When you watch what you eat and work on exercising regularly, you hope to see a change in your weight. However, even without daily monitoring sometimes the pounds can creep in, without knowing why. So many different factors in diet, medicine, education and misinformation can influence your well-being and your weight. Here are seven little-known things that may be causing you to gain weight.
1. Misleading Food Labels
The food industry has caught onto how people perceive ‘healthy vs. unhealthy’ foods. Rather than always working to make sure our nutrition is at top priority, brands have been labeling food as good for you when it really isn’t. A cup of yogurt may claim to be lower in fat, but it can also mean that yogurt has loads of extra sugar. Sugary foods can cause just as much weight gain as fatty foods, so the label is not helpful in providing healthier food despite the claim. In fact, these foods can still have the same amount of calories as the full-fat version. When reading food labels, concentrate on just the energy and calorie intake per portion instead of front-of-the-box claims. This will be a more honest way of maintaining healthy weight and the correct amount of food intake.
2. Age and Hormones
Metabolism slows down over time. While retaining certain fats and nutrients can be helpful in old age, it makes it easier to gain weight than when we were younger. To counteract this, food intake needs to be reduced over time and exercise increases to remain constant.
3. Prescription Side Effects
From retaining water to reducing the ability to burn fat, certain prescriptions can alter the way we normally gain and lose weight. For instance, some young women hope to avoid some oral contraception as they can be known to encourage weight gain. Certain SSRIs, or anti-depressants can have the side effect of gaining some added weight over time.
4. Other Health Issues
Certain illness and diseases can cause excessive weight gain as one of the symptoms. Some are more well-known than others. Hyperthyroidism can cause some people to gain weight without any other reason, although it’s somewhat rare. Cushing’s Syndrome is another condition that effects one in 15 million people, but can be the source of more fat around the abdomen area. Plantar fasciitis and other physical illness and injuries causes weight to fluctuate, mostly due to a reduced active lifestyle.
5. Drinking Your Calories
One of the biggest causes of weight gain is found in drinks. Sugar in sodas, juices, and alcohol can lead to extra weight around the belly. Complications from excess weight also can lead to Type II Diabetes, inflammation and heart issues. These sugar-laced fluids don’t quell appetite as well as proteins do, so it can lead to overeating. The hidden calories in sodas also add up to fat over time if consumed on a regular basis. Studies have shown that even diet drinks can trigger weight gain in many individuals. Artificial sweeteners can cause the body to prepare for an influx of calories, which can be linked to additional pounds over time.
6. Not Understanding the Science
People don’t have to be brain surgeons to understand their bodies and health. However, learning the basics of how bodies take in calories, nutrients and fat can help maintain ideal weight. While fruits have natural sugars the body can digest naturally, processed foods like colorful cereals or ice cream contain refined sugars that are not as good for the body. Low-fat diets have been a go-to for decades, but new research about carbohydrates have shown that these are broken down into sugars as well, linked to added weight and even obesity. Read up on current studies and research to stay in the know about your weight.
7. Assertiveness and Social Cues
Simply learning to say no can be a way to battle hidden weight gain. Due to social constructs, we sometimes have trouble saying no to second helpings or an extra large piece of cake. Eating out at restaurants and being with loved ones are ways to eat extra calories without fully being aware. On the opposite side of the spectrum, people who feel lonely or depressed can overeat without noticing, causing some weight gain.
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By consulting your doctor, educating yourself on outside variables and tracking your progress, you can rid yourself of hidden reasons for weight gain in a healthy and simple way.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
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