With all the New Year’s Resolutions and goal setting for 2021 around losing weight, there’s never been a better time for a quick refresher on the top 10 ways to NOT gain weight.
And here’s a spoiler:
Not one of these ways has anything to do with how often you workout for a couple of reasons.
First, while working out can help you lose weight, it also “tricks” many people into overindulging on food they shouldn’t eat. For example, this is when you go to the gym for an hour and then reward yourself with an entire package of Oreos after.
And second, working out doesn’t actually result in weight loss. It’s a way to become healthier — but it only makes a miniscule impact on your weight.
Instead, each of these ten reasons will be a mix of common sense and “hidden” ways you’re gaining weight. Many of the 10 reasons below have nothing to do with your diet or nutrition habits either.
So buckle in, grab some popcorn (kidding!), and discover the 10 things you can do to NOT gain weight (even if you’ve binged during the holidays, always need to eat out, or have struggled with your weight for most of your life).
1. Pick a diet and stick to it
I told you some of these would be common sense 😉
If you hate dieting, I have some good news and bad news for you:
Let’s start with the bad news:
Unfortunately, this is the most impactful way to NOT gain weight. The saying “abs are made in the kitchen” is true — and to achieve real, sustainable weight loss, you need to fix the food you’re putting into your mouth.
But here’s the good news:
Just because you diet, doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the foods you love forever.
It’s better to use the Pareto Principle (aka the 80/20 rule) to help with your eating habits.
The Pareto Principle comes from Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto — and it basically describes human life. Here’s a quick example of his theory working in real life: you probably spend 80% of your time in your house in 20% of the rooms. And this is true for almost everything — including your diet.
Here’s what it means for you:
If you eat the “right” foods 80% of the time, you can indulge in the “wrong” foods the other 20% of the time. And if you want to take it up a notch, you can make diet-friendly desserts — for example, here’s a link to the top 10 keto dessert recipes and here’s a link to the best paleo holiday recipes. (Pssst, we have a TON of more helpful and delicious recipes for you too here.)
Not only will this help NOT gain any more weight (and even lose weight), it will also help you stick with your diet for the long-haul.
The problem with most diets today is that they’re simply not sustainable.
The standard advice on dieting is this:
If your calories in are less than your calories out, you’ll lose weight.
And this is true — but it’s a misguided truth. (More good news: I’m giving you full permission to never count calories again… and more on this in reason #2…)
When you restrict calories, you also slow down your metabolism. (I won’t get into all the science-y stuff here.) And as you keep restricting your calories in, your metabolism gets slower and slower.
This is why people who lose weight because of a diet usually gain their weight back (and then some!) as soon as they quit their diet and return to their old eating habits.
That’s why it’s important to pick a diet that works for you. For example, keto works really well for some people, but makes other people miserable.
Spend a week or two trying out different diets and see what works best for you. Your goal shouldn’t be to lose as much weight as possible in the least amount of time — instead, you should pick something that you can stick with 80% of the time (without constantly getting “hangry” or feel like you’re starving yourself).
The most important part of your diet should be choosing real food instead of the processed garbage that fills most of the supermarkets. Real food fills you up more (more on that later…) and it’s not nearly as addicting as most of the foods that Americans shove into their mouths.
Let’s move into our second way to NOT gain weight — which is also tied to your diet…
2. Eat more proteins and fats
One of the biggest diets that exploded in popularity over the past few years has been the ketogenic diet (aka keto). If you’re unfamiliar with the diet, it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet that helps people rapidly lose weight by switching their fuel source from glucose (which comes from carbs) to ketones (which comes from fats).
Now, I’m not saying you have to fully embrace the keto lifestyle. (But if you do, we have loads of delicious keto-friendly recipes here.)
All I’m saying is to incorporate more proteins and healthy fats into your diet.
Proteins and fats are more satiating than carbs. That means they fill you up more — so you’re not always struggling with yourself in your head to make better decisions when you’re hungry.
In fact, back in 2005, a group of researchers conducted a clinical trial studying the effects of increasing protein intake in a group of 19 overweight individuals.
Increasing protein intake to 30% of total calories caused a massive drop in calorie intake. Specifically, the participants lost an average of 11 pounds over a period of 12 weeks.
And they changed nothing else in their diet! (If you’d like to learn more about this study and how protein can help you NOT gain weight, check out this post — The Trick For Losing Weight Without Counting Calories.)
Fats can also be more satiating than protein because they’re the last thing to leave your digestive tract — meaning, you feel fuller for longer.
And if you need help adding more protein to your diet, you can check out our protein powder supplements here.
