You have been on a diet cycle for, what seems like, months on end to lose that weight gain that showed up from quarantine (Heck you might STILL be quarantined! PTSD anyone?). It started with great progress in the first week of your new diet. You celebrated a large weight loss according to the scale.
However, the next month comes and your scale (which you have so cleverly named “Truth Bomb”) has done you dirty. The numbers “don’t lie” and it shows you have a weight gain. “That’s It! ” you scream at the small, cold square you are planted on. “This diet isn’t working!”
I too have been there. And that scale name I was referring to – that is close to the name I chose for that little depression mechanism.
Before we jump into the reason you stumbled upon this page, let’s discuss diets in general. What they are and what they do, and how all of them have the base line focus. That is right, all of them have one main goal. A calorie deficit. They just have different restrictions to get you there. Then finally we will discuss why your diet isn’t working.
If you were to ask Google or Siri for the definition of “Diet Culture” you would get several different articles by several different people stating what they believe diet culture is, or is not. The closest thing that I could find to an accurate (in my opinion) description of the term “diet culture” is this:
Diet culture is a system of beliefs and social behaviors that values body weight above health and well-being.Erica Leon – https://ericaleon.com/2019/10/12/what-is-diet-culture/
When I think of “diet culture” this is the exact thing that comes to mind. Body weight (the number on the scale) becomes more important that your health and well-being, including your mental state.
However – some seem to think that just simply jumping from one diet to the next makes you a part of the “diet culture” and I (with my whole heart mind body and soul) 100 percent disagree with that.
What Works to Stop Weight Gain?
You realized a diet isn’t working (as in you did not enjoy it) and decide to try a new one, but that does not make you a part of said “diet culture”. Do not allow someone to put you down for trying to find what works for you, because you are unique. What works for Jasmine, may not work for Aladdin.
I will also advise that if you are deciding something does not “work” after just a few days or even a week – you may need to try to stick to it a little longer for the stars to allign. Weight loss is not linear. You are looking for an overall downward curve over time. You will not show a weight gain from fat overnight.
If you are looking for the perfect diet, I have a secret to tell you… there isn’t one. You can read more about that here. I will dive into some common popular ‘main stream’ diets in a moment, but I feel there is something more important to discuss with you.
Weight Gain Shame.
The good ole days, before the internet and everyone being in everyone’s business, was a time where if people made fun of you, or put you down, it was not for the world to see.
What I mean is, before keyboard warriors, someone made fun of you for your weight gain by calling you a name in the school yard, on the bus, or even through a game of “telephone”.
Maybe your mom mentioned “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips” or some phrase that made you second guess getting another helping of your grandma’s homemade biscuits and gravy.
Shaming, whether intentional or not, is simply not OK. It’s disgusting. An although I am an advocate for self love and appreciation of your body, I also want to encourage you to have a healthy lifestyle. Just because your diet isn’t working for you now, doesn’t mean that you can’t lose it.
A Pound is A Pound!
Whoever told you that muscled weighs more than fat, lied to you. Scientifically that makes no sense. If you were to put on a scale a pound of muscle tissue and a pound of fat they would both weigh… wait for it… a freaking pound!
A pound of feathers weights the same as a pound of bricks. Just as a pound of broccoli weighs the same as a pound of potato chips. So what I mean is a pound equals a pound.
The difference is the density. A pound of muscle is far more dense than a pound of fat. The more lean muscle and less body fat you have could have you seeing a weight gain (number on the scale) – yet your clothes feel lose or even baggy!
So next time someone tells you a pound of muscle weighs more than a pound of fat… slap them the way Batman slaps Robin in the comic books (no no don’t do that – I don’t condone violence!).
Diet Types to “Fight” Against Weight Gain:
There are MANY diets out there, and this list and descriptions will not cover all of them. I will go over some of the basics. I wanted to give you a single place to refer to for future reference. All of them state they have the benefit of stopping weight gain. (I am not promoting any one specific diet.)
The Ketogenic Diet – “Keto”
Think the Adkin’s Diet but revamped. It is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. In a nutshell – you replace your grams of carbohydrates eaten with fat. The ketogenic diet restricts your carbohydrate intake and claims to have benefits that fight against diabetes, cancer, and other diseases that plague humans today.
The Mediterranean Diet
This diet is based on foods that were available to the areas of Greece and Italy back in the 1960’s. This diet restricts your refined grains (think bread and pasta), processed meat (sausage), and added sugars, and more. There are claims that studies show that in addition to weight loss, the Mediterranean diet helps to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and Type 2 diabetes. This diet restricts your refined grains (think bread and pasta), processed meat (sausage), and added sugars, and more.
The Paleo Diet
Think about a caveman and what they would have eaten and you have the Paleo diet. Eat what you could hunt and scavenge for. This diet restricts sugar, grain, legumes, dairy, and practically anything processed. The Paleo diet claims that if you lead a physically active life, and eat like you had to hunt for your meals, you will have a lower chance of developing heart disease, or become obese.
