Trying to lose weight? Here’s 3 reasons why you might be gaining it instead
If you’ve committed to getting healthier by shedding a few pounds through a good diet and exercise routine, you might be stumped as to why the numbers on the scales are going in the opposite direction.
If you’ve gained some weight instead of losing it and you feel like you’re doing everything right, here are 3 very common reasons why (and why you shouldn’t worry too much!)
1. You’ve lost fat and gained muscle
Muscle tissue is more dense than fat tissue, which means as you gain more muscle and lose fat, you can end up weighing more but having a smaller figure and overall better health. This is why it’s so important to not base your progress on the number on the scales alone. Those with very high body fat who have a lot of weight to lose will see the numbers go down. However, for others, it’s a bit more complicated. Take before and after pictures and get the tape measure out to measure your progress.
The number may not be moving on the scales but your waistline may be slimmer and your whole body composition could change.
2. You’re stressing your body too much
We tend to think “the more I exercise I do, the more weight I’ll lose” which isn’t wrong. However, when you boil it down, exercise is a form of stress on the body, albeit a positive stress. But too much exercise can lead to too much stress which can lead to the opposite result you’re after! Increased stress can lead to your body making more cortisol – a hormone linked to weight gain. And if your body is stressed you won’t be getting a restful night’s sleep which is key to maintaining a healthy weight. And who feels like eating well and exercising when they’re tired, stressed and grumpy?
Specifically, doing too much high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can over stress your system. You can still incorporate it into your exercise regime because it’s good for improving fitness and losing body fat, but make it part of a wider more varied regime.
You can also stress your body too much by not giving it proper rest days. Recovery and rest days are so important for allowing your body to mend itself and bounce back stronger and more resilient than ever. Short-changing your body (and mind!) out of quality rest days can lead to injury, hormone imbalance and just general fatigue.
3. You’re not tracking calories properly
You might think that you’re eating all the right foods, swapping pizza for hummus and pitta bread, and ditching chocolate in favour of fruit. But if you’re consistently eating more calories than you’ve burned you aren’t going to be losing weight.
Additionally, when you start an intense workout regime, it’s all too easy to think “Well I did a 5km run today so I can eat what I want.” But this can be dangerous as you’ll find you overcompensate and end up eating back way more calories than you burned through exercise..
By tracking what you’re eating each day you can compare it to how many calories you’ve burned to ensure you’re in a healthy deficit. Using an app such as My Fitness Pal can be a really easy way to accurately track what you’re eating and you can sync it with your activity tracker to compare calories in and calories out!
When you first start your weight loss journey, you might find it helpful to try weight loss meal plans that are prepared for you to a specific calorie goal. Then you know how much you’re eating every day without the hassle of shopping and cooking your meals yourself.