3 Secret Causes of Weight Gain that No One Talks about

Lets discuss the 3 belly fat enemies that no one is talking about! What are the 3 secret causes of weight gain? Keep reading to find out.

You are likely well aware that eating sugar-filled foods increases our blood sugar. High blood sugar leads to an increase in insulin and subsequent fat storage (check out our previous article on insulin and other hormones that promote fat storage). However, did you know sugar in our food is not the only cause of high blood sugar? The most common causes of increased blood sugar aside from sugar-filled food include stress, eating processed carbohydrates and poor sleep. The goal here is to empower you to make healthier choices and understand why you may be struggling with weight, especially if you’re someone who has tried a bunch of diets that haven’t worked. Losing belly fat is about much more than simply counting calorie, but rather it’s about making sustainable lifestyle changes that address the root cause of your weight gain. 

Enemy #1 – STRESS: Stress Contributes to Belly Fat and Weight Gain

Do you believe you live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe? This is your choice. Ultimately, your perspective on the world around you will determine how much stress you experience. Stress is intimately connected to weight gain, which is why it is imperative we have effective strategies for reducing our stress response as best we can. Stress leads to an increase in cortisol, which has 2 main effects. First, high cortisol is going to raise your blood sugar! As we just discussed, high blood sugar leads to high insulin, which ultimately leads to increase body fat. Elevated cortisol from stress also will cause an increase in the hormone Ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite. When you’re stressed, what do you reach for… the apple or the cookies? Not only are we raising our blood sugar from stress, but also from the food choices we’re making as a result of being stressed. The end results? More belly fat. Interestingly, our fat cells are responsible for making cortisol, which can create a cycle of more and more weight gain. 

Enemy #2 – PROCESSED CARBOHYDRATES: Processed Carbohydrates is among the Biggest Causes of Belly Fat

Processed carbohydrates are among the biggest causes of belly fat, even if there isn’t any added sugar in them. The most common processed carbohydrate people consume are white flour and white rice. White flour and white rice are made up mostly of a starch called amylopectin. When we take a bite of that cookie or piece of bread, digestive enzymes rapidly break down the starch into pure glucose, which then enters our blood, raises our blood sugar and insulin. In general, carbohydrates are not bad or harmful. For example, healthy forms of carbohydrates can be found in fruits and root vegetables. Why? Fruits and root vegetables in their whole food form (meaning unprocessed) contain polyphenols and fiber, both of which help keep our blood sugar in a healthy range. However, when you strip away all the fiber from fruit and consume fruit juice, this will cause an increased blood sugar. A general rule of thumb is the more processed a food containing carbohydrates is, whether it’s fruit in the form of fruit juice, potatoes in the form of chips, or corn in the form of corn flour, the more it’s going to raise your blood sugar. The goal then is to consume foods in their whole form as much as you possibly can! 

Enemy #3 – POOR SLEEP: Poor Sleep Quality and Poor Sleep Quantity cause Weight Gain 

Sleep is one of the foundational pillars of health, and it’s no exception when we’re talking about achieving a healthy weight. Feeling tired is not the only negative consequence that comes from a bad night of sleep. We know from research sleep negatively impacts your immune system, your brain function, your risk of autoimmune disease and cancer, and your body weight. Quality and quantity are both important factors when we’re talking about getting a good night of sleep. When we don’t sleep well, we start to become insulin resistant, which causes an increase in blood sugar and subsequent weight gain. Poor sleep also reduces leptin (our hormone that tells us we’re full) and increases ghrelin (our hormone that tells us we’re hungry). 

I want to tie this all together for you. Let’s say you’re experiencing a lot of stress, which is going to raise your cortisol. High cortisol not only increases blood sugar, insulin, and fertilizes the fat cells around our belly, but also can prevent us from getting a good night of sleep. Now, we’re not sleeping well, which further exacerbates our blood sugar and insulin resistance, causing more weight gain. All this stress and not sleeping well significantly increases our appetite and cravings, so we typically end up reaching for processed carbohydrates, which further promotes weight gain. We have to break this cycle, and it starts with our lifestyle. 

I promise you, there is so much hope for you! With the right guidance, I know you can make the changes that will not only help you lose the belly fat and achieve your ideal weight, but also dramatically improve your health. Remember, losing weight is a powerful side-benefit of helping your body get healthier. If you’d like to find out how we can support your weight loss journey on a deeper and more personalized level, ask us about our ReBody Weight Loss Program to help you transform your body and your health! In the mean time, you can explore the many nourishing recipes on the blog. I look forward to guiding you through your health journey.