The Whole 30 Diet
Basically you would stick to foods on the outer edges of the grocery store and nothing on the inner aisles. This diet restricts anything that is not whole, meaning straight from the animal or ground. The Whole 30 diet claims to increase your energy, gives you better sleep, and reduces your cravings for certain foods. It also claims that you will change the way that you think about food.
The Vegan Diet
You are restricted to only plant based foods. Nothing can come from an animal including cheese and honey. The Vegan diets claim to fame is a slimmer waist and better blood sugar control.
Intermittent Fasting (IF)
A different way of eating where you are not so much restricted by the type of foods you are eating, but the timing period of when you eat food. So in other words you have a certain period of time during the day when you are not consuming food, and then in the window of time where you can eat… you eat. Some IF dieters don’t track how much they are eating, they just eat until they are satisfied. Intermittent Fasting claims to have positive effects on your brain function and longevity.
Fasting in general can be beneficial, if your overall calorie goal is still kept in mind.
The Nutritious Life describes this diet as “keto’s more approachable cousin” meaning that you would restrict your carbohydrates on certain days only. It also states to notice your energy levels and decide when you may need more carbohydrates. This style of eating claims to help you lose fat and push past a stall in weight loss.
Counting Macro-nutrients (Macros)
If you have read some of my previous articles, you know I enjoy counting macros personally. You keep track of how many grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you are eating each day to reach an overall calorie goal. There is no real restrictions here, just being mindful of what you are fueling your body with and the macro-nutrients that each of those foods contains. The benefit of counting macos, is that you learn what your food is made up of, and how it can fuel your body. However, it does take some time to learn and is a lot of trial and error.
All the diets listed above have a common goal. A calorie deficit. They are restricting in one area or another to have your calories lower that what you burn in a day.
You Can’t Stop the Weight Gain.
Here we go… if you have skipped down to this section, I do encourage you to read this whole article as I think you will find value in it.
Have you tried many of the diets above and found that each one didn’t working for you? No matter what you try, you step on the scale and see a weight gain. Before you throw in the towel and resolve that there is nothing you can do to lose the weight, let’s discuss some other things that may be going on. This is where the truth may hurt a little.
Trust me when I say that this comes from a place of love and compassion for you.
Unrealistic Expectations for Yourself.
Your diet isn’t working because you have set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Social media has ruined our thoughts on what we should look like. Everyone’s highlight reels are on display making us green with envy of the photoshopped “influencers”. Genetics play a key in aesthetics, and that is just fact. I am not saying you can’t get ripped… but you are not designed to look like someone else. You are made to look like YOU.
Your Mindless Snacking Counts.
Your diet isn’t working because you are not being one hundred percent honest and transparent with yourself. That extra spoon of peanut butter out of the jar, or the spoon you keep in the freezer just to have a taste of ice cream every now and again… adds up. You have to be open to the idea that you may not be tracking every single bite you take. Mindless snacking adds up too. If you are not portioning out your snacks, you could be having an additional 300-500 calories without realizing it.
Too Restrictive with Food Choices.
Your diet isn’t working because you restrict yourself so much during the week that you binge on the weekend. You eat so healthy during the week when you are on a set schedule. Weekends you feel you have earned the freedom to eat what you want… then BAM: weight gain. This is where you need to work on relationships with food. Stop thinking there are “good” and “bad” foods. Working on mindset will be a key ingredient to your success.
Stressing Out on the Scale Number.
Your diet isn’t working because you are stressing over the scale. If you are weighing every single day and letting that number have a say in how your day is going to go, then you are bound to see weight gain often. Why? When you are stressed your body releases cortisol in your blood. When you are not active, this cortisol stays in your body and holds on to fat stores, mostly around your organs. If you are a stress eater, you may be having a calorie increase just by snacking.
Lack of Movement.
Your diet isn’t working because you are not moving your body. If you think you are active because you park your car in the back of the parking lot to walk to and from the grocery store once a week as your exercise, listen… let’s just call a spade a spade and say we need to up the ante. Bottom line is that you have to burn more calories than you are eating…
Final Thoughts on Weight Gain.
If you have done all of these things and I mean ALL OF THEM with an honest and open mind to what you are trying to achieve and your diet isn’t working still, it’s time to do a few tihngs:
- Get a doctor’s appointment and have a full blood work-up panel done to see what might be a bigger issue. There could be hormone issues that a medical professional may be able to help you with.
- Set an appointment with a nutritionist. Someone who is educated and well versed in meal planning and prescription.
- See a therapist. There may be some deep rooted trauma that has you holding on to fear when it comes to food. There is no shame in getting help to get these things sorted out.
Whatever it is that is holding you back from achieving the results that you want, I hope that you will find a way to maneuver around it! I want to see you succeed and stop the weight gain.
I am open to hear your story and offer assistance and guidance. Contact me below, and let’s get started on making the changes necessary to stop the weight gain.