8 Commonly Overlooked Reasons
You May Be Gaining Weight
Some things may be obvious when it comes to weight gain. Others can be overlooked. These 8 reasons highlight some of the commonly overlooked factors that could be impacting your inability to lose weight. Ask yourself;
1. Are you eating too many highly processed foods
Eating within your caloric or macronutrient ranges for your body may not be the only important factor, if those foods are primarily highly processed foods, including things like cereals, microwave dinners, and many items that come in the frozen section of the grocery store. Often, they pack a list of harmful ingredients/chemicals, preservatives, added sugars, and unhealthy saturated fats. Numerous studies link highly processed food to weight gain.
TIP: Vitality’s general rule of thumb: Avoid most things boxed, bagged or canned. Of course, with the exception that some items that come in boxes, bags or cans would clearly not fall under the category of highly processed, like brown rice for example. This doesn’t have to be complicated; you don’t have to cut out EVERY processed item in your household but start by eliminating 1 or 2 things. Then 3 and 4. Find alternatives to replace them with even rather than cutting completely. Be on the lookout for our blog coming up where we talk about healthy whole food items to easily make up a balanced nutrition plan.
2. Are you engaging in yo-yo dieting?
Yo-yo dieting refers to cycles of intentional weight loss followed by unintentional weight regain. This pattern is linked to an increased risk of more and more weight gain over time. Studies indicate that restrictive eating and dieting may lead to future weight gain due to your body’s physiological responses to such behaviors, such as changes in hunger and fullness hormones. To keep weight off long term, Vitality believes people should focus more on sustainable lifestyle changes.
TIP: Rather than going “cold turkey” on your nutrition regimen, be more realistic about your approach to weight loss or healthy living. Pick one or two things that you feel are holding you back the most, and either stop or change these habits. Replace them with an alternative healthy habit. Perfect this change over the course of 4-6 weeks. Then take your turn at tackling the next roadblock. Approaching your nutrition as if it were like any other goal; as if takes time, preparation, and continuous work daily, to achieve and sustain.
3. Do you have an underlying medical condition that is being overlooked?
Although many lifestyle factors contribute to unintentional weight gain, certain medical conditions may also play a role. Some of these include: Hypothyroidism. Depression. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Binge eating disorder (BED). Diabetes. Cushing’s syndrome. Varying Nutrient deficiencies. Vitality can help you identify and treat all of the above listed conditions using medically supported, natural and functional approaches. Additionally, certain medications including antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs, can lead to weight gain. Do not stop taking any medications that you are currently prescribed without first consulting with a health care physician.
TIP: Dr. Google is not always your friend. Talk to an experienced and educate Medical Professional and Nutrition Specialist about specific things you are experiencing and determine which path you would like to take to determine what sort of resolution would be appropriate for your specific symptoms or issues. Do not start purchasing every supplement on the market proposed to “improve your thyroid or hormones!” if you believe you may have deficiencies. This can often lead to more damage, or simply money wasted.
4. Are you getting enough sleep?
Insufficient sleep may trigger weight gain, among other negative effects. Some evidence associates 7 or more hours of sleep per night with a 33% greater likelihood of weight loss, compared with sleeping fewer than 7 hours.
TIP: If you sleep with the TV on, stop. If you set your phone down on the nightstand immediately before rolling over in bed, stop. Try making it a point to have the TV off and your phone turned down for at least 30-60 minutes prior to laying down for bed. This could not only improve your sleep, but possibly do wonders for your relationships with your loved ones and pets.
TIP #2: Magnesium can be an extremely helpful, non-drowsy supplement to aid some in sleep. Melatonin is often the go to, leaving magnesium commonly overlooked. There are MANY helpful natural remedies on the market. Speak to a specialist in Nutrition who can help you pick the best option for your specific needs.
5. Are you eating enough whole foods?
If you regularly eat processed foods, switching to a diet that’s higher in whole foods is an easy and effective way to promote weight loss and improve many other aspects of your health. In fact, the most important factor in weight loss is choosing whole, minimally processed foods according to multiple studies. Read the full article at vitalityidaho.com/blog for links to these cited studies.
