When you are eating clean and working out on the regular, it can be really frustrating to see that number on the scale rise instead of fall. It isn't just frustrating, it can be downright maddening. But don't lose your cool. While there are many shocking little factors that could have contributed to your recent gain, they all have an easy fix.
Here are some likely culprits:
Your Water Habits
“Since the human body is made largely of water, changes in your hydration status can cause small fluctuations in body weight,” says Ashvini Mashru, R.D., author of Small Steps to Slim
and owner of Wellness Nutrition Concepts. When you are dehydrated, your weight is likely to go down a few pounds but you will gain them right back when you increase your water consumption. Even if you just this second drank a glass of water, the scale can reflect that. And remember, people often mistake thirst for hunger. So, if you are dehydrated, you may find yourself reaching for a snack instead of a drink. Do yourself a favour and reach from some water first.
The hormones progesterone and estradiol may be responsible for the tightness of your clothes during your period. And then, to make matters worse, there are the cravings which are caused by hormone fluctuations and an increased metabolism. “The brain perceives these changes as a lack of glucose, which can lead you to consume around 100 to 200 extra calories, especially on days when you bleed heavily,” says Mashru. Before your period, serum magnesium levels may take a nose dive. Mashru says, “that can lead to low insulin levels, which increases your sugar cravings." So, between bloating and food cravings you will likely gain a pound or two.
A Higher Carb Intake
When your body converts carbs to glycogen and stores it in your muscles, it automatically retains water. Mashru says it’s actually 2.7 grams per gram of glycogen. But don't demonize carbs. “Consumed in moderation, healthy carbohydrates, such as those in whole grains, whole wheat, fruits, and lentils, provide you with energy and important vitamins and minerals,” she says. “While cutting out refined carbohydrates can reduce your weight and improve your overall health, you don't need to cut out carbohydrates altogether.”
Buying Into Health Halos
There are so many foods out there that seem healthy, or claim to be healthy, but really aren't. “Watch out for items marked as being low-fat, -carb, -sodium, or -sugar,” says Samantha Finkelstein, R.D., founder of Nerdy Girl Nutrition. “Any time a flavorful ingredient is removed, something to compensate is added back in.” So, if you are buying these sorts of foods, you could be adding troubling things back into your diet. Stick to whole foods like the ones you find in the outer aisles of the supermarket.
Sleep is essential to keeping your weight loss efforts on track. If you aren't getting enough rest, your body will begin producing the stress hormone cortisol and boost post-meal insulin levels. “Both these hormones promote fat storage and are associated with weight gain,” says Finkelstein. Like with your period, it comes down to hormones. When you don't sleep enough, your hunger regulating hormones, leptin and ghrelin, get all out of whack. Leptin, which tells your brain when you’re satiated, decreases, while appetite-promoting ghrelin goes up. All this means you eat more than you need.
So, while weighing yourself can seem like an important tool to keeping you on track, it can also be misleading. Mashru suggests that “instead of falling into the trap of obsessing over numbers, which can lie, focus on getting your body as healthy as possible by eating clean and exercising regularly.”
Makes sense to us. How about you?
Source: Women's Health