You might be tempted to blame your grandma or your aunt sally for your body shape but genetics alone are not reason enough to attribute weight gain & simply live with unhealthy extra fat on your body.
Before we take a look at why weight gain might be a problem for you, let’s take a quick look at whether or not your weight is really an issue. Determining your BMI (Body Mass Index) is a beneficial tool to figure out if your weight is over a healthy range. Whether or not you can fit in a certain size or you have a few extra bulges here & there is NOT a way to determine if your weight is healthy.
For women, there are a lot of different life phases that can determine weight. Ups & downs due to hormones, happen not only monthly, but also over a lifetime. A woman who is 55 cannot expect to look the same as a woman, who is 25, even if the two are built relatively similar, eat the same type of foods & exercise the same way.
As women we have got to be understanding of what our bodies will look like & age like in certain phases of life. Some of the healthiest, most beautiful women I know, don’t look like what the world says they should. They may not wear the size of clothes that is expected or have perky parts of their bodies but they are healthy overall & that is more important than their actual weight.
Ok, there’s my sermon for today so now on to weight gain.
If you feel like you are living the same lifestyle as always (i.e., eating the same foods, exercising the same way, etc.) but you are still gaining weight, then one of these issues may be to blame:
Chronic Stress – When you are under chronic stress, your body produces more cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that causes your body to store fat. More stored fat, means weight gain & changes to the shape of your body. Have you noticed an extra bump in your midsection? It could likely be linked to fat storage caused by cortisol.
Lack of Sleep – Sleeping is crucial to allowing your body to heal & produce hormones that help all of your organs & your brain function normally. Better functioning organs & brain, leads to better food & health decisions overall, plus scientifically leads to a healthier weight.
Carb Overload – Carbs are not bad for you. However, they must be the right type of carbs & in the right amounts to help maintain weight or encourage weight loss. (Check out How Many Carbs Do I Really Need Each Day) All carbs turn into glucose in the body, but the way your body processes them & where it sends them to be used or stored is crucial. Time & time again, I have watched people at a breakfast buffet fill their plate with 2 fruits & a slice of “whole grain” toast thinking they are being healthy. Unfortunately their entire meal is made up of carbs. Too many for one setting (unless they are going out to run a marathon), so their body has to take the excess & store it as fat. It has no choice. Overloading on carbs (or sugar) causes things like insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes & heart disease, but most definitely leads to excess stores of fat.
So what can you do?
First, figure out a way to de-stress. Try yoga, meditation, prayer, or a hot bath. Incorporate deep breathing into your daily routine. Cutting stress is crucial for long-term health.
Second, make sure to get enough sleep. Don’t fall prey to the lie that you can’t fit in extra sleep. If you evaluate your day, I guarantee you can find 15-30 minutes of wasted time that could be put to use in the evening to crawl into bed earlier. Start by getting in bed just 5 minutes earlier & increase by 5-minute increments each week until you reach an optimal amount of sleep for your body.
Last, be cautious with the carbs. Evaluate your activity levels, energy & how well your metabolic function works to process the carbs you eat. Most people only need to add in one whole food carb per meal. This looks like sweet potatoes, berries or even broccoli. Replace your morning bagel with berries, your lunchtime sandwich with a lettuce wrap & your dinner pasta with a sweet potato. Small changes will make a huge difference!