8 Shocking Things That Could Be Causing Weight Gain

Nov 11 2016
If you're putting on extra pounds or your weight loss has stalled, but you can't figure out why, we've got the 411. Read up on some surprising factors that could be sabotaging your weight goals!

Lack of Sleep

You may have learned the hard way that when you skimp on sleep, you're more likely to make poor food choices the next day. But studies have found that it goes way beyond that -- research shows that people who get more sleep weigh less than short sleepers. You might think you can easily run on five hours a night, but data suggests you're at a higher risk of becoming obese. Make sleep a priority, and start winding down earlier in the evening. More advice here!

Sitting for Too Long

One of the buzziest health topics is that "sitting is the new smoking" when it comes to negative health effects. That's particularly rough for those of us with jobs that keep us deskbound. All kinds of studies come down on prolonged periods of sitting for weight gain and more... so get on up! Take little breaks here and there, so you aren't in one spot for hours. Drinking lots of water is a good trick: You have to keep getting up for refills and bathroom trips. And if your job involves sitting all day, prioritize physical activity outside of work. Here's a slew of activity-boosting tricks to sneak into your daily life!


It's a harsh reality that stress can make us put on weight. Chronic stress can actually boost your hunger! But giving yourself some down time to clear your head, even if it's just a few minutes here and there, has proven beneficial to weight-loss efforts. This is like the sleep issue; it might seem like something you just don't have time for, but it's in your best interest to find room in your schedule. Deep breaths...

Overcompensating for Exercise

You exercise all the time, so why aren't you losing weight? Alas, with great calorie burning comes great appetite. You very well might be eating more calories than you're burning. Solution? Track exactly what you eat, and see how it balances out with your estimated calorie burn based on your BMR (your resting calorie-burning rate). My Fitness Pal has a great free program that lets you track your food and exercise. You might find the culprit lurking there...

Your Friends & Family

We're not saying your social circle is deliberately sabotaging you, but studies have found that the people closest to you have an impact on how you eat, since we tend to mirror their behavior. If your pals always order dessert, it's unlikely you'll be the lone holdout. If you're at a big family dinner and everyone is indulging, chances are, you will too. Keep this in mind, and be true to yourself. Don't be afraid to be the odd man (or woman) out.

Drinking Your Calories

This one is so sneaky! Calories from beverages really add up over the course of a day. Say you drink coffee with sugar and a generous pour of 2% milk in the morning. You have a regular soda in the afternoon to get through that mid-day slump. A couple glasses of wine with dinner, and voila -- you've added over 400 calories to your day. Sip carefully, and keep track of drinks in addition to food.

Underestimating Calories at Restaurants

No way around it: Dining out frequently will increase your chances of putting on weight. You might always go for salads, but those are often surprisingly high in calories. You might be ordering healthy items, but the restaurant portions are typically huge. And even if the nutritional info is provided, those numbers aren't exact. So if you're struggling with your weight, you might want to reduce your restaurant trips and see if that helps!

Your Significant Other

Putting on "love weight" is a thing, especially for women. One of the biggest culprits is simply eating the same stuff as your sweetie. If you're a 5'3" woman, your body doesn't burn as many calories as that of your 5'11" partner. Also, people who are dating tend to dine out more, and we already know the toll that can take. Add in a weekly Netflix marathon (so much sitting!) and staying up late (losing sleep much?), and it's no wonder how all the little traps can add up. The best solution here is to stay mindful and be in it together! You've got a co-pilot, so don't go on autopilot.

Chew on this:

It's National Sundae Day, November 11th. Make your own low-fat peanut-butter topping with powdered peanut butter, like in this PB Crunch Sundae!

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