What to Do When You Gain Weight

Typically I don’t talk about much about my weight here, but today I’m doing it. I think gaining weight is an important topic to address — everyone goes through it and I don’t think it’s shameful to talk about.

I’m human. Yes, I’m a health coach and personal trainer. And yes I’m all about healthy living, but there are still times where I struggle with gaining weight. I love food and I wasn’t blessed with genetics that allow me to eat whatever the heck I want, whenever I want. I have to work hard to stay at a healthy weight.

I also want to be transparent and real so I’m putting it out there… I’ve gained about 10 pounds. I realize that’s not a ton of weight in the grand scheme of things. I’ve never been one to focus on the number and let it determine my happiness — I honestly couldn’t care less about that number. It’s more about putting on a pair of jeans from last year and not being able to zip them. I want to be able to wear all my clothes and feel comfortable in them. I want to look in the mirror and feel good about my body.

It’s also about being honest with myself and realizing what brought me to this place. I didn’t gain the weight overnight — it’s been adding up gradually, probably over the course of a year. When I look back to what could have caused it, I think these are the main things:

  1. Not enough physical activity. I work from home and typically only get in physical movement when I workout. I do have a stand-up desk that I use often, but I’m still stationary. Most days by mid-afternoon I’ve only taken around 1,000 steps.
  2. Cooking/baking all the time to create new recipes. It’s really hard for me not to taste test things when I’m making them. Sometimes it’s not a big deal and I don’t care — I was hungry and I ate something I made — it’s fine. Other times (mainly with sweets) it’s frustrating because one taste-test bite leads to eating way more than I had planned. And then there’s the leftovers… they sit on the counter calling my name! Basically, if there’s something tasty in the house (especially a homemade baked good) I’m all over it. It’s especially hard since my office is right beside the kitchen. I’m sure I’m not the only one that struggles with this. It seems like many chefs, bakers, cookbook authors, home cooks and other food bloggers probably deal with the same issues. Naturally, we’re all food lovers and it’s hard to stop eating when something is delicious.
  3. Snacking. I feel like my snacking gets a little out of control sometimes. The mid-afternoon snacking between lunch and dinner is often the worst. Most of the time I’m not even hungry, I’m just bored. I get up to do something and somehow end up in the kitchen looking for a snack without even realizing it. Lots of the snacky foods I like to eat (trail mix, nuts, etc) lead to overeating for me. I have one portion and then go back for 3-4 more handfuls.
  4. Hormonal issues. I went off birth control after being on it for 12 years and I think my body is still trying to figure out what’s going on.

I’ve been brainstorming and talking with Isaac about different solutions and came up with some new goals that I’m starting this month to help get the situation under control.

  1. Try to get at least 10,000 steps a day. I wear my Polar Loop every day and usually (even on the days when I workout) I don’t get all my steps. My new goal is to get all 10,000 each day. If I take one or two short walks throughout the day I should have no problem reaching this goal. Hopefully the warm spring weather will start soon and I’ll be more excited to walk outside.
  2. Put more focus on meal recipes instead of treats. If I do make treats, have a purpose for making them and share them with others.
  3. No mindless snacking. If I feel like I need something special in the afternoon I’ll have a cup of tea, coffee or a sparkling water and see how I feel. If I’m truly hungry and need a snack I will put the food on a plate and eat it without doing anything else. No more standing in the kitchen picking at a bunch of different snack options. This one is going to take some mindfulness and practice!
  4. Work with my acupuncturist to balance my hormones.

Graphic of tips from a health coach about what to do when you gain weight back that you had previously lost.

