Usually during a period of weight gain, we don’t tend to realise or notice until were like a stone heavier, or perhaps a couple of stone. Life can get in the way, and the less we pay attention to our body, the more likely it is that weight can creep on. Its easy to also just eat without thinking and because we are not stuffed from these foods, they appear harmless. Since stopping competing in May i’ve been relaxing with my food. Now don’t get me wrong, my diet is still healthy, however, there has been extras within my diet which have made me gain. The other day I stepped on the scales and I was 11st 4lbs (Im 5’8). This is the heaviest I have been, before my fitness journey, I was 11st 2lbs. I know this is not massively heavy, but in May I was 10st 2lbs therefore this is quite a difference. Some might say ‘it’s probably muscle’ or ‘you can’t be gaining because you exercise alot’. Well in actual fact, I went back to tracking my calories and macros and seen EXACTLY why I have gained more weight.
So for a start, I was snacking when I wasn’t hungry. Rewarding myself when I had a busy day with foods – for example, such as raw caramel slices (healthy ingredients but very high in fat –fat =9kcals per gram, whereas carbs and protein 4kcals per gram). This can easily take you over your calorie limit. I would also snack on raw cashews, again, eye balling portion sizes and over indulging. If you’ve ever weighed out 25g of nuts which is the suggested portion size, you will know what I mean about misjudging the ‘palm size portion. Whoever said fats fill you up, lie! Other things which had lead to gaining is snacking after eating, this could be a few oat cakes and nut butter, or fruit. At one point I was buying packs of mango and pineapple and eating the lot in one go. Usually this was when I hadn’t added sweet potato or rice to my meals so obviously my body’s way of asking for carbohydrates. I was also over portioning my meals, and would not stop eating until my plate was empty. Rather than eating until I was 75% full. Which im trying to do now.
It turns out the added snacks was exceeding my required intake by 500-700kcals. It’s generally understood that 1 pound contains 3,500 calories. Logically, eating an extra 3,500 calories, or 500 more calories each day for a week, will lead to a 1-pound weight gain. How easy is this to then gain 4lb in a month? Its crazy. Luckily, the same applies for losing weight. So eating 500kcal less per day can lead to a 1lb weight loss per week. You could burn around 250kcals in the gym and eat 250kcals less to make it a less obvious change to your diet.
So imagine you just having ‘2 foxes biscuits per day’ = 300kcals or ‘only a packet of crisps’ =200kcals. These empty calories can soon add up. Same goes for alcoholic beverages, for example in one bottle beer there are approx 200kcals, one glass of wine (small glass) approx 120kcals.
If you wondering why you’re gaining weight, be more mindful about what you’re putting in your mouth. Keep a food & drink journey, be honest, if you bite it write it. Review the diary after a week. Decide what you could have gone without and how it made you feel. I track my food using an app called ‘myfitnesspal’. It’s easy and free to set up, and can be a good visual guide to food which can tip you over your limit. If you’re wondering how you find your calorie goal, use a calorie calculator on google and this will take into account your current age, weight, height and activity level. It will then work out a number for you to aim for daily.
Hope this is helpful to your journey,
Love Pearl 😀 x