You’re doing everything you’re “supposed” to — eating a lot of produce, exercising, sleeping well. But, it seems like the scale is not on your side anyway. Unfortunately, some of your best intentions regarding your health have potential to help you pack on pounds. There are some steps you can take to make sure your healthy habits are going to help shed weight. The following are some responsible, health conscious steps you might be taking that aren’t helping you lose weight.
You exercise regularly
How is it that you’re exercising so much and still gaining weight? Cortisol levels are raised after long, strenuous exercises. When cortisol levels are kept at an elevated level, it encourages storage of fat. Interval training would be more effective for fat loss. For example, run very quickly for 30 seconds and then jog for a few minutes and allow your body to recover. Then repeat. Also, opt for water and fruit rather than sports drinks and protein bars after exercise; you’ll likely end up adding more calories than you burned with the latter.
You take medication
Many prescription meds such as anti-inflammatory steroids, antidepressants, and antihistamines carry weight gain as a side-effect. Both metabolism and hunger signals are affected by these meds. If your medication is causing you to gain weight, speak with your doctor about lowering the dose or switching medications.
You’re eating a healthy breakfast
Many people who are health conscious go to oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, which is low-fat/fat-free and low calorie. Cereals and oats spike blood sugar levels and fruits such as bananas just add carbs which makes way for more fat storage. According to a 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, low carb, high protein breakfasts can help you burn 150 or more calories each day.
You buy organic and fat-free
These are good choices, but it doesn’t mean you can eat as much or more than you normally would. Fat-free products often have more sugar. So, you’re effectively replacing one thing you don’t want for another.
You’ve cut back or you’re not eating sugar
If you’re replacing your sweet tooth needs with artificial sweeteners, you’re in for some trouble. Research shows that use of artificial sweeteners over a long time can lead to weight gain or even the development of type 2 diabetes (because it changes your gut microbes’ response to sugar. Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar and they trick the brain, making it think we’re consuming sugar. We then overeat because we’re craving more, our insulin levels are driven up and more fat is stored. It’s a terrible cycle to get into. To get your sweet fix, go for fresh fruits, especially antioxidant-packed berries.