5 Reasons You're Gaining Weight So Fast and What to Do

 5 Reasons You're Gaining Weight So Fast and What to Do

You might get frustrated when your scale keeps upward even though you’ve diligently stuck to your fitness routine. But sometimes, weight gain fast can occur due to certain things you consume, such as sugary foods and beverages. MERACH, your trusted partner in helping you achieve a healthy lifestyle, understands that several factors (like diet and exercise) influence your weight fast. Let's explore 5 surprising reasons you might unintentionally be gaining weight, along with 5 practical tips to develop healthier eating habits on a budget. 

Reason 1: Eat Too Much Sugar

We all have a sweet tooth, but sugary treats like doughnuts, candy, soda, and sweetened coffee drinks come with hidden calories. Studies show a strong link between high sugar intake and weight gain, even increasing the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Sugary beverages, in particular, are the largest source of added sugar in the United States and are strongly linked to weight gain. One study even revealed that drinking just one sugary soda per day led to a 2.2-pound (1 kg) weight gain over two years. 

Reason 2: Inadequate Hydration

Staying hydrated is crucial for weight management and overall health. Sometimes, our bodies will easily confuse our need for hydration with hunger, causing us to consume more calories than necessary. In addition, while sports drinks are often touted as a convenient way to rehydrate after a workout, they may not be the best choice. Instead, you can consider replenishing your body with electrolyte-rich options like coconut water or a post-workout snack rich in potassium, such as a banana, without the added sugars found in sports drinks. 

Reason 3: Have a Sedentary Lifestyle

Our modern lifestyles often involve a lot of sitting – at work, at home, during commutes. This inactivity contributes significantly to weight gain and chronic diseases. Working a desk job, watching TV, driving, and using computers or phones for extended periods are all sedentary activities that can contribute to unintentional weight gain. 

A study involving 464 people with obesity and excess weight found that their average daily sitting time was 6.2 hours on workdays and 6 hours on non-workdays, with work-related tasks being the largest contributor, followed by watching TV. 

If there’s something like you, we suggest starting by making simple lifestyle changes, such as incorporating regular indoor step workouts to reduce sitting time, which makes a significant difference. Research has shown that replacing just one hour of sitting with one hour of standing during the workday can reduce total fat mass, decrease waist circumference, and increase lean muscle mass. 

Reason 4: Only Do Cardio

While cardio exercises like running, indoor cycling, and swimming are excellent for cardiovascular health and calorie burning, relying solely on cardio may not be enough to support sustainable weight loss. You can consider adding some strength training or resistance exercises to your fitness routine. It would be a great boost to your metabolism by up to 5%, helping you burn more calories than fat, even at rest.

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Additionally, weight and resistance training offers numerous other benefits, including improved strength, endurance, and overall physical and mental health. 

Reason 5: Insufficient Sleep

Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being while insufficient sleep may lead to unintentional weight gain. A study involving 92 women demonstrated that those who slept fewer than 6 hours daily had the highest body mass index (BMI) and the highest levels of visfatin (a protein secreted by fat cells), compared to women who slept 6 hours or more per day. When you're sleep-deprived, your body produces more ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and less leptin (the satiety hormone), making you feel hungrier and eat more. Generally speaking, keeping your sleep time for 7 or more hours can be helpful to aid weight loss. Besides, it would be much better to create a relaxing bedtime routine and limit screen time before bed.

Now that we've discovered the potential reasons behind unintentional weight gain, mostly related to our diet. And the good news is that eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive or involve fancy ingredients. Here are 5 practical tips to nourish your body without breaking the bank: 

Tip 1: Understand That Your Diet Isn’t Going to Be Perfect

First, it’s vital to understand that your diet doesn't have to be perfect. Making progress, not perfection, is the key to sustainable change for your weight. You can start with small steps. If you're now eating out every night, cooking just one homemade, veggie-packed meal per week is significant progress. 

Tip 2: Cut out Sugar-Sweetened Drinks & Drink Smartly

Consider cutting out some sugary beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened coffees. Regularly drinking these sweet drinks may harm your health and contribute to weight gain. Instead, water is the best way to stay hydrated. But if you're not used to drinking plain water, consider adding fresh fruit slices or a squeeze of lemon for additional flavor. 

Tip 3: Cook at Home

Cooking meals at home allows you to control ingredients and portion sizes. You can start by cooking just one or two meals per week, gradually increasing as you get comfortable. 

Tip 4: Prioritize Plant-Based Foods

When adjusting your diet, it’s best to prioritize plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. These foods are packed with nutrients, and fiber, and are generally budget-friendly. They are not only rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber but also cost-effective and filling. 

Tip 5: Ditch the "Cheat Day" Myth

If your current diet relies on "cheat days" or "cheat meals," it might be unbalanced and restrictive for you. Once you learn that all foods can be part of a healthy diet, there's no need for the concept of "cheating". As such, it would be healthier to stop cheat meals and develop a healthy and sustainable eating pattern that includes your favorite foods in moderation. 

In Conclusion 

Unintentional weight gain might have various underlying causes, such as excessive sugar intake, inadequate hydration, a sedentary lifestyle, cardio-only workouts, and insufficient sleep. After understanding these factors, you can regain control over your weight. 

Following the simple eating tips above can significantly improve your life: prioritize plant-based foods, avoid sugary drinks, embrace home cooking, stay hydrated, and avoid "cheat meals". These budget-friendly tips can help you develop healthier eating habits. 

If you need more detailed and professional guidance, consider working with a registered dietitian. They will provide personalized advice, tailored nutritional plans, and the support you need to sustainably achieve your weight management.


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