It gets frustrating when you see the scale keep going up, up, up, after months of a steady diet and a regular workout routine. You’ve been sticking to your calorie intake, you get enough protein and fiber, and pretty much everything is the same – except for the fact that you keep gaining pounds!
If you’ve ruled out that you haven’t been sleepwalking to the fridge at night, you’re not pregnant, and if you’re sure that you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in, then it might be time to take a closer look at your health.
Maybe your hormones are getting out of whack, maybe you’re just going through a period of fluid retention. Let’s take a closer look at five possible reasons you’re unintentionally gaining weight.
Not Enough Nutrients
Let’s say you’re sticking to your calorie intake. It’s a good thing, of course, but if what you’re eating doesn’t contain the nutrients that your body needs, then what are you really doing? Be wary and check if you have any nutritional deficiencies.
If you’re low in vitamin D, iron, or magnesium, this can hit your immune system and drain you of energy. As a result, you’re going to skip your daily workout because you just can’t today, or maybe you’ll take in more caffeine to stay awake at work, or maybe you feel so tired at the end of the day that you tend to just reach for your comfort food – which is most likely filled with carbs.
It’s important to take meals that offer you the right balance your body needs. Fixing a vitamin D deficiency is a little tricky — too much vitamin D can lead to kidney stones, and getting the right amount of vitamin D from food isn’t easy.
If you lack magnesium in your body, opt for at least three Brazil nuts or a handful of almonds, and if you’re after filling the iron deficiency, it might do you some good to pack on the spinach or some red meat.
Typically, you take a number 2 an hour or two after a meal. But if there are excess bacteria inside the gut, this can lead to a slower bowel movement and digestive issues.
If you’re only experiencing constipation, then try taking probiotic supplements to bring some balance back into your gut. An overgrowth of bacteria can throw your immune system out of control, and probiotics are a great way to address this problem.
Also check on your prebiotics, which is basically food for probiotics. A natural source of this is glucomannan, which also happens to be a good source of fiber.
It Could Be Your Medicine
There’s no scientific evidence that going on birth control pills are going to give you irreversible weight gain – at most, the weight gain you experience when going on the pill is due to temporary fluid retention. Just allow your body to adjust, give it a month or two before pointing the fingers at your birth control. If you’re convinced that it is the birth control messing with your weight, we suggest talking to your doctor about your concern.
If you’re taking beta-blockers, or medicine that reduces blood pressure, chances are your body’s metabolism is going to slow down. On the other hand, among other medications that make you gain weight are antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, Lexapro, and Paxil.
Steroids like prednisone can also make you gain weight because it’s going to increase your appetite. If you’re constantly taking antihistamines (whether prescription or over-the-counter), it’s going to mess with an enzyme in your brain that’s responsible for regulating how much you eat.
It’s Your Thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland above Adam’s apple that is responsible for a lot of the body’s functions, including regulating your metabolism. A thyroid condition called hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease causes inevitable weight gain.
In fact, some patients have reported gaining as much as 20 pounds in just six to eight weeks. Thyroid disease develops with silent symptoms, which is why so many people don’t know they have a thyroid disorder until it’s too late.
Having Hashimoto’s disease also makes it incredibly difficult for patients to lose weight, no matter the frequency of their workouts. In fact, most people who use weight loss supplements actually have thyroid issues.
You’re Under A Lot Of Stress
Maybe your work schedule shifted, maybe you’ve been staying up too late for whatever reasons (ahem, Netflix?) or it might be that you’ve been traveling often and it’s messing up your sleep cycle. For whatever reason, if you’re under a lot of stress, chances are you’re losing sleep too.
Running on very little sleep actually alters so many things in the brain – it causes your hormones to go haywire, it makes you compulsive, and these all make you care a little less about what you put in your body. Ever had one of those moments where you know you shouldn’t have reached for the ice cream but please, I’m so stressed out and I need this, so you indulge a little too much?
When this happens pretty often, well… of course, it’s going to cause you to gain weight. It might be best for you to pinpoint exactly what’s stressing you out. If it’s your new job or your new boss, then a hormone called cortisol is going to be released by the body.
When cortisol levels are high, it’s going to result to an increase in your blood glucose and it’s also going to repress insulin. Which means you’re going to constantly be hungry, and whatever you eat will be stored as fat because your body recognizes that you’re under stress and is getting the wrong signal that it should be storing energy for future use.
Are you constantly on your phone? We all know the stress that comes with just scrolling through social media. Think less about what’s happening in everybody else’s life and focus on your own progress instead of worrying about playing catch up.
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