Diana Kelly Levey

Rebound from Weight Gain

couple eating at restaurant, gaining weight distracted eating.

March 5, 2018 | Categories:

You were diligently counting macros, tracking every workout, drinking water, and quickly shedding pounds until—something happened. You stopped losing weight. The scale crept up by half a pound, then one pound, two pounds, and now you’re up five pounds and you don’t know how it happened.

First, take a breath. Second, have a reality check. It’s just weight gain, not a terminal illness. Get perspective and take a different approach to learn why you gained weight in order to start shedding fat and inches again.

To help you through the process, we talked to Caroline Apovian, M.D., President of The Obesity Society, Director of Nutrition and Weight Management at The Boston Medical Center, and Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Here are their top tips to reverse weight gain and start reaching your goals again.


Cut the carbs.

Okay, you knew we were going to say that, right? That’s because it works.

“Focus more on protein intake and reducing the carbohydrates and fats, while increasing your intake of protein and vegetables,” said Dr. Apovian. We’re not saying you need to follow a low-carb diet. Simply track your carbs and make sure your macros are balanced. If you think your meal plan is carb-heavy and you could add in more veggies and protein—try it for a week or two and see if that impacts the scale.

Prioritize sleep.

We know that’s easier said than done, but it’s more important to your weight, health, and waistline than you might think. If your weight started to creep up around the time that you began binge-watching a new show late at night, or, if you started waking up ridiculously early to squeeze in a hardcore workout, your body might be fighting you in the battle of weight loss. Here’s how your eating habits impact your sleep.

“If my clients aren’t losing weight and are experiencing gains, I look at their entire lives and ask how they’re sleeping,” said Davis. There’s been a ton of research in the past 10 years linking a lack of sleep to weight gain, particularly due to hormone changes, she said. “When you’re in a sleep deficit, your levels of ghrelin will be higher, which is the hormone that makes you feel hungrier,” said Davis. So even if you woke up to exercise, your body might be primed for hunger the rest of the day. (Do this in bed to fall asleep faster.)

“Some of my clients think it’s better to sacrifice sleep they need by getting up an hour earlier to get to the gym—no realizing that this is sabotaging their goals,” Davis said.

“Getting at least seven to eight hours a night is very important,” said Dr. Apovian. “It’s better to sleep than to get up early and exercise if you haven’t had enough sleep. It’s so important [for your health] to get those eight hours.”

Remember, you don’t need to do an hour of exercise in the morning if that’s the only time you think you can fit it in. Break it down into 15- to 20-minute mini bursts of exercise throughout the day. You’ll spike energy after these workouts and you’ll get to sleep in a bit more so it’s a win-win for your body.

Eliminate distractions while eating.

“I encourage my nutrition clients to focus on mindful eating and intuitive eating,” said Davis. “Don’t eat when you’re distracted. If you have the TV on, [or are eating lunch at your desk while reading this] you’re not clued into your [hunger cues], and the triggers that cause you to [overeat],” she said.

Research also supports that claim that using mindful eating techniques may help with weight loss, because you may be less likely to overeat when you realize you’re full.

Try eating without the distraction of a TV, book, newspaper, your phone, or computer for one meal, then a full day of meals, and then a week of practicing this technique. You may find that you’re fuller sooner than you think and you’ve just effortlessly kick-started weight loss again! Learn how to practice mindful eating techniques.

Increase your training intensity.

Chances are, unless you’ve been following a progressive training routine then your workouts may have become, well, too routine (read: easy) for your body and you’re not changing. “Intensify your resistance exercise, either by adding a day, or increasing the weight, or increasing the reps,” suggested Dr. Apovian. High intensity exercise has been shown to reduce body fat, so even if your weight remains status quo, you’ll lose inches and dress sizes

Read the full article on MuscleandFitness.com.

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