You are positive that you’re not eating MORE food or “junkier” food but you’re still gaining weight. Is this even possible?
The answer is Yes! You are NOT crazy (not about this anyway)!
And here’s why.
We both know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic view of weight and doesn’t ever tell the whole story. And in my opinion, what sometimes causes people to fail at their desire to lose weight or change their body composition is becoming fixated on the ‘calories in, calories out’ adage without taking into consideration the other factors that play a role in weight loss and health.
There’s definitely more to the story than just what you’re eating.
A lot of this comes down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat (read more about that here).
But, today, let’s go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious but crucially important, underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you’re eating the same.
Let’s start with aging.
Funny things happen the older we get. We get older (hee hee) (my husband thought this was a terrible joke but I’m still laughing). People also commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, as well as general aches and pains (boo).
Aging can also result in hormonal changes for both men and women. And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies. All this means more weight gain…and maybe in places it wasn’t before.
The good thing is that this is very common and steps can be taken to help slow down/reverse the process.
Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and can be a massive contributor to your weight gain. There are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.
When your thyroid gets off course and produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. And when your metabolism slows down you can gain weight. Even though you’re eating the same way you always have (read more about that here).
Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested.
What about sleep?
There is plenty (TONS) of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.
And as we age, it can become harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep. More outside influences, more use of stimulants (coffee, sugar) and more stress.
The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain (you probably know how I struggle with sleep…but if not, learn why here).
It’s true! Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain. Soooooo, it’s important to take the time for a proper amount of sleep to help keep the weight off. Think of it as sleeping off your weight!
Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. The first place to start is by implementing a calming before bedtime routine.
Its everywhere and at times, it can be overwhelming! Coupled with the fact that there isn’t just one thing that can cause a stress responses in your body, it can be difficult to maintain your weight when you are being bombarded by long bouts of heightened stress.
And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, so what are you to do?
While you can’t necessarily change your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them. And it’s understanding what stressors cause you a response and determining how best to manage those. I tend to hold stress in my stomach and neck/shoulders so I like to move ‘my energy’ by standing with my feet shoulder width apart, thrusting/tilting my pelvis forward while also audibly ‘ahhhh-ing’. It looks funny and writes even funnier but it works. Helps me reduce that tension and literally push it up and out of my body. Try it and let me know what you think! (my kids laugh and ask me my why I’m twerking)….
Pro Tip: Try meditation or yoga. Or even mindful eating. Or those new adult colouring books that are all the rage now. Or if you find you need something more physical besides weight training, consider trampolining. SO MUCH FUN!
There are lots of factors that can affect your weight – aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to weight gain, even if you’re eating the same way you always have. The key is supporting your hormones to allow them to work optimally, finding balance where you can, and taking time for restful, rejuvenating sleep.
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Recipe (Thyroid friendly iodine): Seaweed Sushi Bowl
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 avocado (thinly sliced)
- ½ cucumber (diced)
- ½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
- 1 green onion (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons dried seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ garlic clove
- dash salt and pepper
- Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing.
- Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls.
Serve & Enjoy!
Tip: This is a great lunch to take on the go. Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.