Little-known Causes of Weight Gain
Even as active triathletes, accidental weight gain sometimes happens and can leave us going, “what the heck?!” Here are some of the likely culprits:
1) You’re not getting enough shut-eye.
Not catching enough shut-eye can make reaching for that donut or chocolate bar that much more tempting. Ghrelin and leptin are two hormones that play a key role in determining appetite. Ghrelin tells you when you need to eat and leptin tells you when to stop. When you’re sleep deprived, your body produces less ghrelin and more leptin, leaving you susceptible to overconsumption.
2) You’re not paying attention to portion sizes.
This is a mistake that is so easy to make. When you look at the nutrition label of your favourite morning cereal it says 150 calories per 3/4 cup, so you think, “oh, that isn’t too bad” and pour yourself a bowl, blissfully unaware that you put a cup and half into your bowl, doubling the calories. Being mindful of recommended portions is more important with some foods than others. It is particularly easy to trip up when high-fat foods are involved (even if they’re healthy fats), like nuts, nut butters and avocado.
3) You’re caught in social situations.
This may sound mind-boggling, but you’re more likely to gain weight if you friends with unhealthy habits and you’re more likely to lose weight if you have active, health-conscious friends. This is because our friend group determines many of our activities and whereabouts. Try suggesting a social bike ride or yoga class (or better yet–run!) to stay social and active.
4) You’re stressed.
There are many reasons why stress can lead to excess pounds. A hectic time at work may mean that you had to skip your run or trip to the gym, or perhaps led to you choosing the convenient fast food option rather than taking time to make a healthier meal. Stress can mess with your sleep patterns, which we’ve already determined play a role in weight gain. Stress can actually cause a hormonal change in your body as well, with the production of more cortisol, which promotes weight gain. Research has even proven that cortisol influenced weight gain tends to land on the abdomen, rather than hips.
5) You’ve been skipping meals
Contrary to what you might assume, skipping a meal is not a short cut to weight loss. Fuelling your metabolism is what keeps you burning calories, depriving yourself sends the message to your body that it needs to slow down and preserve the fuel it has. So, listen to your mother and eat your breakfast. Check out our make-ahead options if you’re pressed for time in the mornings.
6) You’ve been eating ‘diet foods’
If you’ve been opting for that diet soda thinking that you’re making a healthy choice, you may want to think again. Artificial sweeteners still cause the same insulin production reaction in the body. They can also often cause headaches.
7) You buy in bulk
While this can be a cheaper option, buying in bulk can lead to overconsumption because those foods are so available and plentiful in the kitchen. If you do buy in bulk to save money on, let’s use almonds for example, it is a good idea to store them in portion controlled servings, or to leave a 1/4 cup measuring cup in the bag, to remind you of how much you should be eating at a time.
8) You’ve been drinking more (and we don’t mean water)
We’ve all heard of the freshman 15, and you know what? Cafeteria food usually isn’t the culprit, booze is. Alcohol is high calorie and adds up quickly, even if you’re just having a couple of drinks. The average beer is around 150 calories, so even having a couple is the equivalent to an extra meal.
9) You’ve been eating in front of the TV
Not only does eating while distracted mean taking in more calories at the time, it can also mean consuming more calories throughout the day. When you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating, you don’t get the same satisfaction from your food and are more likely to keep going back for more. Turn off the TV and practice mindful eating.
10) Your dishware is letting you down
It may sound ridiculous, but when we use bigger plates, we eat more. The key to weightloss could be switching up your dish ware for a daintier variety.