There are a few common for weight gain (or difficulty losing excess weight). The good news? There’s a lot we can do to maintain a healthy weight, and have enough energy to keep moving all day.
There are 6 main factors affecting weight gain (or loss):
Our bodies use between 100-800 calories per day processing what we eat (i.e. digesting, storing, absorbing, and transporting food). Since this number varies, it’s important to maintain the caloric intake your doctor, nutritionist, or trainer recommends.
Physical activity—any deliberate and incidental movement we do throughout the day–is how the body burns the rest of the calories it uses each day. Low physical activity is the most common reason for our struggles with weight loss.
Body size and muscle mass:
Larger bodies–particularly those with more muscle mass– burn more calories than smaller ones (or bodies with more fat).
Your biological sex:
Men typically have more muscle mass, less body fat, and larger bodies than women, making it easier for most men to burn calories and keep off excess weight.
When we age, our muscle mass decreases (while our body fat increases), making it more difficult for us to burn calories and lose weight.
Although it’s the most cited reason for weight retention, metabolism (the way the body converts food into energy) is one of the least likely reasons we can’t lose weight. Still, it can play a role in weight loss difficulties, particularly if you have certain medical or hormonal disorders.
While there are a variety of factors related to weight gain (or difficulty in weight loss)–that we can’t change or control, there’s one we can. Here are three ways you can increase physical activity [and muscle mass], to reach your weight loss goals.
Start strength training.
Muscle burns more calories than fat tissue (even at rest). Regular strength training–like weightlifting or using hand weights–is a great way to speed up calorie-burning and weight loss.
Increase aerobic exercise
This is a super-efficient way to burn calories, and there are a lot of fun ways to do it. Try walking, riding your bike, or going for a swim to start.
No matter what: keep moving!
Getting fit doesn’t have to involve grueling workouts. You can move more in your daily routine. Exercise while you watch TV, ride bikes with a friend, or play with your kids. Any movement will help you stay healthy, and keep your body running efficiently.
It seems impossible to lose weight until we realize it’s as simple as staying active and building strength. These simple strategies can help all of us reach and maintain our healthy weight loss goals.
Which of these strategies has worked for you? What are you excited to try next? Tell us more in the comments!