When You Haven’t Changed Anything… But Your Pants Don’t Fit

I’m no stranger to that struggle.

You’re positive that you’re not eating more food or “junkier” food but you’re still gaining weight. And you don’t think you just shrunk your clothes, are PMSing, or haven’t taken a good poop. How could this happen?

You’re not going crazy. You’re not alone.

Here’s why your favourite seasonal fashion staples might be feeling a bit snug these days.

The “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic, outdated view of how weight management works.

There’s definitely more to it than just how many calories you’re eating, right?

A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and what you eat.

But let’s go beyond the tired “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you’re eating the same way you have for years.

Things like:

  • Aging
  • Hormones
  • Sleep
  • Stress

Aging

Funny things happen the older we get. People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, and weight gain, as well as aches and pains. If you work an office job at a desk, you might also be particularly familiar with those aches and pains.

Aging can result in hormonal changes for both men and women. And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies. Women tend to pack more around the hips and thighs, while men more so around the waist.

The good news is that this is very common and not your fault.

Hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and as such can be a massive contributor to your weight gain. There are several things that can affect it and throw it off-course.

When your thyroid gets off-course and produces fewer hormones, your metabolism slows down. And when your metabolism slows down, you can gain weight… even though you’re eating the same way you always have.

Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested. Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that I created for you at the end of this post.

Sleep

There’s plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.

And as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep.

The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night at consistent times as much as is possible to help avoid weight gain.

Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. The first place to start is by implementing a calming bedtime routine, like listening to a guided meditation, enjoying a soothing cup of herbal tea (I love lavender and rooibos), and keeping the lights dim.

Stress

You’re not imagining it – it’s everywhere! So many things that can cause stress responses in your body.

And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right?

While you can’t necessarily change all your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them.

Pro Tip:  Try meditation or yoga, mindful eating, journaling. What about those new adult colouring books that are all the rage now? You may even want to look at your work or living situation and do what needs to be done to make a change, even if that might be drastic.

Conclusion:

There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you’re eating the same way you always have. Aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to weight gain, even if you’re eating the same way you always have.

We go deeper with this in my LPFL Body Alchemy program! Learn more here.

Seaweed Sushi Bowl

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Serves 2

  • 1 cup cooked rice (I used black Japonica rice)
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • ½ red pepper, julienne/matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots, julienne/matchsticks
  • 2 Tbsp. dried seaweed (such as nori or arame; I used 4 squares of olive oil SeaSnax, torn up – wasabi flavour is also amazing here!)
  • Small handful microgreens such as broccoli sprouts or pea shoots
  • 4 strips tempeh, cut into small pieces (can use plain or marinated – I like Lightlife smoky BBQ or Tofurky brand sesame garlic); can substitute chickpeas or jackfruit if desired
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp. plain or seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger

Divide the first eight ingredients into two bowls.

Put the rest of the ingredients in a small jar or bottle and shake well to combine.

Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls. You may have some extra.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip:  This is a great lunch to take on the go. Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.

[LPFL Body Alchemy starts as a group online on Wed Nov 28 2018! Use code “alchemytea” at checkout through Nov 26 to get a free tea with your purchase of Body Alchemy.]

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/lose-weight-in-menopause/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss

[Recipe Post] Lower Cortisol with Dessert? Yes Please!

STRESS!!!

Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree?

Our natural “fight or flight” stress response is supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve, well, fought or flew. But, in our society, with stressors basically ever-present – it becomes a long-term reaction. It becomes chronic.

You might already be familiar with the main stress hormone, called “cortisol.”  It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.

Now did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity?

Do you experience any of these? Keep reading – I have a list of foods, nutrients, and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally! Continue reading “[Recipe Post] Lower Cortisol with Dessert? Yes Please!”

[Recipe Post] Cafe-Style Summer Drinks, without the Cafe Lines and Name Typos

With the warmer weather comes patio season, and that often intertwines with frosty cafe beverages with or without caffeine. While I am no stranger to these cafe offerings (especially on a lovely day out or a little walk amongst the shops), it does get pricey to buy one each time. Not to mention the amount of wasteful packaging that might accumulate in your bins, if you’re like us and try to remember to bring a tumbler but don’t always manage (it’s a work in progress).

My classic ice-cold bev tip for when you want that cafe taste but not the expense or the trash OR the questionable additives:

Continue reading “[Recipe Post] Cafe-Style Summer Drinks, without the Cafe Lines and Name Typos”

[Recipe Post] Nostalgic (and Dairy-Free!) Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

I have been dairy-free for over 10 years. Before I broke up with milk products, for the sake of animals as well as my skin and immune system, a favourite food while living at home and eventually on my own was cream of mushroom soup.

You know the kind – condensed and canned, that you need to add however much milk to it to make it “edible”. (And not remotely healthy.)

But I loved it. Continue reading “[Recipe Post] Nostalgic (and Dairy-Free!) Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup”

My 3 Favourite Plant-Power Breakfast Foods + A Savoury Recipe to Try

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?

Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss.  This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it.  So I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favourite new “go-to” breakfasts. Continue reading “My 3 Favourite Plant-Power Breakfast Foods + A Savoury Recipe to Try”

Stay in Bed… All Night Long (for the Other Good Reason)

Do you feel like you’ve had a messy breakup with sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or basically running on fumes all day?

Keep reading! I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) to help you stay in bed all night long… for the other good reason. *ah-wink* Continue reading “Stay in Bed… All Night Long (for the Other Good Reason)”

LoveBites: Stress Management

You know that stress management is important for your health. But what does that really mean? What can you do to reduce stress day-to-day?

Find ways to manage and reduce stress that are also in line with keeping you healthy. Coping mechanisms that are fun while they’re happening but ultimately leave you hurting (e.g. the morning after, sure, but also cumulatively in the future) contribute to the stress on your body.

So what ARE some healthy ways?

✔ yoga and gentle movement
✔ meditation and visualization
✔ journaling
✔ making time for creative expression
✔ aromatherapy
✔ massage therapy
✔ warm baths with Epsom salts
✔ loving sex – both partnered and solo
✔ time with friends – but only if you’re not already feeling over-peopled
✔ mindful eating and drinking – taking time to savour the indulgence
✔ choosing more foods with high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties on a daily basis – eat the rainbow!

There are many more healthy ways to manage stress. What are your favourites? What will you try?

Photo credit @wellnessstockshop

Coffee: To Drink or Not To Drink?

You either love, love, LOVE it (I do!), tolerate it as a means to get through the day, or flat-out hate it. You know if you actually like the taste, or if it’s just a thinly-veiled excuse/vehicle to deliver mounds of sugar and cream to your bloodstream. You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your digestion, your appetite, your mental acuity, etc.).

But then you have all the crazy headlines sending you mixed signals, with some that say coffee is great, and the next day that you should avoid it!

And even more confusing, some people can manage to consume coffee on the regular with seeming ease, citing that it’s their super-power elixir that carries them effortlessly through errands, workouts, homework, and more; while there are others who experience a plethora of not-so-super symptoms ranging from jitters, restlessness, anxiety, digestive distress, and counter-intuitive energy lows and sleepiness after one cup.

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It’s a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you’re used to drinking. Continue reading “Coffee: To Drink or Not To Drink?”