Sometimes, no matter how well you eat and how many minutes of exercise you log, those pounds can creep on—or refuse to budge. While this can cause untold frustration, there may be other factors beyond your diet and physical activity that are working against your efforts. Read on for four potential culprits for why you could be gaining weight, along with advice for dealing with them.
1. Your Job
From too many hours spent sitting, to vending machines overflowing with less-than-stellar food choices, to meetings filled with delectable snacks, your workplace can actually be working against your weight loss goals. But did you know that even your co-workers may contribute to weight gain? A recent study found that if your co-workers are overweight, you are more likely to be overweight, too.1 The connection stems from peer influence, but the study also showed positive influence as well– so if your cubemate usually opts for veggies over the office candy bowl, you may be inclined to follow his or her lead.
- Aim to get up from your desk and walk around once an hour, even if only to use the bathroom or to get some water.
- Stand up and move your body for a few minutes every 30 minutes or so. Stretch your arms and neck or raise your knees up toward your chest. Another bonus? Movement is also good for relieving stiffness.
- Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator when the opportunity arises.
- Bring your lunch, along with healthy snacks as often as possible. If your co-workers love to go out to lunch often, don’t feel bad for declining. When you do want to join them, do your research and pick out a healthier option beforehand.
- Consider following a structured weight loss program like Jenny Craig. You won’t need to worry about meal prep—all you have to do is grab some fruit, yogurt and vegetables to accompany your meals before you head out the door in the morning. Even better, research2 shows that people who eat pre-made, portion-controlled meals lose more weight than those using a standard, self-selected diet.
2. Your Living Environment
Long commute times. Lack of access to exercise facilities and outdoor activities. Inability to bike or walk to work, or to public transit. Inclement weather. All of these scenarios may affect your weight-loss efforts.
Don’t have the luxury of moving to an area that is more conducive to a healthy, active lifestyle? There are still ways to make your environment amenable to getting more exercise.
- Research3 has found that every extra hour you spend in a car per day is linked to a 6 percent greater risk of being overweight. So if there is any way you can reduce that amount of time, whether by working altered hours to avoid sitting in traffic, or by working from home a few days a week, try to do so.
- If public transit is available and you can walk or bike to the station, give it a try!
- If weather makes outdoor exercise difficult, try joining a gym or walking at a local mall.
3. Skipping Breakfast
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that regularly skipping breakfast not only puts you at higher risk for gaining weight, but for putting on dangerous belly fat.4 In fact, they found that people who ate breakfast only one to four times per week gained an average 5 pounds over the course of a year and those who skipped breakfast altogether averaged an 8-pound gain. So if you're wondering, "Why am I gaining weight on a diet?" you might want to take a look at your breakfast habits.
- Get in the habit of eating breakfast every day, even if that means bringing it with you to the office. Stash oatmeal or nuts (pre-portioned in small quantities) at your desk for easy options if you forget.
- Research shows that consuming the majority of your calories earlier in the day may help accelerate weight loss.5
You’ve probably heard (or noticed) that stress can lead to overeating. But research6 has also found that it may cause you to store excess fat, and that it increases the risk of becoming overweight.
- Try yoga, meditation or tai-chi. Also, give mindfulness exercises a shot.
- Do your best to get outside and walk. Not only is it good for your waistline, but doing just 15 minutes of “relaxation exercise” outdoors, such as walking in a park, can reduce your stress level.7
It can be frustrating to work so hard to lose weight, only to see the numbers on the scale refuse to budge—or, worse, to see them creep up. Take comfort in knowing that there may be outside factors that are making your weight loss journey more difficult, but that there are ways to counteract them. So pat yourself on the back for all of your hard work—and know that even if it is taking you longer than you would like to shed the weight, you are still getting healthier and doing the right thing for your body.
If you’re interested in learning more about a structured weight loss program like Jenny Craig that can help you achieve your goals, contact us for your free appointment to get started today.