What causes weight gain? (and it can be more than eating)
It can be incredibly frustrating when the number on your scale doesn't reflect your healthy lifestyle. While weight gain can definitely be caused by eating more calories than you are burning off, there are a number of other factors that may be coming into play. Eating a balanced diet is a key component of women's nutrition, so read on to find out what other elements could be derailing your efforts to maintain a healthy weight.
Drinking enough water is crucial to your weight maintenance efforts. When your body is properly hydrated, it is much easier for your digestive system to process the nutrients you are eating and get them to where they need to be in your body. On the contrary, not drinking enough water can cause your body to retain excess water from the foods you eat, resulting in a higher weight. Not only that but being dehydrated can also trick your body into thinking it is hungry, even when it is really just thirsty, resulting in you eating more than you would if you were properly hydrated.
Low levels of magnesium, iron, and vitamin D can wreak havoc on your metabolism, making it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. You can get more magnesium in your diet by eating almonds, iron from red meat and spinach, and vitamin D from fortified milk and just going out in the sun for 5-10 minutes. If you follow proper women's nutrition and still have a deficiency of these nutrients, you may wish to speak with your doctor about the possibility of taking a supplement.
Lack of Sleep
Not getting enough sleep doesn't just make you feel sluggish and tired throughout the day. It can also contribute to weight gain. First of all, a lack of sleep messes with your body's natural hormones, which can affect your metabolism and ability to process food efficiently. It also makes it more difficult for you to pick up on the hunger and satiety signals your body is sending you. In addition, staying up late often contributes to snacking, resulting in you eating too many calories compared to what you are burning off.
Side Effects of Medications
It is possible that medications or supplements you are taking could be causing your weight to increase. Check with your doctor if weight gain is a possible side effect of any of your medications. Your doctor may be able to recommend an alternative that would not lead to weight gain. Always check with your doctor before stopping or switching any medication.
If you are following proper women's nutrition, are getting plenty of exercise, and can't find any other reason for unexpected weight gain, it is possible that a medical factor could be at play. Conditions like Cushing's Syndrome, excess cortisol or hypothyroidism can all contribute to weight gain, even if you are following an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Schedule regular appointments with your doctor to check for these and any other possible causes of weight gain. Your doctor can advise you on which tests may be necessary.