You’ve been the same weight for the past year or so, and while you might have slacked off at the gym a little, and started drinking a little soda now and again, why have you gained weight? I can help. I’ve been chatting with my OB/GYN and my personal trainer, and they’ve both helped me compile this list of the 20 most common reasons for weight gain.
1. Too Much TV and PC Time
We spend way too much time in front of the TV and computer these days, and not nearly enough time at the gym or outside moving around. It’s this on-your-butt lifestyle that’s to blame for most of our nation’s obesity, and it’s often one of the biggest reasons for weight gain (pun intended). Get up off the couch and get moving!
Some prescription medications present more reasons for weight gain. For instance, birth control pills can cause a little weight gain, as can some depression and anti-anxiety drugs. Check the list of side effects if you think your meds might be making you gain weight.
3. Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking may be the best thing you can do for your health, but it’s not easy… and since some of the nasty chemicals in cigarettes are stimulants, once you do quit, your might gain a little weight. But that’s certainly no reason not to quit! Kick up the intensity of your workout and watch your calories, and you’ll be fine… and you’ll be so much healthier!
Stress can make you eat more, and to crave comfort food… so it can be another reason for weight gain. Rather than drowning your stress and sorrows in mashed potatoes, try addressing the source of the stress, or coping with it through exercise.
You’re standing there in front of the fridge, waiting for something to jump out at you. You’re not really hungry, you’re just bored! So as innocuous as it sounds, boredom can be another reason for weight gain.
6. General Laziness
It’s so much easier to crash o the couch after work, and order a pizza to eat while watching TV, than it is to prepare a healthy meal and then go for a brisk walk. But this lazy lifestyle is another one of the leading reasons for weight gain and obesity. Resist the urge to veg, and embrace a more active lifestyle… you’ll live longer, and fitter!
7. Career Paths
These days, most of us have a job that keeps us on our bottoms, rather than our feet. We sit at computers all day, annoyed when we have to get up and walk to the printer. These sedentary jobs are another reason for weight gain. Not ready to trade in your cushy office job to be a waitress? No worries. Find ways to sneak in exercise at work, by taking the stairs rather than the elevator and by choosing a printer a little further away.
8. Car Convenience
The pharmacy offers drive-up service… and the bank…and the dry cleaner… and of course, fast food… all of this vehicular errand-running convenience means more time, sure, but it also means more time on your butt and less time on your feet, which means fewer calories burned. Add to that the convenience of jumping in your car to go a few blocks to the grocery store, rather than walking… you get the idea. All of this car convenience can be another reason for weight gain.
9. Lack of Exercise
Let’s face it — to most of us, exercise is a chore, and regular exercise is almost like torture. But it’s necessary to maintaining a healthy weight, and after just a few weeks, a new exercise regimen becomes a habit, one you actually look forward to!
10. Lack of Math!
One of the reasons for weight gain can be fairly simple: it’s a math problem. If you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, you’ll gain weight. Keep a food and exercise journal for one week, and you’ll see if an imbalance in this math formula could be the culprit. If so, either cut back on the calories you’re eating, or ramp up your workouts so you’re burning more calories. Align the numbers, and you’ll maintain your weight. Or, if you want to lose weight, align the numbers so you’re burning more than you’re eating. Math!
11. Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions, such as thyroid or hormone issues, may also be a reason for weight gain. If you have unexplained weight gain, visit your doctor to rule out medical conditions before you start a crash diet.
12. Lack of Fresh Fruits and Veggies
According to the USDA, we’re supposed to eat five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, but most of us don’t. The fruits and veggies we’re not eating are being replaced by sugar and calorie-laden substitutes, most of which lack the nutrients (like fiber) we really, really need. Rather than slurping fruit juice “cocktails” (which often contain less than 10% actual juice), scrutinize the labels of the drinks you buy and choose an all-natural mixed fruit juice with no added sweeteners… and choose fresh fruits rather than fruit cocktails in syrup.
13. Hidden Culprit: Soda
Soda is so bad for you, in so many ways… and while most of them aren’t necessarily reasons for weight gain on their own, soda sure doesn’t help. In fact, a recent study by the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio showed that people who drink diet soda actually have a much higher chance of gaining weight, not losing it! Add to that the fact that soda can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb calcium, and that the artificial colors and sweeteners in soda have been linked to certain cancers, and soda suddenly doesn’t seem so attractive. Bleh! Delete it from your diet for sure!
14. Serving Sizes
Let’s try an experiment. Grab a bowl and pour what you think a serving size is. Now measure that against what the nutrition label lists as a serving. Chances are, your serving is more than twice what the label says is a serving. Be sure you know what serving sizes are as you alter your diet to lose weight, or, in the long run, your portions might be a reason for weight gain, rather than a way to lose weight. Yikes!
When you’re suffering from depression, your body goes through so many physical changes along with the emotional and mental ones. One of them may be weight gain. Also, note that some medications to help treat depression list weight gain as a side effect… but note too that regular exercise is another part of a treatment plan, so it will even out over time… and you’ll be healthier and happier.
16. Lack of Sleep
Your body needs sleep to function properly, and if you’re losing sleep, you might be gaining weight. Your metabolism may have slowed without sleep, you might be eating more to keep awake and alert, you might not have the energy to workout… you get the idea. In short, a chronic lack of sleep is another one of the often-overlooked reasons for weight gain.
As you age, your body realigns itself hormonally and metabolically, and especially as you approach menopause, you might notice a little weight gain, even though your diet and workout regimens haven’t changed. Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options, which may include hormone replacement therapy or a new diet and fitness plan.
18. Lack of Inspiration
It’s hard to get, and to stay, inspired about your menu plan, diet, and workout regimen. But that inspiration and motivation is key to losing or maintaining your weight, and lack of it can lead to weight gain. If you need inspiration, find a friend who’s also trying to stay on a healthy path… or check out Pinterest for a new recipe or workout plan… find your inspiration!
19. Gain of Muscle!
If you’ve just amped up your workout, you might be confused to see your scale tipping higher, not lower. What gives? As you lose fat, and gain lean muscle, you’ll see a slight weight gain, but no worries. Lean muscle is marvelous, and an extra couple of pounds will only make your clothes fit better. Hooray!
20. Food Allergy!
Did you know that some allergic reactions to food can cause bloating and weight gain? It’s true! If you’re noticing odd weight gain, keep a food journal and see if your bloating and weight gain tend to occur after a particular food or food combination. You could have a food sensitivity or allergy, one of the lesser known reasons for weight gain.
With so many reasons for weight gain, some of which are so interconnected, it’s no wonder your jeans from last fall don’t fit quite the same anymore! Which of these do you think might be the cause of your weight gain? And how will you combat it? Do tell!
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