Six Surprising Reasons You’re Gaining Weight
You live a healthy lifestyle and think you’re doing all the right things to stay in good shape, but you’re inexplicably gaining weight. These six surprising reasons will help you have greater insight as to why, and allow you to do something about it.
You think you’re doing all the right things – you’re eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, but despite that, the needle on the scale is creeping up and that waistband around your pants that fit perfectly just a few weeks ago, is feeling awfully snug.
It’s extremely frustrating, but there are a number of surprising factors you probably didn’t consider or weren’t even aware of, that could be causing your weight gain, including these.
You Aren’t Getting Enough Sun
It may sound rather unlikely, but the reality is that if your body isn’t getting enough sunshine, it can cause you to gain weight. That’s because when vitamin D levels are low, the levels of a hormone known as calcitriol rises, and a high level of calcitriol triggers the body to hold onto fat. Vitamin D is believed to work together with calcium to help reduce the production of a stress hormone called cortisol too, which also encourages the body to hoard fat, particularly in the belly.
How to fix it: Without enough sunshine, the body isn’t able to produce enough vitamin D, and while you shouldn’t spend hours in the sun without protection, a little can go a long way, which means getting outside for a few minutes can help. If you live in a northerly climate, you might need to take a high-quality vitamin D supplement during the winter months.
Stress is a natural part of life, and it can even be healthy over the short-term, helping us to deal with conflict, but chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health, and it can even contribute to weight gain. That’s because when you’re stressed, the body releases the hormone cortisol, which stimulates appetite and induces cravings for fatty, sugary foods. At the same time, it also sends a signal to the body that fat should be stored for emergency fuel.
How to fix it: To break the cycle of chronic stress and put yourself into a more relaxed mindset, implementing daily stress-relief practice like deep breathing or meditation can help, along with getting regular exercise.
Your Digestive System Isn’t Functioning Properly
If you’re experiencing problems like constipation or slow bowel movements, it could be that a lack of good, healthy bacteria in the gut may be to blame. Experts believe that an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria may contribute to weight gain due to the production of methane gasses that slow motility down, ultimately leading to more absorption of calories.
How to fix it: If constipation is your primary digestive woe, taking probiotics, ensuring that you drink enough water and eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, can help get your digestive system back and track and working properly again.
We’re all aging, which of course, is unavoidable. We simply don’t burn as many calories at 50 as we did when we were 20 or 30. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.
How to fix it: Consuming fewer calories and getting more exercise (including both weight lifting and aerobic workouts) to keep the metabolism burning at its max may be the key to prevent unwanted weight gain. Reducing carbs, particularly from processed foods, and including healthy fats and lean protein in your diet, can also help.
You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
It’s important to drink lots of water throughout the day to prevent your body from becoming dehydrated, which can hinder your metabolism and ultimately contribute to weight gain. Drinking water increases the number of calories that are burned, otherwise known as resting energy expenditure. In adults, research has found that that resting energy expenditure increases by 24 to 30% within 10 minutes of drinking water, and the effect lasts for at least an hour.
How to fix it: To figure out how much water you should drink each day, take your current weight and divide that by two, then take that number and aim to drink that many ounces of water daily. In other words, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should be consuming 65 ounces of water a day. If you find it a challenge, try carrying around a gallon by investing in a stylish gallon-size water bottle – you can also add a slice of lemon for flavor.
You Have a Musculoskeletal Condition
Musculoskeletal conditions like plantar fasciitis and osteoarthritis can lead to unintentional weight gain. Experts say that’s because problems like these can force one to cut back on their activity – enough that it causes that number on the scale to creep up.
How to fix it: If you’re struggling with this, do some research or seek out a professional that can help modify an exercise program for you, such as switching out running for cycling or swimming.
Now That You Know Why You’re Gaining, You Can Do Something About It
Being in the dark, not knowing why something is happening, is far more frustrating than having the knowledge you need to do something about it. Now that you’re aware of the reasons, you’ll be better able to address that weight gain and fit comfortably into those jeans again.
Want are you prepared to do today?