There are a lot of upsetting things in life, but there’s just something extra devastating about stepping on the scale only to find that you’ve gained yet another 3 pounds. Sure, we’ve all been in a place where we’ve put on a couple extra LBs, but when you’ve come to the point that the number on the scale is rising at a steady rate, it’s time to stop and think about what you’re doing wrong. Just because you’re eating “healthy” food doesn’t mean you’re not going to put on a few extra pounds if you overdo it. No matter how nutritional your food is, portion sizes are still equally important. This is especially true when it comes to sources of good fats like avocados, dark chocolate and nuts or healthy carbohydrates like oatmeal and quinoa. Unless you’re chowing down on a vegetable or a fruit, make sure that you’re keeping track of how much of a particular food you’re eating so that you don’t overdo it.
#2: Using Exercise as An Excuse to Munch More
This point is similar to the first in the sense that you’re using a good thing to give you license to eat more. Attending a spinning class every evening doesn’t give you the license to chow down on two portions of spaghetti before your work out. It’s not only counterintuitive (meaning you’re actually cancelling out whatever caloric burn your work out is giving you), it could even lead to further weight gain. The same can be said for pre-workout snacks. Instead of using your exercises as an excuse to eat more, maintain appropriate portion sizes and choose low-cal pre-workout snacks that suit your workout plans.
#3: You’re Not Getting Enough Water
We’ve harped on this point one many times and we’ll keep doing it until you get the picture. Water is so essential to losing weight that not getting enough water could actually contribute to gaining weight. Not having enough water in our systems can trigger hunger pangs, cravings and in some cases, retain water. These are all factors that contribute to over eating and weight gain. If you have a hard time getting a full glass of water down, carry a water bottle around with you and sip continuously throughout the day.
#4: You’re Eating Too Much Salt
Sodium is silent but deadly. Not only is it unhealthy for you to be consuming too much salt, sodium can also literally make you gain weight overnight. Think about it. Have you ever had a particularly salty meal the night before only to wake up feeling like your pants a bit too snug for your liking? This is the effect that water retention can have on your body. Instead of relying on salt to flavor your meals, go for other spices and herbs to make your meal both delicious and belly friendly.
#5: You’re Not Catching Enough Z’s
If you’re eating right, exercising hard and getting a sufficient amount of water in, it could be possible you’re not getting enough rest. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between lack of sleep and high BMI levels. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies release increased amounts of the hunger hormone known as ghrelin while also decreasing the production of leptin, the hormone that helps us feel full. Sleep deprivation also makes us more susceptible to reaching for junk food. Talk about a combination for disaster.
#6: Your Stress Could Be Getting to You
Is there something in your life that’s causing you heightened levels of stress at the moment? If your answer is yes then that could be one of the things triggering your weight gain. When our bodies experience stress, the immediate reaction is for there to be a release of cortisol. This hormone actually triggers the body to store more fat in the belly. You could literally be stressing yourself fat! If this could be the reason you’re gaining weight, it’s time to assess what you can do to decrease your stress levels and start relaxing a little.
#7: You Need More Protein in Your Diet
All the health professionals go on and on about protein for a reason, you know. Getting enough protein in your diet can help you keep the weight off by helping you feel satiated for a longer period of time and can help you maintain lean muscle in your body. Not having enough protein in your body will actually trigger a breakdown in your body’s musculature so that you get the protein you need. Also, less muscle mass is directly correlated to a slower metabolic rate. Stock your kitchen with tons of healthy protein and have at it.
#8: You’ve Got Too Much Temptation Lying Around
Ever found yourself thinking “one cookie won’t hurt” or “it’s just a tiny piece of cake”? Congratulations, you’ve discovered why you’re gaining weight. Having your trigger foods around you is a one-way ticket to a derailed diet. Couple this with any of the reasons we mentioned earlier and you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Clear your home and work place of your trigger foods. Choose to keep healthy snacks around instead to keep yourself on track, too.
#9: You’re Too Strict with Yourself
Sure, this could sound like a direct contradiction to our earlier point, but take a moment to hear us out. Choosing the “diet” option of every kind of food could actually do your body and your weight loss journey more harm than good. Honestly speaking, most “low fat” or “fat free” products out there are full of harmful additives and actually contain way too much sugar than you think. This is the kind of stuff you don’t want to be eating when you’re looking to lose weight. If you want to enjoy something like ice cream, eat the real deal and control your portions instead of going for a double scoop of fake, additive-packed product.
#10: You Eat Out Too Much
Unless you’re in the back with the kitchen staff and watching every single thing, they put in your food, you’re never really going to have any clue how many calories you’re actually consuming. In fact, studies have shown that restaurant food is some of the unhealthiest stuff out there. After all, what are they going to use to make your food taste good? The short answer is fat and salt. Try to eat home more and indulge in restaurant food a little less throughout the week.