Why am I Gaining Weight? Causes & Weight Loss Maintenance Research

Feb 26 2020

Why am I Gaining Weight? Causes & Weight Loss Maintenance Research

1. During weight maintenance focus on the quality of the foods you eat. Save the strict calorie logging for when you are focused exclusively on weight loss. 

According to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, director of a research project by the Harvard School of Public Health, whom analyzed the nutrition habits of 120,000 plus Americans over a 20 year time frame, stated that even little changes in a person’s diet can cause significant improvements in the long-run.

That’s great news considering that the average American gains almost a pound yearly (20 years = 20 flabby pounds) and certain foods seem to have the highest correlation to that creeping up poundage.

Foods to avoid according to the researchers?

Potatoes are thy enemy!

  • The top offenders for gaining weight are those that are loaded with starch.
  • Potatoes topped the list in pretty much anyway they are made, even baked. 
  • The research goes as far as stating that if eaten daily, an adult can add as much as 1.5 pounds to their weight in four years' time.

Really, just from potatoes?

I don’t want to demonize the poor potato though. The GI Diet has already done a pretty solid job at that. I would be as so bold in stating that most Americans eat their potatoes in the form of salty chips or French fries. What is the last time you had only one serving of either?

My father worked for a major potato chip producer and I was a very chunky kid, go figure?


2. Meats, refined grains, and sweets will sabotage your weight loss.

The Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian research found that eating less is not key for avoiding weight regain. 

Foods are what truly matter.

Meats, simple grains like white bread, and those irresistible sweets are the “bad boys” to avoid.


3. Ditch the soda like a bad habit!

You probably already know that soft drinks, juice or any other sugar flavored drinks made their list of worst foods. 

Furthermore, most individuals that drink them consume two to three servings daily. 

If you want to avoid weight rebound, avoid these beverages.


4. Eat, eat and eat more of the good stuff.

Calories are king for weight loss, but not for preventing weight rebound.

The study at the Harvard School of Public Health also found that increased consumption of some healthy, higher calorie foods predicted less weight regain.

  • Those power foods were whole grains, nuts, yogurt, fruit and veggies.
  • Furthermore, individuals that consumed any type of yogurt on a regular basis, defined as one serving daily, typically lost one pound each year.


High nutrient foods keep you full longer and decrease food cravings.

This is also fairly consistent with the Pen State and Anderson findings that individuals who reported consuming low fat protein sources maintained weight loss.


5. Get up off your booty and move!

Not surprising, the Harvard study and countless others, have found that taking part in daily exercises is an important predictor for preventing weight rebound.

6. It’s Ok, hit the snooze button to avoid weight gain.

Consistent sleep patterns were also an important variable aiding in weight management.

There actually have been quite a few studies highlighting the importance of sleep and weight loss.

One such study by Stanford University found that individuals that sleep less than eight hours per night produced higher level of the hormone ghrelin (stimulates appetite) and less leptin (signals your brain when full).

Naturally, those sleeping more than eight hours per night had a lower percentage of body fat while those who slept the least were the heaviest.

  • Weight and body fat percentage was directly correlated to the subjects sleeping patterns. The fewer hours they slept, the heavier and higher percentage of body fat they had.
  • If weight loss is your goal, aim for eight quality hours per night. It will sure make things easier for you.


7. Cut down on the boob tube time.

No surprise here; the Harvard study found that extended amounts of time watching TV was highly correlated with weight gain. Enough said!


8. Reward and remind yourself.

The Dr. Christopher Sciamanna research found that individuals who developed personal rewards for sticking with their dietary and exercise changes, reported weight maintenance success.

You should do the same and develop a specific rewards system for all your hard work.

Another trick that was also found significant was when people consistently reminded themselves why they needed to keep the pounds off. I'm sure you can think of a few for yourself.


9. Focus on the above tips in concert.

The hope is simple.

Focus on the above weight management tips while eating the right foods and chances are, you won’t gain weight overtime!

Taking it one step further, if your goal is to maintain weight loss, the best way is to focus on nutrition content and changing behaviors daily, not following the same methods you used to lose weight like counting calories.

However, while writing this, I had the thought that the above recommendations seem to overlap, in my mind, with weight loss programming very much so.

There is not one finding above that I would not recommend to an individual looking to also lose weight, excluding the lack of focus on calories and finger pointing at the unfortunate baked potato.

What do you think? Are they really that different?


Fitness Magazine eHow About Los Angeles Times
2021 © Changing Shape - All rights reserved.