Identifying the Most Common Reasons for Weight Gain

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scale weight gainThe most common reasons for weight gain, and the struggles many of us face with losing weight and maintaining our weight, are Who, What, When, Where, How and Why. To identify and understand your own reasons for weight gain, answer the following questions. Your honest answers will help you create a personal weight loss plan that actually works – once and for all!

Who triggers you to overeat?

  • A boss who triggers us to grab foods we think will calm or relax us after a stressful day at the office
  • A friend or partner who encourages us to overeat because they want a “food buddy”
  • Someone who shows their love for you through the food they’ve prepared (or purchased) and we eat to avoid hurting their feelings

What types of foods are you eating?

  • Too much junk food, takeout, prepared, or fast food
  • Foods high in unhealthy fat (vs. healthy fats that help you lose weight) and sugar
  • Out of proportion portions – “economy sizing,” “super sizing,” or “value sizing” 
  • Foods that don’t satisfy or fill you adequately
  • Too many liquid calories

When are you overeating?

  • The same foods at the same time, such as leftovers when cleaning up after mealtimes
  • Late night snacking while watching TV
  • When your children are snacking
  • During a late afternoon energy dip

Where are you doing most of your overeating?

  • At the kitchen counter while preparing food and snacks for others
  • On the living room couch after a long day
  • On Saturday night at your favorite restaurant when you see that breadbasket on the table

How are you overeating?

  • Socially – not hungry, simply eating to be a part of the group or experience
  • Mindlessly – taking in extra food without thinking and/or while distracted
  • Binge eating – poor food choices or eating to improve feelings or mood
  • Emotional eating – overeating to calm, numb or relax, which encourages a boost of serotonin, one of the body’s “feel good” chemicals

Why are you overeating? Try asking the following (with compassion and without judgment) immediately following a binge:

  • What do I really need?
  • What was I really looking for?
  • What am I really hungry for?

The answers to why you overeat may surprise you, because we are rarely looking for more food. Instead, it is more likely a need for:

  • Compassion
  • Security
  • Sleep
  • Friendship
  • A fulfilling project
  • A satisfying relationship
  • An enriching and meaningful job
  • More confidence
  • A better way to handle stress

The more we understand the Who, What, When, Where, How and Why of weight loss, the better we can create a plan that works FOR us… not against us. While it may take some effort to identify personal reasons for weight gain and come up with the answers, remember that every answer you find brings you one step closer to a gradual, yet lasting weight loss!

Have you been able to overcome your own struggle with these common reasons for weight gain? Why not share it with me and let’s encourage others!

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2023