You’ve been living a healthy lifestyle for months now, but the weight on your scale doesn’t reflect that. Maybe the number is the same as it’s been for the last several months or maybe the scale is saying you’ve gained a few pounds. What the heck? There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like all of you’re hard work is going to waste. Don’t let it stress you out though. Pay attention to these 8 things — one of them might be the reason you’re experiencing weight gain:

Your Own Birth Control Pills

If you’re new to birth control or you’ve recently changed your brand or dosage, that could be the reason you’re gaining weight. No matter how far medicine has come, side effects are typically inevitable. We’re not all the same, which means none of us reacts to medicine in the same way. Birth control messes with your hormones, so weight gain is without a doubt possible. If you recently started taking birth control and the number on your scale has gone up a few pounds, that might be why. Talk to your doctor.

You’re All About Cardio

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that you’re exercising. Working out, and eating healthy, are the best ways to lose weight! But don’t limit yourself when you’re at the gym. What I mean is, you shouldn’t just focus on one form of exercise like cardio. Cardio gets you sweaty but it actually doesn’t burn that many calories. After about 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill, you start to burn muscle instead of fat.

If you’re going to do cardio, introduce some high intensity. For example, run for a minute and walk for 30 seconds every 5 minutes. The point is to continuously get your heart rate up, lower it, and get it back up again so you can burn fat and not muscle.

You Have Bacterial Overgrowth

It’s possible for too much bacteria to grow in your body. If that’s happening, it’s no wonder it feels like you’ve gained weight — you have, due to bloating and constipation. Bloating (aka water retention) is one of the most common symptoms of bacterial growth. The best thing you can do is speak to your doctor about this because treatment varies. Some people who produce too much bacteria need a high fiber diet while others need a low fiber diet. Experiment and see what works for you.

You’re Unknowingly Dehydrated

You might not even realize how dehydrated you are which is why it’s so important to pay attention to your water intake. Do you typically drink a lot of water? If not, does that mean you’re mainly drinking juice or coffee? I understanding wanting to indulge but dehydration can cause you to think you’re hungry when you’re really just thirsty. Instead of grabbing some chips every time your stomach grumbles, drink water and see if that helps.

You’re Not Eating Enough

You might think skipping out on meals will help you lose weight. It won’t. It’ll actually slow down your metabolism which will cause food to stick around longer in your system. The best way to lose weight is to speed up your metabolism, not slow it down. Make sure you’re eating meals throughout the day!

You Have An Undiagnosed Food Allergy

If you’re gaining weight, even though you’re maintaining a healthy diet,  it might be due to a food allergy. You can eat all the whole grains you want, but if you’re allergic to gluten it’s not going to benefit you one bit. Keep a food diary and write down what you’re eating throughout the day. If you’re constantly experiencing constipation from the same types of foods (gluten, dairy, etc.) you could have an allergy which could be causing the extra pounds.

You Work Too Much

Being a workaholic isn’t actually a good thing! Working too much can cause your stress levels to peak, which in turn, causes weight gain. Cortisol, the stress hormone in your body, stimulates appetite. So, the higher your cortisol levels are the more likely you are to constantly be snacking. Regardless if you have a time-consuming job or not, it’s so important you make time to focus on yourself and your own self-care.

You Don’t Weigh Yourself Enough

Constantly standing on the scale is never a good idea. Weight fluctuates all the time. What you weigh today is going to be different than what you weigh tomorrow, the next day, and so on. If you’re going to weigh yourself it’s best to do it at the same time and day. For example, every Monday at 8 a.m. That’s the best way to make sure your results are at least semi-accurate.

Even though you shouldn’t solely rely on a scale number to determine how you feel about yourself, it’s smart to weigh yourself at least a couple times a month to make sure you catch your weight gain as early as possible.

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