Michelle struggled with weight loss and loving her body for 20 years. Focusing on self-love has helped her manage her weight and health.
Are you sure you're eating healthy?
We are consistently told that if we eat healthy foods, we will be healthy. We will lose weight or at least not gain any unless we're weight training (muscle weighs more).
Recently, I had an epiphany about my eating habits.
I had a lifestyle change for a few weeks. I went from working from home by myself to working outside my home surrounded by other people all day. As an introvert, this affected me more than I had imagined it would. This new job wasn't something I enjoyed particularly and my partner had a lot of negative energy. I was also working 11 hour days and not spending much time with my oldest daughter. I also didn't have much time for the creative business I was building prior.
Every day I made my lunch. I made healthy choices. I packed a smoothie breakfast, two snacks and a lunch. Then I would go home and have dinner I had prepared the Sunday before. I can't forget the nighttime snack but that was nothing different than my usual.
I was gaining weight fast! I didn't understand.
Stress is a sneaky culprit
Stress is sneaky sometimes. It creeps up when you're not paying attention. It changes your mind's thought process. It can make you exhausted, forgetful, and careless. The stress I was under did just that. As an emotional binge eater, stress and leading a healthy lifestyle is a struggle. Especially if you lose your self-awareness and blindly go through your day.
The truth is, I was eating a whole lot more than I had realized. Or maybe I subconsciously knew but I didn't care. I was exhausted. I was in survival mode.
I knew my days were different, my routine was different, yet I didn't apply my eating habits to this new lifestyle. I knew I was making unhealthy decisions but I gave in to temptations and urges easily. I was constantly "starving" so I ate, and ate, and ate. I felt myself losing control but I didn't stop myself. This was the only way to get through the day.
Deep down, I knew something was off. I was too exhausted to even try. I was gaining weight fast. My self-love told me I was okay. This is how it was right now. But my self-love was blinded by the stress I was feeling.
I indulged in coffee shop coffee multiple times a day. Mostly because my partner did too and the urge was too strong to say no. After a few weeks, I would bring my own home coffee.
I ate my lunch plus any food my partner made. I also bought take-out more often due to exhaustion and craving comfort food.
Normally, I don't eat breakfast. I replace breakfast with a nighttime snack because I'm a midnight snacker. I knew this would never change so I adjusted my eating schedule to allow it. I allow myself junk food often, but it had gotten worse.
Stress will make you throw all your hard work out the window. It's not about losing or gaining weight really, it's about losing control due to stress. If I had known my eating habits were influenced by stress, I would've been better prepared and not confused about my fast weight gain.
Are you active?
Whether you are active or idle matters because If you are eating a certain way while you were active and continue to consume this way while idle. Your weight will inevitably climb and not in the muscle way. Especially if your consumption becomes mainly processed foods.
Before I started babysitting all day, I was working out daily. I performed weight training exercises that built muscle, toned my body, and allowed me to eat more than usual. When I started babysitting, I sat on a chair or in a car all day. Not only did I not change my food consumption, but I added food AND indulged in processed foods and drinks every day.
Being active or not will be a huge component in your weight gain.
Water is important
Water. I think a lot of us struggle to drink the water we need will all these different drink options out there! But water will always be the only liquid your body NEEDS.
Water helps with digestion, flushing bacteria from your bladder, carrying oxygen and nutrients to your cells, preventing constipation, and water retention. It's also sugar-free, unlike those coffee and smoothie drinks we may be tempted to drink regularly.
I was drinking up to three coffee drinks a day. While I was too busy sipping on these drinks, I wasn't drinking the 1.5L of water I was originally drinking.
Another reason for weight gain.
Weight gain is not bad but it can be dangerous
I don't cheer for weight loss or weight gain because neither is good or bad. I don't frown upon eating processed foods because I understand cravings and encourage fun eating. Everybody is different and has different needs. But there is such a thing as dangerous weight gain.
If you are gaining weight and don't understand the reasons, I hope this article gave you a guiding light in figuring it out.
Happy eating warriors!
© 2021 Michelle Brady