In addition, I’m following the same basic guidelines I give all my health coaching clients:

  1. Drink more water.
  2. Make sure I’m getting enough sleep. <– This one is huge!
  3. Keep a consistent workout routine — my current routine includes Kayla Itsines workouts, Pure Barre and walking.
  4. Make sure each meal has protein, carbs and a healthy fat and watch my portion sizes. Maybe I’ll even break out my 21 Day Fix containers.
  5. Make sure my meals are large enough to be filling and satisfying. This is so crucial and helps with snacking — if a meal isn’t satisfying I find myself looking for something else to eat 30 minutes later. An example of making a salad more satisfying would be add a bunch of toppings including things like sweet potato chunks or apple slices. I love the sweet flavor they add and it makes the salad feel more decadent.
  6. Eat as many veggies as I’d like. <— I’m a volume eater so veggies and big salads are my best friends!
  7. Limit the processed foods.
  8. Allow myself to have treats like a glass of wine or chocolate when I want it so that I never feel deprived.
  9. Keep myself accountable by tracking my meals and workouts. I’m excited because MyFitnessPal is now integrated with the Polar Loop.
  10. Tell friends and family about my goals to keep myself accountable.

As I go through this process I think I might share some of my daily meals and workouts here on EBF, maybe even do a few “Day in the Life” style posts and perhaps even a clean eating grocery store list and meal plan. Let me know if any of this sounds helpful or if there’s anything else you’d like to see.

Anyone else feeling like they’ve gained weight and/or just want to get back on track? If so, what are some of your goals for this month?

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    68 comments
  1. Thanks for sharing your story. I have recently put on a few pounds as well and my daily goal is 9000 steps. I will now have to raise it to 10000 steps. Exercise, more water, more veggies and more sleep should help bring it back down to my perfect weight.

  2. Thank you for your story, it’s so nice to know I’m not alone. Last year I was on the right track, I’d workout 5 times a week and I was was eating healthy. I started a 8-5 job and when I come home I’m exhausted. I don’t have much time to exercise and eat basically anything that I want. When I look in the mirror I’m so dissapointed in myself. I feel all that hard work I did last year was for nothing. I feel so unmotivated, I really need to get back on track. Thank you for the tips and good luck on your journey!

  3. Hello, Brittany! First of all, I’d like to applaud you for writing this post. What first drew me here was the title (from Bloglovin’), but then I read the content and was blown away because here is a nutritionist, health coach, and fitness professional sharing her personal weight concerns on the internet! It shows how much I can relate to you, even though I don’t know you.

    I am a post-bariatric lap-band patient. After a few years of a plateaued state, I have recently gained again. I found out at my personal training session. It scared me. Eating can be difficult and uncomfortable sometimes. Eating right can can be hard, but losing the weight and getting to your goal is the hardest of all. Two days later, I was back in the gym with the intention of a stronger focus and the mindset to get better.

    Thank you for your post.

  4. Ah, seems like quite a few of us are going through this exact same thing right now. I’ve read two other blog posts in the past week about the same subject, from ladies around our age. Life is catching up to us and I like your attitude about the whole thing. Your perspective is refreshing and I will keep it in mind as I try to work through my 10 pounds I’ve gained too!

  5. Hey I’ve gained a couple pounds recently and i think it might be birth control related since I’ve been off for two weeks. despite being on kayla instines as well the five pounds won’t come off! Good tips here to remind myself.

    http://www.thefernwehwolf.com

  6. Being a woman is definitely not easy…I feel like our bodies are ALWAYS changing and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to why. It can be frustrating, but at the end of the day we just have to be thankful for our health, or strength, and that we nourish our bodies with delicious foods. This month I am working on eating more as I am training for a 1/2 marathon. I need to take better care of myself if I want to keep training the way that I do!

  7. I’m also experiencing post-pill amenorrhea after going off the pill in December. Would love to hear more about your experience.

  8. I have almost the same issues as your entire post. Yes, please post some day in the life and stauts updates, I find them very encouraging!

  9. Love this post! I like how real it is. I think its great that you’ve accepted the situation, and made a plan to do something about it. Very inspirational! Definitely some tips I needed to hear. Love your blog!

