The reasons of weight gain vary as much as we women vary in everything else. It’s frustrating, though, to do so well on your diet, then months later realize you’ve gained some weight back… but the common reasons of weight gain aren’t mysterious, or at least, they don’t have to be! Here are the 10 most common reasons of weight gain.
1. Stressed eating
I eat, and I eat poorly, when I’m stressed. Sometimes I don’t even realize what, or how much, I’m putting in my mouth. Naturally, if I’m stressed for more than a day or two, these empty calories can really adding up, so if you’re a stressed eater like me, this will be one of your biggest reasons of weight gain, too. One alternative to stressed eating is exercise — you’ll be burning calories, rather than consuming them, and the exercise has been found to help relieve stress much better than cheesecake does.
2. Emotional eating
Just like stressed eating, emotional eating can be a cause of weight gain. If you eat when you’re sad, lonely, bored, or for other emotional reasons, the food isn’t going to help.
3. Skipping exercise
To date, there has never been an effective weight-loss plan that didn’t include some sort of exercise. The mistake we make, though, is that we often tend to stop exercising when we’ve reached our goal weight. Big mistake! If you stop exercising, you’re not burning the same number of calories, so even if you haven’t changed your diet, you’ll still end up with a surplus in calories, which in turn is a reason of weight gain.
4. Accidental over-eating
If we believe what restaurants tell us about serving sizes, it’s no wonder we gain weight: on average, their portions are about two and a half times what we ought to be eating at a meal. So if you’re eating what a restaurant serves you, then you’re accidentally over-eating, which is sure to be a reason of weight gain.
5. No-cal lies
Why is it that our food rules allow companies to market products as low-cal or no-cal, when, in reality, they’re not? I heartily recommend checking labels on low-cal and no-cal foods just to make sure… seriously, this is true.
6. Not getting enough sleep
Did you know if you’re not getting enough sleep, you might be gaining weight? Regular, good sleep is imperative for our bodies to function properly, and if they’re not functioning properly, you could be gaining weight, without even having the momentary joy of cheesecake. Boo!
7. Feeling the pressure
Is weight gain of a pound or two such a bad thing? As women, our bodies tend to fluctuate every few weeks, adding a pound or two, then taking it away… if you’re weighting yourself every day, you’ll notice it, and might be worried, but could it be the pressure from our skinny-supporting society, including the pervasive, perverse media? Don’t let someone else, including me, tell you what weight you need to be at. Healthy is what you’re going for, not insanely ridiculous “perfection.”
8. Med side effects
There are lots of over-the-counter and prescription medications that list “slight to moderate weight gain” in their side effects. If you’re experiencing weight gain you can’t explain with any of these other reasons, check with your doctor to see if one of your medications could be the culprit.
9. Hormonal changes
In item 7, I mentioned the natural fluctuation of women’s’ body weights across the weeks. I was of course referring to the slight weight gain that can occur during the days leading up to our periods. Don’t worry! As soon as your cycle comes back to the beginning, the water weight and puffiness you’ve experienced will melt away.
10. Muscle vs. fat
My personal trainer drove this point home when he started taking inch measurements in addition to scale measurements. See, as your body adjusts to weight loss and gain, it changes, not just in pounds, but in inches, too. And as you become healthier, and build more lean muscle as opposed to fat, you might actually gain weight, since that lean muscle weighs more than fat. It sounds scary, and counter-intuitive, but it’s true, and it’s a very good thing!