Midnight snacks and taco Tuesdays are some of the brighter parts of our days. Nothing works better after a long tiring day than ice cream and your favorite show.
Processed foods and junk foods have the taste that plain old salads never will (No offense to our vegetarian friends out there)
But there is no better way to do right by your body than to get rid of these elements from your diet altogether.
Somehow, we are all under the impression that we gain weight much faster than we lose it, which is not true. It’s only that the process of gaining weight is much sweeter (Pun intended) than it is to lose it.
If we’re given the option to either munch on a Quarter Pounder or hit the gym for an hour to burn the same number of calories, we all make sure we get a soda to top that Quarter Pounder up.
However, the guilt always follows, you may think you gained a pound off that holiday feast alone but I may have some good news for you on that one!
Dietitians tell us that a single high-calorie meal does not make you gain weight at all.
As a matter of fact, your body can go as far as five days of high-calorie intake (When you consume more calories than you burn off) and have no changes in the fat mass or weight.
So how much time of high-calorie diets make us gain weight?
Let’s get into the weight gain process.
The Weight Gain Process
The process of weight gain is a highly subjective one. It depends on many factors like body type, genetics, hormones, activity level, gender, and diet.
It all really comes down to your metabolic rate and what type of body you have. (Read more on types in “gaining bigger arms” post).
But to take an average human as an example keeping the ideal consumption of 2000 cal in mind, we get ourselves two main categories of intentional and unintentional weight gain.
Being the natural critiques that we are, we like to know the harmful part before we get to know the better ones, like saving the best skittles for last.
Unintentional weight gain is when fats start building up in your body. This happens when you have low activity levels throughout the day and are consuming more calories than you can burn off.
Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight, but a month is a long enough time for your body to show changes.
Research conducted at Deakin University in Australia gives us the exact number of weight gain that can happen in 28 days from their test on eight subjects of age 22.
Each recruit consumed a diet of nearly 3000cal without any exercise and was noted to have gained an average of 3.5 pounds over the month.
The surplus amount of energy that you get from the food you eat, which is not needed by the muscles to burn off starts getting stored in your body as energy reserves in fat form.
The fats are stored towards the center of the body, your belly, because those are naturally the least used muscles when you lack activity and exercise.
Intentional weight gain is gaining muscle mass. It is when you lift weights and work your body out to break the existing proteins in your muscle for stronger ones to grow back.
Although some athletes and builders take the gaining of muscle to a whole another level like the human mountain, Dwayne Johnson, most fitness enthusiasts prefer to keep a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) between 21 and 23.
The natural potential of an adult body is to gain roughly about 2.5 pounds of muscle a month. But if you want to speed up the process to get more gains, having protein supplements along with your normal diet helps you out a lot.
Although there is still a limit on how much mass you can put on in a month, which won’t be more than 3 pounds on average.
Gaining weight via increasing muscle is not an easy process. You have to push yourself hard enough at the gym and be mindful of the type of calories you consume. Yes, there are good calories and bad calories!
The simplest difference between good calories and bad calories is their nutritional value. Meat can have high-fat content at times but since it provides your body with lean protein and complex carbs, they are all good calories.
And some of your most favorite candy might be negligible in the calorie content but the unhealthy fats, artificial ingredients, and sugar in it are very harmful to your body, which makes it a bad calorie item.
Major causes fo abnormal weight gain
You don’t only gain weight because you want to or have been consuming more calories than you can burn off in a day, many underlying health conditions interfere with the metabolism of your body and make you put on weight.
Here are some common health conditions that make you gain weight and how they do so.
The Thyroid is a small gland just below your Adam’s apple. A healthy and normal thyroid produces thyroid hormones that contribute to the metabolism of your body.
An underactive thyroid, as the name suggests, is when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones which in turn slows down the metabolism of your body.
An underactive thyroid can lead to cancer in serious cases, but it is commonly treated with hormone replacement tablets. It can occur at any age or sex, but it is more likely to occur in older females.
Diabetes is the root of many different problems in your body, in gaining weight too. The gain of weight is not a direct side effect of diabetes because it mostly comes from the use of insulin.
Insulin is naturally produced by the pancreas to lower the blood sugar levels in your body but those suffering from diabetes have to orally ingest insulin tablets.
