We can all agree that if we follow an unhealthy diet consisting of huge portions of fried foods, high calorie sugary desserts, with soft drinks and alcoholic beverages we’re going to gain weight. We’ll get fat. It’s just the math. If you consume more calories than you use up in physical activity the weight just piles on. But when you do exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet watching your calories, how is it then that you still put on the pounds? This is just crazy because the “rules” say this won’t happen, yet the numbers on your scale tell you otherwise.
There are a number of things to look at if you really are watching your calories yet still gaining weight while exercising on a regular basis. It’s probably a few factors working in concert that are causing the weight gain. Maintaining or even losing weight can be complicated as there are a lot of different things that can affect your success. It’s never just one thing it is usually a combination of factors that influence this.
Be Aware of the Factors That Can Influence Your Weight
1. Being under Stress Can Cause Weight Gain
The demands of society these days can be very stressful. We are being pushed beyond our limits day in and day out. Stress can act as a motivator and help us cope but there is no doubt that too much stress will affect our state of mind and our emotional well-being.
When we respond to stress by taking on too many responsibilities, juggling way too much due to financial demands or by using our “fight-or-flight” response we will trigger a biochemical reaction. Our body will move into survival mode by slowing down its metabolism, storing fuel and producing chemicals like cortisol, leptin and a number of other hormones. All of this can cause obesity, especially in the abdomen.
To help cope with stress many open the refrigerator. But eating is only a temporary fix as it doesn’t relieve the cause of the stress. This must be taken care of so the impulse to eat when you’re not hungry is reduced and the real stressor is addressed and dealt with.
The assistant director at UCLA’s Center for Human Nutrition, Susan Bowerman, MS, RD claims that stress eaters grab foods that are high in carbohydrates. They do this because carbohydrates increase serotonin, a chemical in the brain that tends to calm people down. This is a form of self-medication she adds, and that people who binge on starches are just making themselves feel better.
The solution is to exercise more and practice some relaxation techniques. You’ll burn calories and reap other benefits for your health.
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