Has this happened to you before? You go on a rigorous diet for three months, to prepare for the summertime or perhaps just to have a better figure by losing a few pounds. And you succeed! You’ve finally achieved your ideal weight. However, after a few weeks, you find yourself gaining the weight back quickly.
Why does this happen so often to us? Have we done something wrong? We want to explain in this article some of the most common causes of weight gain, when we least expect it.
1. Skipping meals leads to weight gain
Here’s a simple example to understand why: imagine your friend wants to lose weight quickly for the summer. To do so, she begins her own regimen, which is nothing more than skipping dinner, eating very little for breakfast, and in the middle of the day snacking on everything she sees, so doesn’t eat anything when she gets home.
And suppose that each day, between 10 and 12 hours go by without eating anything, which actually puts the body into an “alert state” and it looks for energy reserves, wherever they may be found. However, when it returns to normal the opposite occurs.
Your body will quickly recover the energy reserve that was lost in order to cover this unexpected lack and in order to prevent new situations from putting our body into an alarm mode. That is to say, what our friend has achieved is not healthy. We cannot stop eating for a day nor limit ourselves to two meals a day. Our body processes this as a threat and as a consequence, our brain reacts.
2. The dangers of low-calorie diets
In this case we have the classic example of those very restrictive diets where, despite respecting the 5 meals a day, are very dangerous for our body because they are made up of a dietary and nutritional imbalance. Especially dangerous are those diets that want you to consume less than 1,200 calories per day, or those which recommend consuming almost exclusively carbohydrates or only protein.
This is something very dangerous for our health. Normally these diets are followed for a short period of time, two or three weeks, and it is common that after achieving the desired weight, the lost pounds reappear, as if by magic, once you return to eating some type of caloric food, even if just a little bit.
Take note as to why this happens:
These types of restrictive diets lower the body’s level of glycogen, so the body tends to search for this element in other places. And do you know where it is found? In our muscles, in our cartilage… It is in these areas where a certain amount of energy can be obtained, and by doing so, it releases a great quantity of water along with minerals and toxic substance resulting from their metabolism such as, for example, urea and uric acid.
When the supposed “miracle diet” ends, you have lost weight due to the consumption of glycogen stored in the liver, by having gone to the muscles and ligaments in search of energy, and by having lost water and minerals essential to the body. This deficit makes the tissues look for ways to “rehydrate” again and quickly, once you return to a normal diet, by storing up fat and calories. Thus the lost pounds return in just a short time.
3. The need to incorporate healthy habits in our diet
If a certain diet has helped you feel better, why stop it? Many times we tend to gain weight because we maintain some dietary habits that are not only wrong but also unhealthy. You already know that the consumption of fats, sweets or processed foods, can raise cholesterol levels, hypertension and other illnesses which are very dangerous for our heart.
Therefore, in order to avoid weight gain, you should incorporate this diet that has helped you before into your day to day eating habits, and this does not mean that you cannot allow yourself to eat some sweets, or a piece of cake, if you know that you will go for a walk later and can thereby burn calories.
Generally, when trying to lose weight, it is always best to consult with a nutritionist. Sometimes, it could be that some foods make us feel ill, or that some combinations of foods are not good for us. The first thing is, without a doubt, to know how to listen to and understand your body. When you come up with something that works well, that helps take care of your health and helps you to lose weight, you should always include it in your daily diet.
4. Changes in your routine
This happens often. One of the most frequent causes of weight gain is a change in habits, or something happens in our life that makes us gain weight again. Do you want some examples? Likely some of these aspects are known to you.
- You have just lost a few pounds but in your work there is a change of schedule, which means that your life habits also change, and after a short time, you gain back the weight you lost.
- You have problems with your partner.
- You begin to feel more anxiety for the problems at home, at work…
- You have lost weight for the summer but, sometimes the vacation season makes us relax, we go out more to bars, to parties… And as a consequence, we regain the weight we lost.