Have you noticed how much harder it is to lose a few extra pounds once you hit the big 3-0?
Well, let’s just say it happens to most of us. Thirty was a big one for me! You can’t blame it all on genetics or diet. There’s a third component that has a huge impact on your body, lifestyle!
If you notice your weight starting to creep up, your lifestyle could be having more effect than you think. We all know the obvious triggers such as eating too much and not exercising, but there are some sneakier factors that play a big part in weight gain. Here are some of the most common ones to avoid to help you maintain a healthy weight.
1. Too Much Stress
There’s a good chance that stress is affecting your weight. Your body releases cortisol during stressful periods. This stress hormone can send your blood sugar levels haywire. According to studies, high cortisol production leaves you craving sweets and bring on hunger.
Cortisol also changes how your body uses glucose, makes it harder to burn fat and makes it easier to store fat. Women are more likely to store fat on their stomach too.
2. Falling Into Emotional Eating Habits
Not taking care of your health can mean that you eat in line with your emotions rather than when you’re genuinely hungry. Feeling sad, stressed, lonely, bored or disappointed can lead you to eat to fill an emotional void and crave particular foods (usually the unhealthy kind!).
You might feel better in the immediate aftermath, but in the long term, this type of emotional eating can have a big effect on your weight. Most of the time, you won’t get a signal to say that you’re full and it’s all too easy to find that you’ve eaten a lot more than you planned in a very short period of time. And you probably won’t feel any better afterwards. In fact, you may well feel a whole lot worse as it’s common for emotional eating to make you feel guilty and ashamed of your food choices.
3. Not Sleeping Well
Poor sleep quality makes you more likely to eat more calories and gain weight. This is because it disrupts hormones that control your appetite. Lack of sleep increases production of ghrelin and decreases leptin levels, which means it’s harder to manage your appetite.
Sleeping well is one of the underrated ways to keep your weight in check as your hormone levels will be more balanced.
4. Not Building Muscle Mass
Sitting is considered the new smoking. If you spend a lot of time sitting and aren’t very active, you are not building muscle mass. This might not seem like a big deal but it’s a common weight gain trigger.
Lean muscle boosts your metabolism and makes it easier to burn calories. If you lack lean muscle it makes it harder for you to burn calories.
One of the best ways to build more muscle mass is through strength training. The idea of strength training is to build a toned body and lower body fat. It takes a lot of intense work to look bulky, so don’t be scare of lifting weights!
5. Not Eating Enough
Restricting your calorie intake too much can slow down your metabolism and encourages the body to go into “starvation mode” so that it can run on fewer calories. This means you generally burn fewer calories.
These kind of diets can be hard to stick to in the long term. Chances are, you’ll go back to a less restrictive way of eating but your body may still be more likely to store fat. This is why many people find that they gain weight after coming off a low calorie diet.
6. Eating “Low Fat” Foods
Just because a food claims to be “low fat” it doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial to your body. A lot of supposedly “low fat” options are often high in sugar and salt to make them tastier. Eat too many of these “low fat” foods and you’re probably going to put on weight!
Tips for Avoiding These Triggers
So, what can you do to avoid these common triggers and get your body in shape?
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet that isn’t too restrictive on calories and stay away from “low fat” foods that can promote weight gain.
• Be physically active and improve your lean body mass by doing resistance exercises.
• Get plenty of sleep to help keep appetite hormones in balance.
• Incorporate stress reduction techniques into your self-care routine.
• Adopting a more mindful approach to eating so that you don’t eat on autopilot.
Now that you have uncovered some of the most common weight gain triggers for women over 30, re-examine your lifestyle and implement some of these suggestions to balance your life and promote wellness. If you find yourself overwhelmed and want guidance on ways to achieve your goals, let’s connect through a free consultation. Together we can find ways to incorporate gradual changes to help you make life more manageable.
To your healthy and happiness,