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Why Am I Gaining Weight Even Though I’m On a Diet and Exercising?

by Cole Matthews - Last Updated December 6, 2016

Shedding weight is the top reason people go to the gym. Losing weight can transform your body into being efficient and healthy, and eliminates several health risks. Achievement of a healthy weight can also bring confidence and a sense of well-being. Diet and exercise are the two behaviors that will have to change for a person to lose weight. Diet needs to change to bring down the calorie count, and exercise needs to be ramped up to burn off excess calories, strengthen the body and improve cardiovascular health.

If you’re dieting and exercising, but you’re not seeing any weight loss – or worse, gaining weight – there are probably a few key points you’re missing. Diet and exercise are the keys to losing weight, but both must be done effectively, and it’s to slip on a few things, nobody’s perfect. However, to kick your body into gear and make sure you’re losing body fat, review the weight loss check list below.

Weight Loss Checklist


#1 – Caloric Deficit

The most important thing to keep in mind when dieting is maintaining a caloric deficit. What this means is that, to lose weight, you must take in fewer calories than you burn on a daily basis. If you take in the same amount as you burn, you will stay at the same weight and if you take in more calories than you burn you will gain weight.

Counting calories can be a hassle, but it’s extremely important to losing weight while still meeting all of your other macronutrient requirements. Checking labels on food often and checking online sources can help you develop a working knowledge of the amount of calories in foods; and once you have your go-to foods’ nutritional values mapped, calorie counting gets much easier.

It can also help to prep your meals each day so that your calories are planned beforehand, rather then just heading to your local sandwich shop and trying to add your total calories consumed through their not-so-detailed nutritional menu. If you decide to go this route, you can use a meal prep container guide to help you find the right storage containers for your daily meals.

#2 – Effective Exercise

Some light yoga in the mornings can be great for flexibility and stress management, but it’s not going to be extremely effective at burning calories. When looking to lose weight, you want to partake in activities that are going to burn maximum calories.

High intensity interval training, circuit training, weightlifting and high intensity cardio should be your go-to workouts for weight loss. These methods of training not only burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time (relative to jogging or other steady-state cardio); but, done properly, they will recruit all of your muscle groups and help you to build some lean muscle that will be noticeable once your percentage of body fat declines.

#3 – Binging On Healthy Food

One of the common misconceptions with dieting is that if something is healthy, you can eat a lot of it. This is one of the main downfalls of an otherwise healthy diet. Many healthy foods are also pretty calorie dense, and binging on them will pack the calories into your diet just like any other food.

Make sure to track your calories and eat in moderation. It can be hard transitioning to any diet, but once you track your calories and see how much less you’re taking in by controlling your portions, you’ll start to see what a large step you’re already making towards weight loss.

#4 – Eating Enough Protein

Another common mistake when dieting is not getting enough protein into your diet. Calories from protein should hover around 30% of your total daily macronutrient intake. Not only will the protein help rebuild your muscles from all of the exercise you’ve been doing, but several studies have shown that taking in an adequate amount of protein can help curb cravings and fight those urges to snack in between meals. If your muscles are recovering effectively after a workout, you’ll be able to go right back in the gym and continue maximal output to really burn those calories.

#5 – Gaining Muscle

If you’ve just started lifting weights, or you’ve recently ramped up the intensity, it’s not uncommon to put on a few pounds of muscle in your first few weeks. Hitting the gym hard while properly dieting and not seeing the scale move can be discouraging, but muscle growth is progress; and, even though it isn’t showing in the scale, your body is changing and your physique will be all the better for it.

#6 – Sugary Drinks

Sweetened iced tea, soda and fruit juice are all common drinks and can be easy to pick up to quench your thirst when you’re on the go and want a little flavor. Unfortunately, these convenient and tasty drinks are extremely high in sugar and calories. A 12 oz. can of soda is 150 calories, mostly from carbs. Sugars are the carbohydrates you want to be avoiding, as they break down much faster than complex carbs and don’t contain any of the health benefits of complex carbs like bread and grains.

#7 – Drinking Enough Water

Water is extremely important when losing weight. Not only is it one of the substances our bodies absolutely crave, it can also help you lose weight. When you’re drinking a lot of water constantly, your body stops retaining water, as it has a constant intake, and thus it starts flushing out your system.

In other words, drinking a lot of water makes your body stop retaining water, which can help you lose water weight, as well as maintain a good level of hydration throughout the day so you can avoid nasty side effects of dehydration like dizziness and headaches. Water can also help to curb your cravings; when you feel a craving for a snack, chug some water and the craving will most likely dissipate.

Final Thoughts

There are SEVERAL factors involved in losing weight, and it’s not about making one or two small changes; it sounds cliché, but it really is a lifestyle change. Going from eating whatever whenever to controlling your portions and timing your meals to best keep your hunger satisfied while maintaining a caloric deficit is no easy feat, but following some simple principles and the tips above can help you on your way.

Remember to exercise effectively and frequently, watch your calories and food intake, get enough water and stay positive! It’s not an easy road ahead of you, but the first steps are the hardest.

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