4 Reasons You’re Gaining Weight and Don’t Know Why

It can happen suddenly or slowly over time, but when you put on a few unexpected pounds, you may find yourself scratching your head and wondering how you managed to gain weight. Unless you’ve started eating desserts after every meal or binging at buffets on a nightly basis, it can be hard to figure out where you went wrong. However, there are several things that could be behind your weight gain. Here are four of the top reasons for unexplained pounds.

1. You’re eating more calories than you think. Even if you think you’re watching what you eat, you may actually be consuming more calories than you realize. The culprit? Portion sizes. Consider this: ten years ago, the average bagel was the size of a fist. Now, a bagel can be as big as a small salad plate-nearly tripling the amount of calories in a serving size. And restaurant portions have been on the rise as well. A dinner entrée at a popular restaurant like The Cheesecake Factory can contain more calories than are recommended for a whole day’s worth of eating!

To combat it: Be conscious of portions. When eating out, ask the waiter to pack up half of your entrée before he even brings it to the table. As the saying goes . . . out of site, out of mind! You should be aware of your portion sizes at home as well. Dish up a small helping to begin with, eat slowly and see how you feel. If you’re still hungry after 20 minutes, go ahead and have seconds. But more than likely you’ll feel satiated.

2. You’re not getting enough sleep. The optimal amount of sleep is eight hours a night, every night. But if you get less, the body senses that something is off-kilter and tends to want to hold on to excess fat instead of burning it. Also, a lack of rest can trigger late-night snacking and grazing in-between meals.

To combat it: Make sure you’re getting enough rest each night. If you struggle to “turn off” at bedtime, try setting up a strict schedule when it comes to saying nighty-night. For instance, a “no television after 10:00 p.m.” rule can help you unwind and start to relax so that you can fall asleep easier. If you need to be up before the sun, start going to bed a few minutes earlier than usual each night. Soon your body will make the adjustment and you’ll be welcoming an early-to-bed, early-to-rise schedule.

3. Your schedule is packed. If you have to hit the ground running every day and don’t get a break until you fall asleep exhausted at night, you may be more likely to overeat at meals because you’re in a rush and you don’t know when you’ll have a chance to eat again.

To combat it: Pack easy-to-eat, healthy snacks to take along with you. A handful of almonds, or a low-fat granola bar are simple to carry and can save you from bingeing when the opportunity for a “real” meal arises. Just make sure you’re not snacking too often, and that you choose healthy fare instead of what’s stocked in the vending machine.

4. Your medication could be a factor. Many types of over-the-counter and prescription medications list weight gain as a possible side effect. Steroids, heartburn medications, antidepressants, and antipsychotics are four drugs that are commonly associated with weight gain.

To combat it: In most cases the weight gain is minor, so talk with your doctor if you feel like you’ve put on an uncomfortable amount. There might be a similar medication that won’t have the same effect.

Whatever the reason might be for your weight gain, it’s important to recognize it before it gets out of control! By addressing the problem quickly, you can take charge and prevent packing on even more pounds.

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