Shocking Reasons Why You May Be Gaining Weight
By Ronayne Herbert, RNP
Eating out, eating in and eating more has become huge in the last few years—and so have most Americans. In fact, Americans have gained 24 pounds on average in the last 30 years or so. While there are many reasons why we are packing on the pounds, they aren’t limited to eating too much or not exercising enough. Here are a few surprising reasons why you may be gaining weight.
Sweetners – even if you don’t eat or use sugar, sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners have been shown in some studies to make you hungry and add excess belly fat. Take home message: drink water to stay hydrated and feel fuller.
Salads – while salads may be a good choice if you stick to the various types of lettuce, cabbage, kale, bok choy and add other non-starchy veggies and use salad dressing like olive oil and flavored vinegar… they can also pose a weight gain danger. Salads full of cheese, nuts, thick creamy dressings may be higher in calories than a fast food burger and fries. Take home message: find out the calories in some of your current salad indulgences and return to salads filled with a variety of non-starchy veggies and lean protein.
Stress – emotions can be harmful to your health in many ways. Stress often causes overeating also known as emotional eating. Rewarding ourselves with food when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed or anxious only adds to our problems. Take home message: find a healthier stress-buster like get up and move!
Snacks – even healthy snacks can pack on the pounds if you aren’t careful. Nuts and other protein rich snacks are fine if used sparingly. More than a handful will crank up the calories. Take home message: check calorie count of your snack and then pre-package them in plastic bags so that when you reach for a snack you will know what you are eating.
Sleep – studies have shown that people who miss even an hour of their normal sleep tend to gain weight. Metabolism is positively affected by sleep. So if you don’t get enough, not only will you be tired and sluggish but your metabolism may be sluggish also. Take home message: develop a sleep routine and stick to it. Sleep in a dark quiet room without TV or phones and wake up at the same time daily.
Bring on some new habits and reassess your weight. With just a few new ideas, you may be on your way to a healthier weight.