You are positive that you're not eating more food or “junkier” food but you're still gaining weight.
Is this possible? Yes! You are NOT crazy!
And here's why.
We both know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic view of weight. However, I will say that a calorie deficit is a way to lose weight. That is simple math.
But there is definitely more to the story than just what you're eating, right?
A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate, which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat. And dare I say it, your age.
But, let's go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice because let’s face it – we have been hearing that for years, from our doctors, our trainers, our friends, and even our moms. And for some of us, it is now our daughters sharing this sage advice!
We know better. So let’s dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you're eating the same.
Aging - nothing we can do
Funny things happen the older we get. People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, as well as aches and pains.
Aging can 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. Our bodies are made up of lean muscle mass (skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle) and body fat.
Did you know that from the age of 30, we start losing muscle mass at a rate of 3-5 percent per decade? And that, my friend, is usually replaced by fat. To easily figure out your muscle mass/fat ratio you can use the US military ”circumference value” calculator to figure out your body fat percentage or you can order a scale that will calculate it for you, every time you step on it. Easy- peasy.
Hormones – the real culprit
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.
Get your hormones tested, either by seeing an endrocinologist or getting a DUTCH (dried urine test for comprehensive hormones) test. Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that I created for you at the end of this post.
Sleep – so important!
There is plenty 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. Again, because of decreases in hormones, notably progesterone, our calming, soothing hormone. In perimenopause, we have estrogen dominance, and in full on menopause, the issue is our bodies is not producing progesterone and estrogen at all. You can get oral progesterone from your doctor to treat, as part of the bio-identical hormone regime.
The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain. It's true! Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain. Who ever thought you can sleep 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. Reach out and I will send you a great one, subject line: SLEEP
It seems to be everywhere! So many things that can cause stress responses in your body.
And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right?
While you can't necessarily change your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them.
Pro Tip: Try meditation or yoga. Or even mindful eating. I have a Mindful Eating zoom webinar coming up on February 9 at 8PM. RSVP here for the free online workshop, complete with recipes and actions you can take right away.
There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you're eating the same way you always have. 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. Which means there are some things you are going to have to adjust to see any real change in the scale. And I can help you with that, as I have done with so many others.
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.