People who have been using insulin for long enough may have lower blood sugar levels then they are supposed to have, which allows them to eat more to regulate the sugar level.
Snacking too much throughout the day means your calorie intake is again higher than your consumption. However, many diabetic educational courses help you fight the disease more naturally.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that occurs mostly among women of reproductive age. The signs of having PCOS are delayed menses, excess hair growth, and pregnancy difficulties.
The cause of PCOS is still a mystery to health care professionals, but it too is related to too much insulin in the body.
Gaining weight only around your waist could be a result of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it is a result of consuming too many calories to balance the blood sugar from excess insulin.
Depression, anxiety, and stress are the most common mental health issues to be found in people worldwide.
Dealing with traumas and depression makes finding activities to cope with it like doing drugs or overeating.
Every individual responds differently and has a separate coping mechanism, under-eating is as common as overeating.
Overeating as a coping mechanism only makes way for more stress and anxiety in the future because of weight gain.
Burning of muscle mass is a common problem to be found among the elderly. It is because the activity recedes over time and mostly, the food consumption remains more or less the same.
Daily activity and workout are essential for using up energy, inactivity not only encourages the build-up of fats in your body but also starts burning up the proteins as they do not see much activity anymore.
Keeping up the habit of walking, to the least, is going to help you keep your body in shape and a healthy metabolic rate.
Preventing Weight Gain
If wearing your favorite pants makes your waist pop out like a muffin-top, now might be a good time to take your health seriously.
Contrary to the common belief, preventing weight gain or even losing it starts with a few minor changes in your daily routine.
You are probably familiar with the following changes already but the more times you go over them, the higher your chances are of making them a part of your routine.
Human beings weren’t designed to sit upright at a desk all day and lay with feet up against the armrest on the couch at night, we were perhaps the wanderers and the hunters.
As many blessings, the modern-day technology has, it does get us under the illusion of wanting comfort at all times.
Leaving the comfort zone to shed some sweat over at the gym takes a lot of effort, but becomes more pleasing and addictive once you get the hang of it.
Getting a morning walk of at least 2500 steps and doing exercises for at least three days a week is enough to keep our body healthy and in shape.
But the exercises should be enough to strain your muscles, if you don’t reach your limit by the last rep then you’re not straining your muscles enough.
Planning Your Diet
The upsetting part about eating more than we should is that we always realize it once we’re through with the meal.
That’s why we go for the guilty walks to somehow burn out those extra calories right away as if it would be of any help.
The easiest part to keep your diet in check is to know the calorie content of the common food items that you consume most during your daily routine.
Once you know the calorie count of the common items you have for breakfast and lunch (They’re more or less the repetition of three or four of the same meals), you can calculate the calories you have consumed for the day.
You only have to remind yourself a couple of times about it and then you instinctively calculate the calories of every food item you eat during a day.
Knowing this little trick will prevent you from exceeding your daily 2000cal, and usually leave you out with room for treats at the end of the day, Voila!
Consulting A Professional
As I mentioned earlier that sometimes weight gain can be a side effect of an underlying health condition, the internet is no place to look for symptoms and treatments for it.
If you know or feel like having any symptoms of an underlying health condition, consulting the right professional is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Stress eating or overeating because of unhealthy regulation of blood sugar because the medication is not something you can get rid of by sheer will.
Having proper treatment ensures that you see to your concern of weight gain and also not risk your well being by cutting off medication and getting rid of unhealthy habits.
We almost always find an alternative to our coping mechanism and may never know how harmful it is until it is quite late already.
Taking good care of your health helps us more in our life than just preventing the frequent trips to the doctor.
Gaining weight is a serious concern, you may be adding on a few pounds in a month but in a year or so, the cumulative gain can exceed well over 50 pounds, which is too much for anyone.
Keeping your body in shape and lean gives you confidence in your daily life, you spend more time improving yourself than just wishing for it.
Working out, having a nutritional diet, and keeping count of what goes in brings a lot of self-discipline as well.
So filling yourself up to the point where you can barely move shouldn’t be the time for guilt the next time you visit your grandmother, enjoy the cheat meals all you can so long as they are not all day every day.
Stop ruining that moment of eternal satisfaction you get from burping after a heavy meal, you won’t gain all that you have consumed in one day anyway!