Monday, February 22, 2010

9 Hidden Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight

You Need a Nap
Working hard at weight loss without results? Check out these hidden reasons why you might be struggling in our diet expert Dr. Madelyn Fernstrom’s new book, "The Real You Diet".
Many people eat for energy when they feel fatigued. Being tired leads to lack of mental focus and to “not caring” about a lifestyle plan. People rely on between-meal snacking to wake up, when a power nap is really what’s needed.
You're Confusing Healthy with Low-Calorie
While a first step for healthy eating is to stick with heart-healthy plant fats (like olive oil), all fats -- healthy or not -- still have the same amount of calories: about 120 per tablespoon. Heart-healthy nuts can be a great snack, but choose portion controlled servings since just a small handful has 100 calories.
You're on Medication
If you’ve started a new medication and feel as though your weight is creeping up, you could be right. Some medications can slow your body’s metabolism and/or stimulate appetite. These include some antidepressants and mood stabilizers, antihistamines, insulin and anti-inflammatory drugs. Check with your doctor to determine whether you can consider switching medication to avoid the side effect of unwanted weight gain.
You've Got an Undiagnosed Medical Illness
Some medical illnesses are “silent," and can strongly contribute to problems losing weight. Issues with your thyroid (your body’s furnace), elevated blood insulin levels (even without the high blood sugar of diabetes), and mood disorders (depression and anxiety) can all be barriers to successful weight loss. Check with your doctor, and ask for some blood work to be done to help determine if there's a problem.
You Need Help with Stress Management
Mindless eating comes from a lack of focus and poor coping skills with the stressors in our lives. We eat to soothe and reward ourselves, which is only a short-term fix. It’s important to find ways to replace food as a tool to manage stress.
You're Skipping Meals
Whether you’re trying to save time, money or calories, meal-skipping is a big barrier to long-term weight loss. When we skip a meal, biology kicks in and makes us over hungry for the next meal. That’s why meal-skippers overeat later in the day.
You've Got Portion Distortion
Even food professionals can’t eyeball correct calories in a serving. Studies show we’re all at least 50 percent below our best estimates. Downsize your portions by using smaller plates and utensils, and be sure to read package serving sizes.
You're Exercising Too Much
Rigorous exercise actually stimulates hunger, the body’s response to refuel for metabolic balance. It’s hard-wiring from cavewoman times, and it’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking our bodies need hundreds of extra calories to refuel.
You're Overestimating How Much You Burn
We tend to overestimate the calories burned for exercise. It’s easy to think we’ve burned thousands of calories when we’re sweaty. It’s not only duration, but intensity of exercise that counts. Thinking we’ve burned enough calories to compensate for extra food is an easy excuse to overeat.

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