Ugh. That dreaded moment when you look at the scale and realize that not only have you not lost any weight this week, but you have actually managed to gain some. This can be exasperating, especially if you’re trying to eat right and exercise. So, what gives? In times like these, it’s important to look at the hidden or overlooked factors contributing to your weight gain. It could just be that you need to tweak your habits a bit, or it could be something much more serious. We’ve put together a list of 5 Hidden Reasons Why You Might Be Gaining Weight.
5 Hidden Reasons Why You Might Be Gaining Weight:
1. You’re skipping breakfast. Your mom was right on this one – breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. A good combination of protein, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins can give you the energy you need to get a good start on the day and avoid the overeating that comes with allowing yourself to get too hungry later that morning. If you don’t have time to sit down for breakfast, try making a nutritious smoothie using fresh or frozen fruit, juice or low-fat milk, and some greek yogurt or protein powder, instead. For ideas, check out these tasty Skinny Ms. smoothie recipes: Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie; Wake Me Up, Keep Me Going Smoothie; or Superfoods Smoothie .
2. You aren’t drinking enough water. Oftentimes, the weight gain we experience is water retention, which can result from your period, an excess of sodium or carbohydrates in your diet, stress, or the medication you’re taking. In addition to cutting back on sodium and carbs and reducing stress, drinking water actually helps with water retention issues. For more information on the link between water and your weight, click here.
As a word of caution, water retention can also be a result of a serious medical condition, so if you experience other symptoms, you should check with your doctor. Which leads us to …
3. You have a medical condition. As unpleasant as it is to think about, weight gain is sometimes a warning sign that you are experiencing a serious medical condition involving your heart, kidney, liver, or circulatory system. If your weight gain is rapid, you are feeling especially puffy, or you have other concerning symptoms, you should seek medical attention.
4. You aren’t getting enough sleep. Let’s face it. In today’s busy world, sometimes we sacrifice sleep in order to fit it all in. If you’re pushing hard to fit it all in, you may want to think twice. Cutting back on your zzzz’s may actually be counterproductive.Not only is it better for your health to get adequate rest (aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night), but the hormone cortisol that is released during times of stress, like that which we feel when we’re worn out, can cause us to overeat and store more fat. For more information on how sleep and weight are connected, check out our article Losing Weight While You Sleep!.
5. Your low-fat diet is high in sugar. If you’re relying on pre-packaged foods that claim to be low-fat, you may want to think again. Most of the time, the fat taken out of these foods is replaced by higher amounts of sugar to make up for taste. Refined sugar causes nasty blood-sugar spikes and crashes that lead us to want more sugar, and all of that sugar that our system can’t process is then stored as – you guessed it – fat.
Try increasing the protein and fiber in your diet instead, and aim for natural foods. Protein, from sources like nuts, whole-grain rice and pastas, and lean meats, give longer-sustained energy, and fiber, from whole-grain cereals and breads and fresh fruits and vegetables, helps us feel full longer and promotes better digestive health. Take a look at our 20 Healthy Snacks to Have on Hand for inspiration.