Been mysteriously gaining weight recently but not sure why? Well, guess what: It might not be due to your diet or exercise routine. Research shows that the weight phantom can strike for reasons that may never have crossed your mind.
Read on to discover five possibilities why you’ve been putting on the pounds - you’ll be surprised at the sneaky ways flab can attack.
1. You’re in love...or out of it
He might be the one — the one causing you to put on a few extra pounds, that is. It’s not surprising that being in a relationship can cause weight gain, given that favourite pastimes amongst couples include watching TV together and eating in or out. What’s shocking is that it’s easier for women in a relationship to gain weight, since we tend to match our partner’s male-sized portions.
Alternatively, if your relationship has been on the rocks lately, that could be a cause too. Hostility and heated arguments between couples have been linked to a greater production of hunger hormones, which leads to binge-eating and poor dining choices.
What to do: Nope, you won’t have to break up with your other half. Plan fun outdoor activities with #bae, like cycling at the park or joining a fun-run (for example, the Spartan Race). Food-wise, make whipping up healthy meals something both of you can do together - and be mindful of your portions. Not only will these beat the flab, they make great bonding opportunities that will strengthen your relationship too.
2. You sleep and wake up at different times every day
The lack of sleep is a big cause of weight gain - it makes you to want to eat more often, and decreases willpower so you can’t quieten down that craving for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. If you think compensating for sleep deprivation over the weekend will help, think again. Erratic sleep schedules confuse your metabolism (the way jetlag does), thus promoting weight gain.
What to do: Set up a sleep schedule and stick to it. Yes, even during the weekends. It will be hard, but once you cultivate the habit over a few weeks, your body will regulate itself to its new bed time. A good 7 to 8 hours of sleep everyday isn’t just great for weight management, it’s also beneficial to your overall health and immunity.
3. You were born after the ’70s
We’re not kidding. A study published in the Obesity Research & Clinic journal found that it’s harder for people now to maintain a certain weight than people 20 to 30 years ago, even with the same amount of exercise and caloric intake. This might be due to greater exposure to hormonal-altering chemicals, a more widespread use of prescription drugs and changes in the microbiomes in our stomach.
What to do: Unless you have a time machine, there’s not much you can do to change this. But don’t give up on a healthy diet and exercise. Just because it’s harder to keep weight down doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
4. You drink diet soda
Many of us turn to diet soda believing that artificial sweeteners are better for our health and weight compared to regular sugar, but this may actually backfire. Artificially sweetened beverages affect our brain in a way that, when consumed regularly, cause us to crave even more sugary foods and drinks.
What to do: Skip fizzy drinks entirely, whether they’re sweetened with artificial sugar or otherwise. When you’re thirsty, reach for tea, fruit juice, or - the best option - water. If you must have a soda, keep it to special occasions like the coming holidays, instead of daily or weekly.
5. You tend to multi-task
So many things to do, so little time. It’s almost impossible now to get through a day without doing two or three things at once. The thing about multi-tasking is it tires your brain out, causing a decrease in concentration, productivity and self-control. As a result, you can’t stop yourself from overeating or chowing down on that chocolate bar. Being distracted while having your meals has the same effect too.
What to do: Train yourself to focus on doing just one thing at a time. Practice mindfulness while eating and think about your food, how it tastes and smells etc. This helps your brain register and remember the fact that you’ve eaten, so you’ll feel full faster and for longer, leading to a decrease in caloric intake.
For more on lifestyle, click here. Or check out Are You Taking Your Supplements Correctly? or These Food Delivery Services Are Better Than A Boyfriend.