  10. I am so glad I found this today!!! I, too, have gained weight & it’s making me so crabby. I know it’s for many of the same reasons you’ve mentioned about yourself. I also take Tamoxifen (b/c I had breast cancer, diagnosed last Jan, 2014) & although I know it doesn’t make me gain weight, I swear it makes me hungry so I never feel full. It’s a constant struggle. Anyway, it’s good to know I’m not alone;)

  11. Thank you for such a candid post about weight gain. I definitely packed a few pounds over the past few months. This was such a realistic approach to coming to terms with the weight gain. Very motivated by this 🙂

    Somin // TCK Goes Home

  12. Thank you for this post. I can totally identify with just about everything you’ve said. It is hard to talk about weight and admitting that you aren’t taking care of yourself like you know you should be. I have been under a lot of stress over the last few months (work, back surgery, apartment fire, moving in with my boyfriend) and I KNOW I’m not taking care of myself properly. As I gain weight I have been feeling ashamed but reading your story helps change the perspective a little bit. Life happens and we will get back to the right balance again. Good luck with your goals!

  13. Thank you so much for this post. I have gained weight lately, I’ve been eating much more unhealthy, and I don’t really feel that great about myself to be honest. I am in recovery for an eating disorder, and it’s hard work. But reading this post made me feel better. So thank you very much 🙂 It’s nice to know even you gain weight and feel a bit unhealthy at times. Have a lovely weekend 🙂

  14. Good luck on your journey, Brittany! Several years ago I went off hormonal birth control and for the last 6 months we’ve been using fertility tracking as our main form of birth control. It has been so liberating! Despite the early-symptoms of going off the hormones, it has been really great!

    • Thank you! I’ve been off hormonal birth control since last October and I’m now dealing with post-pill amenorrhea. I think being on the pill for long periods of time does more to our bodies than we realize. :/ I’m excited for my hormones to figure out what’s going on and regulate themselves.

  15. I am SO glad you posted this. I’m struggling with the same thing…I’m getting married in June and put a lot of pressure on myself to lose weight and get into shape. However, the opposite happened and I gained about ten pounds. However, back in February, I got a FitBit and began eating less processed foods. I’m starting to follow pretty much everything you have in your post, and it is working for me. It’s a slow process, but I keep reminding myself that it’s a PROCESS. I’m taking it one day at a time to get myself back on track and hopefully reach my goal of being at my ideal weight for the wedding. 🙂 Good luck to you and thanks so much for this honest post!

  16. I can totally relate to everything in this post. Over the last year, I gained a similar amount (maybe a little more) of weight. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I didn’t feel happy with my body as much as I wanted to. I think some of the weight I needed to gain, but at least five or seven pounds of it I didn’t. I attribute the excess to drinking during my senior year and being a little more frivolous with what I ate. I need to make it a priority to get back to my happy weight, and I think they key to that is being more consistent with workouts… so anyway, thank you for posting this.

  17. I like your “volume eater” comment, as I can definitely relate. I put nearly every meal on a bed of mixed greens or spinach to beef up the volume.
    Something I have tried a few times before is a liquid day, in which I consume smoothies and soups until dinner time (I eat a real meal then). It’s been eye opening for me to see how much I fall back on eating when I am bored.
    Thank you for being so honest.

  18. Thank you for posting this, it’s nice to hear that even someone so committed to fitness and nutrition struggles with the same demons as me! I have no doubt that you’ll reach your goals 🙂

      • Great post Brittany! I too have been off hormonal birth control pills since last November after having been on them for 12 years non-stop, and am experiencing post-pill amenorrhea. It’s frustrating and I am avoiding going to a doctor, as I’m certain they will just prescribe me a pill to force my body to have a period. Anyway, I would love to hear if you have any success with an acupuncturist or come across any other homeopathic remedies for amenorrhea. Have a great evening! 🙂

        • Thank you Gina. Yup, that’s exactly what happened to me when I went back to my doc — she told me to start taking birth control again, just to see if I could get a period. I didn’t take it and headed to my acupuncturist instead. I will definitely keep you updated and perhaps do a post about it.

  19. Thanks for the great and very honest suggestions! Planning meals and drinking a lot of water has helped me a lot! And the graphic is very helpful!

  20. Thank you so much for this! I’ve gained about 5-10 pounds recently and I think to get back on track I will: get back to wearing my UP24 band and commit to 10,000 steps per day, incorporate more cardio into my workout routine, and drink WAY more water.

  21. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing! It’s just where I’m at right now and needed to hear it. I have been so discouraged. Thank you! I want to follow your tips starting NOW!