One study divided 609 adults with excess weight into groups that followed either a low-fat or low-carb diet for 12 months. Both groups were instructed to maximize their vegetable intake, restrict their intake of added sugars, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates, eat mostly whole, minimally processed, nutrient-dense foods, and prepare most meals at home. The study found that people in both diet groups lost similar amounts of weight. This demonstrated that diet quality, not macronutrient content, was the most important factor in their weight loss.
TIP: Start small. Pick whole foods you know you like. If that means that at first, you’re eating loads of fruit, so be it. More fruit could be better than more chemically filled foods. Relating to #2 which highlights yo-yo dieting, changing your eating habits cold turkey is not always sustainable or realistic for a plan of success. If you’re a Lunchables Pizza junkie, try making a home-made version of these using organic pita flats, turkey pepperoni, and organic or homemade marinara sauce. You’d be surprised at how yummy things like this are, and not all that much work!
6. Are you overly stressed?
Chronic stress is a common problem that can affect your weight. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase hunger and your desire for highly palatable, calorie-dense foods, which can cause weight gain. Studies indicate that people with obesity have higher cortisol levels than those who are not in the obesity category.
TIP: Many supplements can help tremendously with stress. Taurine, Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, Theanine, and more. These supplements are not being suggested to replace any depression or anxiety medications. A healthy lifestyle filled with confidence in your routines can improve stress. Ultimately: stress is a choice. At Vitality, a considerable portion of our programs are designed to help you address balance, mental health, and reduced stress. A favorite saying of ours: “Life doesn’t get easier; we just get better at it.” -Coach Paige
7. Are you eating too many fats? Including healthy fats?
Eating too much fat can add unintended extra calories to your diet and cause weight gain. Fats contain 9 calories per 1 gram of fat. More than twice the amount found in carbohydrates and protein. Many foods such as salmon, steak, pork, almonds, and eggs have a significant amount of fats in them. Many people count these foods only towards their protein intake for the day, not realizing that the fat content may be relevant to their overall daily macronutrient and caloric intake.
TIP: Ahhhh the fad diet known as Keto. This diet applies to #2 as well. Too many fats, healthy or unhealthy, is not the solution to all weight issues. Carbs are not the enemy. Keto is not a miracle diet. Relating back to #6: BALANCE is often the more realistic key to success. If you are unsure of which foods are considered fats, or which proteins and other types of foods have significant amount of fats in them, check out our Macro Cheat Sheets below where we categorize some foods and detail the amount of macros per gram. This is a great place to start when it comes to understand macros and learning that all protein isn’t categorized as “just” protein.
8. Are you eating too little calories?
Eating too few calories can be the start of a vicious cycle that causes diet distress. When you cut your calories so low that your metabolism slows and you stop losing weight, you probably will become frustrated that your efforts are not paying off. This can lead you to overeat and ultimately gain weight. While eating too much food is the most obvious cause of weight gain, eating too little can certainly hinder your ability to shift the pounds. When in starvation mode, the metabolism will slow and will store any food eaten as fats to ensure that more fats are available for fuel instead of muscle. This will cause the need for a metabolic reverse diet or “upregulation” which can take time and patience to execute appropriately before the body could be ready to go back into a successful “fat loss” cycle again.
TIP: This is an absolute favorite topic of ours at Vitality. It is almost always overlooked in our experience. We often see this problem much more commonly than those overeating. To many people, this makes no sense. Hopefully this small explanation and these studies can help to clarify it some for you. We are experts in helping our clients achieve weight loss through a successful reverse diet and metabolic upregulation. Though this seems confusing, scary, and complicated, try first by calculating your estimated BMR. This can be done easily on any BMR calculation website. Based off what you believe your BMR is, identify how low beneath that you are eating in your calories. Then, start by slowly increasing your calories, healthily, weekly. Done in small increments and with healthy foods, this should not cause weight gain and start to improve your energy levels. This is just one beginning step to a successful “reverse diet”.
Vitality provides lifestyle, evidence based, healthier alternatives to dieting than many fad diet options available in today’s world of weight loss. Carbs are not the enemy, starving yourself is not the solution, and hours upon hours of cardio is not necessary to achieve a healthy and sexy shape. Contact us for a Free Consultation to learn more about our services.
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