By: Matt Weik
Did you know that just because you decided to start eating healthy doesn’t mean you’ll magically lose weight? It’s somewhat of a hard pill to swallow as you’re making a huge lifestyle change by completely changing your nutrition to help you achieve your weight loss goal, yet for many, they are still gaining weight. What gives? This can cause much frustration, but there are some key things you need to pay attention to in order to make the process much easier.
There are many different factors that come into play when it comes to eating healthy and gaining weight. For starters, you could be gaining lean muscle mass – which is a good thing! By increasing your lean body mass, it could help boost your metabolism, which in turn could help you more effectively burn body fat and aid in dropping some unwanted weight and body fat. But if you see your weight creep up on the scale and you get your body fat tested, you may be shocked to find your body fat percentage is actually on the rise.
Why would you be gaining weight when you’re eating healthy? Below are a few common reasons and what you need to pay close attention to. Once you better understand these potential reasons for gaining weight while eating healthy, you can make the necessary changes to help get your weight loss journey back on the right path.
A common misconception is that just because you’re eating healthy foods, you can eat as much as you want since it’s “healthy.” While that may sound great, and you’ve heard someone say it before, it’s simply untrue.
What it all boils down to, regardless of whether the calories are healthy or unhealthy, is calories themself. You could eat a huge healthy meal that has a total of 1,000 calories and then eat a small unhealthy meal that has a total of 800 calories, and at the end of the day, you’ve still consumed 200 extra calories through the “healthy” meal. It’s “total calories” at the end of each day. Eating in a surplus, even when eating healthy, is still a surplus.
You may have thought you were doing everything right, but your results (or lack thereof) will show something still isn’t right. Portion control is still just as important with healthy food as it is with unhealthy food. Overeating on either side could cause you to continue gaining weight.
If you sit down for a meal, pay close attention to your portion control. While your focus should be on lean protein sources, clean carbohydrates, and healthy fats, in the wrong portions, it could absolutely have you gaining weight and causing you to pull your hair out. Just because extra virgin olive oil has been deemed a healthy cooking oil doesn’t mean you can pour half of the bottle into a pan when preparing your food.
The same can be said with healthy snacks. You still want to be aware of how much you are eating. Just because you grab a healthy snack out of the pantry doesn’t mean you should eat the entire bag. Read the nutrition label and portion out how much you should eat based on the recommended serving size and how it aligns with your caloric and macronutrient goals and needs.
For instance, MPA Iso Poofs are a delicious snack that you can enjoy any time of day. But knowing the portion size is critical in knowing where your calories and macros fall for the day. One serving of our mouth-watering MPA Iso Poofs Apple Cinnamon will provide you with 100 calories, 19g of quality protein, 2g of carbohydrates, and 2g of fat.
Eating healthy can allow you to consume a higher volume of food, but you still need to be aware of where your calories fall at the end of the day. Green leafy vegetables don’t contain a large number of calories, and therefore, you can consume more of them, and your total calories for a meal can remain somewhat low. Add in some healthy fruit, and you may see a jump in your calories from the natural sugars.
While eating healthy can help prevent you from gaining weight, eating healthy foods in excess can still have you gaining weight due to how many calories you are taking in versus how many calories you are burning each day.
You have probably heard the old “calories in versus calories out” statement before. If you consume 2,500 calories and you only burn 2,000 per day, you’ll find yourself in a 500-calorie surplus. If you do that for seven days, that equates to a surplus of 3,500 calories, which is theoretically one pound you could gain during that week.
Deciding to change your nutrition by eating healthy is a great lifestyle change. But you can’t forget your daily caloric and macronutrient requirements. Consume enough calories to hit your maintenance, and your weight will remain the same. Consume more calories to put yourself into a surplus, and you may find you’re gaining weight. Consume fewer calories than your maintenance, and you may find you’re more easily able to lose weight.
Your results will ultimately come down to calories in and calories out. It’s a numbers game. While many people hate math, it’s what’s going to either move you closer to your weight loss goal or further away.
How can you ensure you’re not consuming too many calories each day and putting yourself into a caloric surplus (while also bypassing the need to do math)? Well, that leads us to our final topic of this article.
You don’t know what you don’t know, and without a food tracker (or at a minimum, a piece of paper and pen), how do you know how many calories or macronutrients you are taking in each day? You can’t “eyeball” your nutrition and know you’re hitting your numbers. “Close enough” only works when throwing horseshoes or grenades.
Now, it’s understandable that using a food tracker can be somewhat of an inconvenience, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll quickly and effortlessly be able to track your meals and snacks as if it were second nature.
Using a food tracker is a great way to help prevent yourself from going into a caloric surplus and gaining weight. One of the easiest and most user-friendly food trackers out there is the MyFitnessPal app that you can download for free to your smartphone. It has a seamless and streamlined interface that anyone can quickly pick up and start using. The free version is more than enough for most people, but they do have a paid version that gives you more control and options within the app (which you choose is entirely up to you).
During meals and snacks, you can search for what you are eating, or if it has a barcode on the packaging, simply scan it and enter your serving size (this circles back to #1).
In the end, if you want to stop gaining weight while eating healthy, you need to focus on the things mentioned in this article and hit your caloric numbers for the day. Weight loss is a numbers game. Some people treat it like a game to see just how close they can get to their target calories and macronutrients for the day by using an app like MyFitnessPal.
Give the above some thought and determine where you may be going wrong with your weight loss and why you may be gaining weight while eating healthy. With a few simple adjustments, you can start seeing the weight shed off in no time.