01 Apr 2017
Exercise is making me fat!
Exercise is making me fat!
If you've ever started an exercise program to lose weight only to find your weight actually going up, you're not alone.
That change in the scale doesn't necessarily mean you're doing anything wrong, nor does it mean you're going in the wrong direction. There can be some obvious and not-so-obvious reasons you're gaining weight.
Muscle is more dense than fat, but it takes up less space. That means if you gain muscle, your scale weight may go up even as you're slimming down. It's normal for many of us to lose inches, even if we're not losing weight.
Another culprit is water retention. There's a theory that the body will actually retain water when we exercise, not only as part of the healing process by also as a method of getting glycogen to the body in a more efficient way.
That more efficient fuel system means you may carry around a few extra pounds of water.
Either way, the scale can't tell you any of this, which is why it isn't always the best way to measure progress. Take measurements at different areas of the body on a regular basis. If you're losing inches, you're on the right track.
If you've measured yourself in different ways and realised you really are going in the wrong direction, take some time to go through the following possibilities - you may need to make some small changes in your diet to see better results.
Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight
1.Eating Too Many Calories
Avoid the mindset that says you can eat whatever you want since you're doing all this great exercise. To lose weight, you still need to control your eating and shouldn’t be replaced with food.
It may seem obvious, but we sometimes eat more after starting an exercise program to compensate for burning those extra calories.
Most of us think we're eating a healthy diet but, unless you're keeping a food diary, you don't know how much you're really eating.
Most people are surprised when they start keeping a diary and begin adding up the calories and fat. It almost always turns out to be more than they thought. Keep a food diary for at least a week to get a sense of what and how much you're eating.
2. Not eating enough calories
It may seem counterintuitive, but eating too few calories can actually stall your efforts to lose fat.
If there is a severe restriction in calories, the body may counteract this reduction by slowing down its metabolism. Be sure you're eating enough calories to sustain your body, especially if you've increased your activity.
3. Not giving your body time to respond
Just because you start exercising doesn't always mean your body will respond to that immediately. in some instances the body needs to sort of "recalibrate"' itself. Increased activity and new eating habits, such as taking in more or fewer calories require the body to make adjustments.
Give yourself several weeks, even months to allow your body to respond to what you're doing. You didn't gain weight overnight and you definitely won't lose it overnight either.
And don't forget, you have to exercise and control your food most of the time to really see significant changes. That means, weight loss isn't always a linear process. Sometimes you'll lose and then something happens, a sickness or injury, that changes your plans and sets you back a bit.
That's normal and something you have to build into your plan.
4. Rule out any medical conditions
While not everyone suffers from thyroid problems, they can cause weight gain and weight loss to be more challenging.
If you really believe you're eating less and exercise more, creating the calorie deficit you need to lose weight, now is the time to check with your doctor. Have your thyroid checked and talk to your doctor about any medications you're taking that could affect your body's ability to lose weight.
Keep in mind that age can also be a factor in slow weight loss. It's unfortunate that getting older means it's that much harder to lose weight as our metabolism changes. It's nothing you're doing wrong, just one more thing to pay attention to.
5. You're gaining muscle faster than you're losing fat
If it seems that you're getting bigger after you've started a weight training routine, it may be because you aren't losing body fat as fast as you're building muscle, a common problem.
Genetics can play a role; some people put on muscle more easily than others. If that's the case for you, don't stop training. Instead, you might simply adjust your program to make sure you're getting enough cardio exercise to promote weight loss and focus your strength training workouts on muscular endurance.
Whatever is the cause of your weight gain, don't give up on exercise. It's often a temporary situation that will correct itself if you just keep going and, if it doesn't, don't give up all that great exercise time you've collected.
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