Alright, let’s continue into the third way to NOT gain weight — which is also tied to your dieting habits.
3. Not paying attention to WHEN you eat
It’s better to eat at certain times of the day than it is to eat at other times of the day. For example, eating right before bed is one of the worst times you could eat.
But more than this is eating on a consistent schedule every day. One study in particular has shown that people who eat at regular times feel less hungry before their meal and more full after their meal. So eating at a different time every day could make you feel hungrier and eat more. Plus, it can mess with your metabolism, appetite, and digestion.
But let’s take this a step further:
Another wildly popular health “trick” is something called intermittent fasting (aka IF). It’s the idea that by restricting what times you eat, you’ll consume less food, which leads to more control over your weight.
The most popular intermittent fasting approach is the 16:8 method. This means that you have an 8-hour “feeding window” every day followed by 16 hours of fasting.
For example, let’s say your feeding window is from 12 pm until 8 pm. This means you can eat whatever you want between noon and 8 pm, but you can’t eat anything outside of this window. (You could also make your feeding window from 9 am until 5 pm if you can’t live without your breakfast.)
Not to mention, it also builds discipline which will help you avoid excessive snacking. Which leads me into my next reason…
4. Stop buying junk food
One of the biggest culprits for gaining weight is excessively eating snacks — especially “junk food.”
Did you know that “junk food” is as addicting (if not, more addicting) than cocaine? The reason is because it hijacks your reward system in your brain, the same way drugs do.
That’s why Lays potato chips have the slogan “betcha can’t eat just one.”
And the easiest way to stop over consuming junk food (besides methods we already discussed in this article), is to simply stop buying it.
Here’s why it’s so important to NOT have junk food laying around your house:
Your willpower is a finite resource.
Back in 1998, a group of researchers ran an experiment uncovering how willpower works.
Here’s what they did:
There were 2 groups of people given a frustrating task to complete. Before they started, one group was given radishes while the other group was given chocolate chip cookies.
And both groups were presented with both foods.
The group given radishes gave up on the frustrating task much quicker than the group given cookies because the radish group depleted their willpower tank by resisting the cookies — so they didn’t have as much willpower to finish the task as the group given cookies.
Every time you see junk food in your house, it tests your willpower. Eventually, your tank will be on E and you’ll dive “fist-first” into the nearest bag of processed garbage.
So the easy solution is to simply stop buying junk food. (Plus, it’ll save you a boatload of cash.)
And instead, replace it with a healthier snacking option.
If you’re looking for a healthier snacking option, I couldn’t recommend Think Jerky’s jerky enough.
Not only does it contain a ton of protein which will help you cure your “hunger bug,” doesn’t contain a ton of unhealthy ingredients, GMOs, or sugars, but they’re DELICIOUS! (Just be careful… my family DEVOURED several sample packs in 48 hours because it was so tasty.)
We sell two types of Think Jerky jerky:
1. Sriracha Honey Free-Range Turkey Jerky (available here).
2. Grass-Fed Beef Jerky (available here).
Okay, let’s dive into our last food-related way to NOT gain weight.
5. Mindlessly eating
I’m willing to bet almost every accidental snack binging session you’ve had is because of mindless eating.
Mindless eating is so dangerous to your weight loss goals because, you guessed it, you’re doing it mindlessly!
The two most common situations where we tend to mindlessly eat include:
1. At social gatherings
2. When you’re watching tv
The worst part about mindlessly eating is that we don’t do it because we’re hungry! Instead it’s more of a way to “give your hands something to do” (queue Ricky Bobby’s interview) while you’re at a social gathering or catching up on The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix.
Instead of mindlessly eating, try mindful eating.
Mindful eating might seem a little odd if you’re not into meditation, but it works like crazy (and it’s simple to do).
Next time you sit down to eat, take a few seconds to TASTE your food. That means not swallowing it at warp speed so you can siphon down your next bite. Instead, take a few extra seconds to chew the food in your mouth and taste it.
Not only will mindful eating help you eat slower and less (two biggie reasons for unexpected weight gain), but it actually makes your food taste better too. Win-win 🙂
Alright, that wraps up all of our food-related ways to NOT gain weight. Let’s dive into some other ways you’re accidentally causing yourself to gain weight (that aren’t related to food).
6. Drinking too many calories
You sabotage your chances of losing weight every time you drink too many calories — whether it comes from alcohol, sugary sodas, or even juices (that you might think are healthy!).
It’s easy to neglect how many calories we consume when we drink alcohol and soda. A 2007 study found that the average American drinks 22% of their daily calories!
