The good news is that you’ve decided to focus on your weight by putting more emphasis on your diet and the things you put in your body. The bad news is that all of a sudden, you’re noticing the scale starting to creep back up. What gives? You were doing so well and now out of nowhere, you’re gaining weight.
Here are some of the very common reasons why you’re gaining weight while on a diet. Make corrections and you’ll start seeing the number on the scale start dropping again.
1. You’re in a caloric surplus without knowing it
I always like the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” When it comes to trying to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit. Yet, when you ask people how many calories they are consuming on their diet, they have no idea. So, exactly how do you know you’re in a deficit? You don’t. In order to make sure you are not in a surplus, you should be tracking your calories.
Using a tool (app) such as MyFitnessPal is quick, simple, and convenient. Simply plug in the food you eat and it will provide you with information on your calories and macros to ensure you are in a deficit. You can also log your weight and it will chart it for you and show how you’re progressing over time. Gaining weight on a diet should never happen as it’s a numbers game. Hit your numbers and you should see the results you desire.
2. You’re skipping workouts
Another reason I see many people gaining weight while on a diet or when they stop dieting is that they stop exercising with intensity or stop exercising completely. There are no off days in the grand scheme of things. Just because you lost the weight doesn’t mean you can stop working out. If you’re trying to lose weight or manage the weight you’re currently at, you need to be focused on your nutrition and workouts every day – especially nutrition.
But the great thing about the workouts is that when you build muscle, it helps keep your metabolism revving and burning calories – even while at rest! You should never be skipping workouts if you’re trying to lose weight. And cardio alone isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to want to tighten everything up by including weight training as part of your weight loss strategy.
3. You’re following a fad diet
There is no quick fix with losing weight. Sure, you could lose weight on some type of fat burner and fad diet, but if it’s not something you can adhere to as a lifestyle, you’re eventually going to start gaining weight back. These diets that have you cut out complete macronutrients are insane and not sustainable. They may be able to pull water out of your body to see the scale drop temporarily, but in the long-term, they are not a viable option for weight loss success.
The best thing to do is track your macros as mentioned in #1, cut out the junk you’ve been eating on a daily basis, and focus on good, clean, healthy food options.
4. You’re using the same workout for months
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. If you do the same workouts every week without changing anything, it’s going to drive you insane. Why? Because not only is it going to be extremely boring, but you’re also going to eventually stop seeing results because your body will become acclimated to the stress you’re putting it under by utilizing the same workouts. Change it up! You don’t need to start gaining weight in order to realize your workouts are stagnant. Push yourself every week in the gym to achieve progressive overload.
You want to challenge your muscles every workout by providing them with a different stimulus from previous workouts. This can be accomplished through different exercises, different angles, more sets, more reps, or more weight. There is no reason for you to be doing the same workouts using the same reps, sets, and weight for more than two consecutive weeks. Strive to challenge your mind and body by and push them to the limit with your workouts.
5. You’re not getting enough sleep
If you are gaining weight but feel like your nutrition and workouts are on point, an area that many people neglect is their sleep. Most simply assume if they don’t get enough sleep that they are tired and rundown the following day when in actuality, not getting proper rest can not only inhibit proper recovery from workouts but also increase stress and cortisol in the body which can cause you to start gaining weight.
You should strive to achieve a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. Anything less will start disrupting your hormone levels which in turn will activate your hunger hormone and cause you to potentially end up in a caloric surplus by the end of the day – not ideal when trying to lose weight.
Not only that, but when you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to gravitate towards energy drinks or coffee which depending on what you consume, could be full of added sugars and fat (hidden calories you weren’t aware of or counted in your daily numbers causing you to be in a surplus for the day).
Put it All Together to Stop Gaining Weight While Dieting
Take a deep dive into your day and figure out which of the above could be causing you to be gaining weight. Make the necessary changes in order to get back on track and start seeing progress with your weight loss. Nothing above is ground-breaking or some sort of secret – they simply work as long as you put in the work. There is no magic pill or top-secret weight loss diet or workout to give you results. It takes time, consistency, and dedication to achieve weight loss and keep it off for good. Remember, nothing works unless you do and by utilizing the right strategies, you will move closer to your weight loss goal.