Gaining Weight While Dieting and Working Out? Here's Why It Can Happen – KHTS Radio

in News Articles November 7, 2022 – 7:14 am 0 42 Views
So you’ve decided to try to lose weight. You go to the gym on a regular basis, and you’re trying to eat healthier, but it seems like all your hard work is only leading to weight gain. How is this possible? Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon and can lead to giving up on habits that are important for improving overall health. Let’s discuss some reasons why the scale might go go up after starting a weight loss program.
You’ve worked so hard at the gym and on your way out, you decide to treat yourself to a smoothie. This habit, or otherwise rewarding yourself with dessert or a high calorie meal, could be affecting your efforts to lose weight. It’s far too easy to overestimate how many calories are burned while exercising. If you turn around and consume all of those calories or more, it will likely lead to weight gain. Try tracking your food intake with an app is to stay accountable to what you’re eating (and drinking). Food logging has been shown to be effective for losing weight.
On the other hand, decreasing the amount of how much food you eat can trigger changes in your “hunger” hormones, which can make sticking to a diet difficult. There are ways you can feel full on fewer calories. Make sure to eat an adequate amount of protein at each meal, drink plenty of water, and fill up on non-starchy vegetables – these are just a few ways you can change your diet to reduce your calorie intake, but feel less hungry. There are also FDA-approved prescription medications that address some of these changes in appetite to help people with excess weight stick to a lower calorie diet. They are not appropriate for everyone, though, so you will need to speak to a healthcare professional to determine if they are an option for you.
When you exercise, especially if you are strength training, you actually break down your muscle fibers and rebuild them. This process of breaking down muscle fibers causes your muscles to retain water as part of the healing process. Since water weighs something, you may notice weight gain after exercise. Don’t get too concerned about this, though, because it’s not that you’re gaining fat, which is what we’re really concerned about when it comes to your health. Long-term, exercise will help to promote weight loss and weight loss maintenance, as well as bring about many other health benefits, so stick with it!
Have you heard the phrase “muscle weighs more than fat”? Well, muscle is actually more dense than fat, so the way that it occupies space in our body is different from how fat occupies space in our body. When consistently performing exercises meant to increase lean muscle mass (using free weights, weight machines, or bodyweight exercises like squats, for example), we may see differences in the way that we look or how our pants fit without actually seeing changes on the scale. With enough strength training and appropriate dietary changes there may even be a gain in the amount of lean muscle mass you have that leads to an increase in the number on the scale. This type of weight gain typically takes months, so it is not likely the cause if you’re noticing weight gain shortly after starting an exercise program.
There is a lot of information out there about how to change your diet and exercise routine in order to lose weight, and it can be hard to know what’s right for you.  If you’ve been trying to lose weight with diet and exercise alone, but not having success or even gaining weight, it may be time to seek professional assistance. A Registered Dietitian is a great resource to assist you with creating a diet individualized to your lifestyle and goals while an obesity medicine specialist can look at your overall health picture and determine if there is a medical reason for why you’re gaining weight. Additionally, they can discuss more intensive treatment options like FDA-approved medications, if appropriate.
Whatever approach you take, just be sure the changes you’re making with your lifestyle feel sustainable. Even if results are happening slowly, they will be more likely to give you long-term success versus going on a diet or participating in an intense exercise program for a few weeks and then stopping.
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