Have you been working out like crazy because you’re determined to lose weight? Maybe you’ve finally hit your exercise groove only to find the numbers on your bathroom scale aren’t budging. Or worse yet, are those numbers getting bigger? The exercise-weight gain equation is a mysterious one, but we’re going to clear things up. It’s not unusual to gain weight even though you’re exercising. Let’s take a look at the 10 most common reasons.
1. You may be losing body fat and gaining muscle
Healthy, sustainable weight loss isn’t all about the number on your scale. If you’ve been working out consistently, you may be gaining muscle while losing fat. And because muscle weighs more than fat, you may actually be gaining weight. This is why taking measurements and photos is usually a better indication of your progress than the number on the scale.
Give it some time. You’ll likely notice positive changes on the scale if you’re patient. Your weight also naturally fluctuates by a few pounds depending upon factors like water retention and hormonal changes throughout the month. So don’t obsess over every pound. Rather, focus on other markers of success and non-scale victories, such as how much energy you have, how strong you feel, and how well your clothes fit.
2. You’re not paying enough attention to your diet
Do you keep track of what you eat? The minute you start keeping a food diary, your awareness around what you’re actually feeding your body raises dramatically. If you don’t keep track, it’s easier to sneak in sugary snacks or beverages without realizing their impact on your weight.
Writing down every single thing you eat really puts your daily dietary habits into perspective. Studies show that those who track their food are far more likely to lose weight than those who don’t. You may even want to take pictures of your food. Visuals really help raise awareness, too!
3. You’re not getting enough protein in your diet
You need to eat ample amounts of protein to lose weight. In fact, protein is the most important macronutrient for weight loss. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows how protein positively impacts hormones that regulate weight, satiety, and metabolism.
Aim for creating meals that contain approximately 30% protein, and increase that number for breakfast. Many studies show that beginning your day with a high-protein meal reduces cravings throughout the rest of your day. And don’t fear dietary fat. Both protein and healthy fat will help keep you feeling full long after you’ve eaten.
4. You’re not cutting back on the carbs
Numerous studies reveal the positive effects of a low-carb diet on maintaining a healthy weight. A low-carb diet is also known to prevent some of the more serious health diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity. A study published in the journal Diabetic Medicine explains how eating a low-carb diet supports weight loss in diabetics and non-diabetics.
5. You’re not eating enough real food
Even though you’re exercising regularly, you won’t lose weight by eating too many processed and refined foods. Any food found in a box or package with a long list of ingredients is refined or processed. Even many foods that claim to be diet friendly are no good for your weight if they’re highly processed and full of additives.
Whole foods, on the other hand, are the ones made up of one, single ingredient. Eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, chicken, fish — you get the idea. Always read labels and educate yourself. If something sounds iffy, it probably is. A good general rule is not to eat anything you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce.
6. You’re skipping cardio exercise
Any form of exercise that ups your heart rate is classified as cardiovascular training. You’re building your heart muscle, while also promoting weight loss. And if you’re trying to get rid of belly fat, as we’re all apt to do after a certain age, cardio training is essential. A study published in Obesity Reviews explains just how necessary cardio is for decreasing visceral belly fat.
7. You’re not building muscle mass through strength training
On the other hand, if you’re only doing cardio but no weight training, you won’t lose the weight either. A study published in the journal Obesity shows that regular weight lifting prevents a sluggish metabolism while also maintaining muscle tone. So, make sure you mix up your workouts. You need cardio and weights to prevent weight gain.
8. You’re not drinking enough water
You may think now that you’re exercising more, you can drink whatever sports drinks and sugary beverages you like. But, this isn’t the case if you want to lose weight. It’s easy to forget how bad sweetened drinks are for your weight and your overall health. If you’re in the habit of refueling with flavored sports drinks, stop now! Even “healthy” drinks like fruit juice and Vitaminwater are packed with sugar.
If you want to lose weight, you need to drink more water. Water is essential for weight loss and good health. Water keeps all your internal systems running smoothly and helps flush out waste. If you need some extra flavor, add lemon, lime, or cucumber slices. If you cut out the sugary beverages, you may be able to push past a weight plateau.
9. You’re not getting restorative sleep
When you don’t get deep sleep on a consistent basis, you’re likely to gain weight. Sleep deprivation messes up your hormones. And hormonal imbalances can lead to weight gain — even when you’re exercising and eating right.
Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation is a huge obesity trigger. So, do your best to upgrade your sleeping habits, not only for weight loss, but for your general well-being.
10. You’re drinking too many adult beverages
Don’t we all love a glass (or two) of wine at the end of a long day? Whether it’s wine, beer, or spirits, drinking too much alcohol can make you gain weight even when you’re exercising often. Just do a little experiment on yourself to see how much lighter you feel when you cut out the alcohol for a couple of weeks. Once you begin imbibing again, you’ll naturally drink less!
At Elite Physique, we believe an equal balance of nutrition, activity, rest, and confidence is the foundation for achieving a healthier you. Our personalized weight-loss programs are custom-tailored to help you meet your goals and to address the underlying factors that can make weight loss difficult. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!