The sneaky reasons you might be gaining weight



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Most women know that different points during the weight loss journey can be very demotivating. Even more demotivating is when, even with all the hard work and exercise, your weight loss stagnates, or even reverses. All your hard work is not going to waste, especially if you’ve made a lifestyle change for the betterment of your overall health. But sometimes there are other factors that can be bumps in the road for you: hormone imbalances, insomnia and, of course, stress. If you notice that your favorite jeans are harder to pull on, or have seen the numerical differences between one day and the next, there might be an answer for the unexpected weight gain.


1. Life has got you stressed. 

You’ve heard it before, that sneaky hormone: cortisol. In preparation and response to stressful situations (money issues, job loss, death of a relative), the body releases cortisol, which increases the appetite. The American Psychological Association reports that about 39 percent of adult Americans say they respond to stress by overeating or eating unhealthy foods. Human beings emotionally eat as a coping mechanism. By developing another coping mechanism to the inevitable stresses of life, your body can respond to stress in a healthy way. Ways to tackle stress include doing yoga, reading a novel, exercising and going out into nature. After reducing your stress, you can leave eating for when your body really needs sustenance.


2. You’re on anti-depressant medication. 

It very well may be that the anti-depressant medication you’re on is working, and therefore you’ve regained your appetite and gained healthy weight. But many medications have well-established side effects of weight gain. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center For Women’s Health states that some common antipsychotics, such as lithium, and antidepressants, such as mirtazapine (brand name Remeron), are associated with unexplained weight gain. The drugs may trigger food cravings or affect the metabolism, notes Dr. Andrew Weil on his website. If you are prescribed an anti-depressant and notice an upward fluctuation in your weight, you might talk to your doctor about switching medications or change to non-pharmacological treatments.


3. Insomnia

You’ve been hitting the gym and eating blueberries out the wazoo, yet you’re not shedding any pounds. If you don’t get the minimum of eight hours per night, your body produces less leptin, which is the hormone that tells you when you are full. Double whammy: Lacking in sleep makes your body produce more ghrelin, which is the hormone that makes you feel hungry. Indulging in a great night’s sleep will help you wake up with a pep in your step and will better equip you to make healthy choices throughout the day.


4. Your portion sizes are off.

With so much debate in the past few decades about what to eat and how much in order to stay healthy, it’s no wonder that so many people are heavy-handed with their meals. It’s just as easy to overindulge in food that is considered healthy — but overindulgence is still overindulgence. If you are always a member of the Clean Plate Club, try putting your meal on a smaller plate and seeing if your satisfaction is on par with larger-plated meals. To help keep your portions in check, view these helpful comparisons.


5. Hypothyroidism

It’s a fancy word for when your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. It can make you feel sluggish and weak, and accounts for a slower metabolism and possible unexplained weight gain — not a very good combination when trying to lose weight. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that women are more likely to develop thyroid diseases than men. Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to detect if your thyroid hormone levels are too low.


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