By simply switching your drinks to water, La Criox, or Zevia (a zero calorie soda alternative that uses Stevia), you will stop weight gain in its tracks!
Which leads me right into my next reason…
7. Not drinking enough water
Think of water as your secret weapon for weight loss. And there’s a few reasons why water is your new secret weapon.
For starters, it’s estimated that up to 75% of Americans are dehydrated. This is a problem because when you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to feel fatigued, you’re more likely to confuse thirst with hunger, and it can even slow down your metabolism.
Another reason why water is your new secret weapon is because switching from a sugary drink to water can save you 200 calories a day (or more, depending on how many sugary drinks you drink).
And the final reason why water is your weight loss secret weapon is that it curbs your appetite! One study found that people who drink 2 cups of water right before breakfast ate 22% less than the group that didn’t drink water.
Plus, if you find water boring, try adding a few slices of cucumbers, lemons, or any other fruit to spice it up a bit for your tastebuds.
Alright, let’s move onto our next non-food related reason.
8. Too much stress
We all have stressful lives during a normal year. But this year has turned up everyone’s stress levels to 11 — according to the American Psychological Association 67% of Americans feel more stressed this year compared to a normal year.
When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress. When you have high cortisol levels in your body, you’re more likely to eat more food — especially junk food. Constant stress is also linked to higher levels of body fat mostly due to craving “comfort food” (aka junk food).
There’s a few ways you can reduce your stress.
Regular exercise, meditation, yoga, mindfulness (like we talked about in point #5!), and deep breathing exercises are good ways to ease your stress levels. Another big factor (which leads me into point #9…) is getting good sleep each night.
Before we get into the next point, I want to mention supplements that can reduce your stress levels.
All natural supplements such as adaptogens, omega-3-rich oils, homeopathics, and magnesium help your body adapt to stress, support brain and nervous system health, and improve your mood. You can browse all of our all natural supplements that can help you manage your stress better here.
9. Not getting enough sleep every night
More than one third of Americans don’t get enough sleep each night. And about 70% report that they have at least one night per month where they don’t get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation (even in mild forms) wreaks havoc on your weight loss goals for several reasons.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to be hungrier because lack of sleep increases your hunger hormone levels. You also tend to have a lack of motivation to exercise. And when you don’t eat, you’re more likely to make bad food choices — for example, choosing a bag of Lay’s Potato Chips instead of sliced cucumbers.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it slows down your metabolism because it interferes with your body’s circadian rhythm.
Not to mention, people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to gain belly fat.
If you feel like you never get a good night’s sleep and want some tips that will make it easier for you, check out this post — Top 10 Tips for Restful & Refreshing Sleep.
Or you can try an all natural sleep aid such as melatonin, magnesium, rhodiola rosea, and baobab which helps combat insomnia, anxiety and stress, circadian rhythm disorders, shift work sleep disorder, frequent night wakings, and other factors that lead you to not getting the rest you need. You can check out all our all natural sleep aids here.
10. Supercharge your weight loss goals with supplements
I’ve already mentioned several all natural supplements that have nothing to do with weight loss that will help you NOT gain weight — including protein powder supplements, stress-regulating supplements, and sleep aid supplements.
Now for the elephant in the room:
Weight loss supplements.
The problem with most weight loss supplements is that they’re overly hyped up by marketers — and they under-deliver on the results you get from them. That leads most people to automatically “tune out” when they hear weight loss supplements.
They’ve even tried them and were disappointed or know someone who tried them and had subpar results.
Here’s why the supplements at Nourishing World are different:
For one, none of the supplements we sell are labeled as “diet pills.” We don’t sell any kind of “diet pill” that promises you to help you lose 20 pounds overnight. (And most diet pills are filled with dangerous toxins and chemicals that negatively impact your health.)
A magic pill that instantly helps you lose weight doesn’t exist. And you should be cautious when you come across any diet pill that makes this promise.
The biggest difference between our supplements that support weight loss vs your standard “diet pill” is that we only promote whole food supplements. Whole food supplements not only help your body get all the nutrients you need, but they also help you fend off weight gain by reducing your appetite, boosting your metabolism, and burning fat.
Now, none of them will make you shed 20 pounds of fat overnight. But, they will prevent excessive fat gain — especially when they’re used along with the other recommendations in this post.
Or if you’d like to browse our full collection of supplements that help your body get the nutrients you need that will help you fend off weight gain — you can browse our all-natural weight loss and diet supplements here.
And that wraps up this post! If you follow all of these recommendations, I have no doubt you’ll fend off weight gain (even if you’re not exercising regularly). But even just following one of the recommendations will make a massive impact on your weight, mood, and confidence!