At the beginning of your weight loss journey, you started with all the best intentions and motivation. But soon, life began to present different challenges. From being stressed from work or parenthood, balancing an active social life, and combating a sedentary lifestyle, you start to feel tempted to stray away from your weight loss plan. Don’t give in to temptation! Together we’ll explore why each of these areas causes weight gain and the solutions you need to battle each of them head-on.
Why stress causes weight gain
Leading busy lives leads to stress. In fact, the correlation between stress and weight gain is undeniable. When you’re stressed, the dreaded stress hormone, cortisol, rises. This can cause insulin levels to rise as well, and blood sugar to drop, ultimately increasing your craving for sugary foods.
“More stress equals more cortisol equals higher appetite for junk food equals more belly fat,” says Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist.1
We call this: stress eating. And although the cravings for cookies and ice cream are bound to come up when you’re stressed, this doesn’t mean you have to reach for them.
Solutions to stress
- Eat healthy foods. When you have a sugary craving, substitute sugary foods with healthier options, like fruit. The RM3® diet allows two servings of portioned-controlled fruit per day.
- Discover healthy ways to manage stress. Pick one stress-reducing activity that speaks to you. Depending on your personality, exploring hobbies such as exercising, listening to music, writing in a journal, or reading a book are all productive, healthy ways to manage stress.
- Practice daily healthy habits. Aim to get eight hours of sleep per night, the recommended amount of sleep for adults by the CDC. Also, drink eight glasses of water daily. Follow these two tips to ensure you are well-rested and hydrated, versus tired and lethargic.
Why a sedentary lifestyle causes weight gain
If you work at a desk all day, you’re not alone. The American Heart Association reports that sedentary jobs have increased 83% since the 1950s. “As inactive people gain weight, they become more inactive, and as a consequence gain more weight,” reports Live Science. “It is the ‘sit-sit-sit-sleep’ lifestyle.”2
Physical inactivity effects may have dire long-term effects. In fact, the Mayo Clinic analyzed over ten studies and report: “sitting time and activity levels found in those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity”.3 Now, don’t panic and quit your office job! Do the following instead.
Solutions to a sedentary lifestyle
The direct solution to a sedentary lifestyle is movement. We always recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise per week to combat physical inactivity. In order to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume.
- Start small. Walking is the most popular aerobic activity according to the CDC. Set a goal to walk 10 minutes during the day, whether it’s two, five-minute walks during your work breaks, or a 10-minute stroll in the evening.
- Build up to exercising. As you build yourself up to exercising more, get moving with RM3®-approved exercises. Download our Free Ebook: 3 Quick and Easy Exercise Circuits and read Fitness Basics to start sweating.
- Schedule exercising into your schedule. Now that you’re used to movement, you can exercise longer and more consistently. Schedule 30 minutes of exercise, 5x’s a week to hit the recommended 150 minute exercise goal.
Tips on how to have a social life without gaining weight
Your social invites piling up and social calendar is filling up. You’ve got a wedding, baby shower, or birthday party to attend to. You want to see your friends and loved ones, but you don’t want to face the tasty temptations offered by the event. We call this social eating. A research study reported that the greater the variety of food, the greater calories we consume.4 Can you have a social life on your journey to lost weight?
Of course! You can even have a social life after weight loss, too! The key is to plan ahead of time.
- Look at menus in advance. If you’re dining at a restaurant, look at the menu in advance, and pick dishes that are RM3®-approved.
- Eat a healthy snack. We encourage healthy snacking before the event so you’re not as tempted to go off your diet. On RM3®, there’s a plethora of vegetables and snacks you can choose from!
- Manage your social calendar. Finally, try to manage your social calendar so that you’re not attending every event you’re invited to, but only a select special few.
On your weight loss journey, you will probably face one of these three challenges- if not all three! Instead of succumbing to temptation, remind yourself why you started this journey in the first place. Use our tips outlined in this article to help support you, and read more about how to stay motivated during weight loss in order to stay on track.
1 Breeze, Jarrod. “Can Stress Cause Weight Gain?” Nourish. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1.
2 Wanjek, Christoper. “Vicious Cycle of Weight Gain, Inactivity Causes Obesity. Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/43705-weight-gain-inactivity-causes-obesity.html.
3 Roberts, Nicole. “Americans Sit More Than Anytime in History and It’s Literally Killing Us.” Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolefisher/2019/03/06/americans-sit-more-than-anytime-in-history-and-its-literally-killing-us/?sh=73471b76779d.
4 Johnson, Fiona. “Variety, Palatability, and Obesity.” Advances in Nutrition. https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/5/6/851/4558139