You are positive that you’re not eating more food or “junkier” food but you’re still gaining weight.

Is this possible?

Yes! And here’s why.

If you eat too many calories for your metabolic rate, you’ll gain weight. 

If you’ve gotten fatter even though you haven’t changed the way you’ve always eaten, your metabolic rate has probably dropped. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including chronic dieting. So if you want to lose weight, you now need to consume fewer calories than before OR do things to increase your metabolic rate.

Stick with me for this next bit, because we’re going to go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice to losing weight. Let’s examine some of the less obvious reasons why your metabolism might not be like it used to and what you can do about that.

Things like:

  • Aging
  • Hormones
  • Sleep
  • Stress
Aging

Funny things happen the older we get. People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, loss of muscle mass (your metabolic engine), loss of bone density, as well as aches and pains. While it’s tempting to blame this on “getting older”, these complaints are usually the result of lifestyle factors and hormonal changes.

One of the best anti-aging “pills” is exercise. Exercise benefits our skin, mood, energy levels, quality of sleep, hormones, muscle mass, metabolism, bone density, and body composition.

Aging can also result in hormonal changes in both men and women: testosterone drops, as do other important hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. A drop in testosterone can contribute to a loss of energy and lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies (especially fat in the abdominal area). The good news is that it’s possible to improve your hormones through nutrition and exercise, as well as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy if desired.

Pro Tip: Strength training with heavy weights, especially squats and deadlifts, is known to increase growth hormone and testosterone in both men and women, which can increase lean muscle and reduce body fat. In fact, strength training and dieting are more effective at reducing visceral fat than diet alone. You are never too old to start lifting.

Hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and can be a massive contributor to your weight gain. There are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.

When your thyroid gets off course and produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. And when your metabolism slows down you can gain weight, even though you’re eating the same way you always have.

Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid and hormones tested. Your hormones are interconnected and reliant upon certain vitamins, so it’s best to get complete bloodwork done.

Sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.

And as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep.

The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain.

It’s true!  Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain.

Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. The first place to start is by implementing a calming pre-bedtime routine.

Stress

It seems to be everywhere!  Stress greatly impacts one’s health; too much of it speeds up the aging process and leaves us feeling fatigued and demotivated. Not only is stress correlated with weight gain and the inability to lose weight, it is also linked to a wide variety of diseases.

While you can’t necessarily change your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them.

Pro Tip:  Go for a walk outside every day. Try meditation or yoga. Take 2 deep breaths. Say no more often and learn to set boundaries. Feeling chronically overwhelmed is a choice.

Conclusion:

There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you’re eating the same way you always have. Aging, hormones, sleep, and stress are all interconnected and can all contribute to weight gain. If you don’t want to get fatter, you need to eat differently than you used to, and/or address some of these factors.

Bottom line: If you want to stay lean, strong, and healthy, with a metabolism that is firing on all cylinders, you need to look at more than the food on your plate.

Recipe Photo: Seaweed Sushi Bowl
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Recipe (Thyroid friendly iodine): Seaweed Sushi Bowl

Serves 2

1 cup cooked rice
1 avocado (thinly sliced)
½ cucumber (diced)
½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
1 green onion (chopped)
8 oz. salmon (lox or cooked fillet) or 8 oz. sliced cooked BBQ chicken breast
2 tablespoons dried seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)

Dressing:
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ garlic clove
dash salt and pepper

Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing.
Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip: This is a great lunch to take on the go. Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss

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