Why Am I Gaining Weight Even When I Exercise?

You’ve taken every HIIT class at your local gym, you’ve tried spinning, you run/walk on the treadmill, and you’ve bought at-home workout DVDs to help you get fit and stay healthy. You lift weights and do everything you know is right, but when you step on the scale, you don’t see any changes. What’s wrong? A few helpful tips can pinpoint the issue and help you determine how to fix it.

Do You Cut Calories?

If you want to lose weight, you must burn more calories than what you consume. While you can, in a sense, eat what you like and just eat less of it, you really should focus on eating healthy foods as often as possible.

The trouble is that you need to cut calories, but you shouldn’t cut too many calories at once. Many dieticians claim that if you start cutting calories left and right, you’re not going to be able to give your body the fuel it needs to reach full potential during your workout sessions. You’re just going to go through the motions when working out.

Along with such, people that start off their morning by restricting their calories end up overeating or binge eating at dinnertime or at night. Your body is so starved for food that, when you do eat, you go into a craze, eating everything in sight. You’re also more likely to make poor food decisions when you do eat. Instead of cooking a healthy meal, you may grab some fast food on the way home from work because you’re ravenous.

How to Fix This Issue

The amount of calories you should eat each day depends on a variety of factors, one being how many calories you burn during workouts. In general, though, your calorie deficit (the amount of calories you consume minus the calories you burn) should be about 500 calories each day. You can find a variety of tracking apps on your smartphone or online to help you keep track of what you eat, when you eat it, what workout you do, and roughly how many calories it burns. It’s also a good idea to try to consume most of your calories throughout the first half of the day, around your workout.

Do You Have a Smoothie from the Store after Your Workout?

Everyone knows that, after a sweat session where you’ve torched a lot of calories, you need to rehydrate and refuel your body. Smoothies are an excellent source of protein and minerals, but buying them from the store isn’t the best option. In most cases, these drinks are nothing more than sugary treats that may hold tons of calories. While most people think they are healthy because they contain yogurt and/or fruit, they tend to be the worst.

How to Fix This Issue

If you like the idea of a smoothie after a long workout session, the best thing to do is to make your own. Make sure that you package it correctly if you’re going to the gym and enjoy it. Consider making the smoothie your meal; sit down, turn off the television, or stop working, and sip it slowly. You’ll feel fuller and may find that you eat less throughout the day.

Do You Crave Foods Constantly?

While craving foods isn’t always a bad thing, and research goes back and forth about how exercise can affect hunger, you should consider the types of foods that you crave. If your workout increases your appetite, it’s likely that you burned enough calories to make a difference. However, if you’re starving afterward, you may need a pre-workout snack.

The trouble is that most people eat for reasons unrelated to hunger. You may be craving a sweet treat or that salty pretzel. Still, having a craving every so often isn’t a significant problem. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Therefore, keep your cravings in check and have healthy, low-calorie options available for when they hit. For example, if you crave sugar, consider having fruit on hand, which is healthy and naturally sweet.

How to Fix This Issue

The first step is to determine if you are hungry for food. Sometimes, you’re just tired, stressed out, bored, or emotional. If you are hungry, eat foods that are healthy, such as vegetables, healthy fats, low-fat dairy products, and lean meat.

Do you focus on the cardio machine’s calorie counter?

Treadmills and other workout equipment are likely to have a calorie counter that helps you determine how many calories you’ve burned based on the intensity of the workout and other factors. The problem is these machines lie. Most machines overestimate how many calories you’ve burned by about 30 percent. They can be helpful to give you a rough estimate, but if you trust in them solely, you’re likely to eat more calories than you’ve burned, even with an outside app to help you track progress.

How to Fix This Issue

The best thing you can do is not to look at the display at all. You aren’t likely to count calories all of your life, and most people can’t stand to do it for every meal. However, if you do want to keep a check on how many calories you eat and burn throughout the day, choose a fitness tracking app. They aren’t perfect either, by they’re going to give you a better estimate than your preferred cardio machine.

Do You Get Enough Sleep?

Weight loss is dependent on many things, including exercise, eating right, and recovery. If you miss any of them, you aren’t going to reap the full benefits. For most people, the recovery aspect is the hardest to conquer. Getting enough sleep is tough for most people, even if they’re worn out or exhausted. If you don’t get enough sleep, leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that regulate hunger levels, are thrown off, which results in you getting intense cravings.

How to Fix This Issue

Make sure you get between eight and nine hours of sleep every night so that your workouts can work.

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