes and read your ingredients on packaged foods.
When you embark on a health and fitness journey, there will be times that can be frustrating, especially when you aren't getting the results you want. Remember, sometimes what works for someone else may not always work for you. That is why it’s so important you learn to listen to your body, be patient and keep going.