  22. Thank you for putting this out there. Your honesty is very admirable. I think another helpful thing is to plan out every meal, including snacks and even times to eat them. After awhile it becomes a habit. I have to do this because I teach and have no options to eat except what I bring and only certain times I can eat. I plan out and bring my breakfast, lunch and snacks. I’m with you, loading up with veggies and big salads helps with the volume eater in me too. Also once I became more focused on protein at every meal I was able to feel satisfied longer.

    • Hi Amanda. I totally agree that planning ahead can be really helpful. I don’t plan out every meal, but I do try to plan out dinners for the week and always have a mental list of healthy options for breakfast and lunch. And yes to protein at every meal. I also think fat is crucial for me to feel full and satisfied.

  23. Thank you, Brittany for taking the time to write this. it really means a lot right now due to being such a rough winter here in Buffalo, NY. My boyfriend and I just booked a vacation for the end of May and have stated how we would love to get back into shape before we go (11weeks:)). I can relate to all that you have mentioned. I think I am going try the suggestion of what you shared about trying to get in 10,000 steps a day! there for awhile I was working out everyday. I am trying to find my groove back. Makes me think I too should get my hormones checked due to being in my mid-40’s. Thank you again, for being so motivating and having such amazing recipes. <3

  24. I so appreciate this post! You’ve got this! I’ve gone down a dress size, but I’ve grown stagnant because (I think) I’m not as motivated and I go through phases of really good and pretty out of control. Because I’ve been struggling with candida, possible hormone issues, and major life changes I haven’t been great about exercise but I feel so much better when I do. It’s all about balance, which I’m always trying to remind myself!

  25. I love transparent posts like these! I wrote a similar one back in January when I had to start dieting for a role I’m shooting…it felt weird to be watching what I eat after being opposed to “diets” and preaching body image…but the truth is, self love isn’t so black and white. xoxoxo

  26. Thanks for this honest post! It’s great that you know what you have to do to be a healthier and happier you :). You’ve got lots of support all around as you reach those goals! <3

  27. I love that you shared this! I think so many of us can relate to these feelings — even if not NOW, then definitely at some point in our lives. Your plan to get back on track is very inspiring to me as someone who has been feeling the same struggles lately. Thanks, Brittany!

  28. I’ve “gained 4 pounds” since the holidays… which really breaks down to, I’ve added 1″ to my body on every part of my body because I haven’t lifted weights in 2015. Totally dropped the ball on my end, so I totally hear you. thanks for keeping it real! I’m with you about steps. I wear the FitBit, weather has sucked so I’ve dropped the ball on that too. If you’re on MyFitnessPal, I am, too! (as worthystyle) So lets be friends on there!

  29. This reminds me so much of another awesome lady whose blog I read – Robyn @TheRealLifeRD – do you know her? Robyn’s perspective on weight gain is really helping me with my own. But she points out that a HUGE factor in weight gain can also be STRESS! Even if you eat well and exercise regularly, stress can totally derail your health. Something to also consider. Good luck with getting back on track! 🙂
    http://www.thereallife-rd.com/2014/11/what-10-pounds-taught-me.html

  30. It’s so good to read about how others struggle with weight, and how they deal with weight gain! Thanks for being so honest. I’ve gained a few pounds over the last half year too, and I want to get rid of them again. I already eat healthy, and work out regularly, but want to incorporate more cardio/hiit workouts too. I like your healthy approach here – no fad diet. Those haven’t ever helped! Keeping it simple is the way to go! Good luck 🙂

  31. Hi Brittany! I think the activity one is so important, because like you noticed, even if you workout, you can still be a sedentary person when you’re behind a desk all day. It sounds like you have a great plan in place. And just like the weight gradually crept on, it may take a while to get rid of it. But small daily steps in the right direction will take you there! Good luck! 🙂

  32. I can totally relate to this post… which is a bit of a bummer. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us! I also want to fit in to my clothes, which I love, and it’s super discouraging when I can’t get my favorite jeans past my hips! This has inspired me to create a list of specific goals/steps to take to get back down to my ideal, healthy weight.
    Thanks again. 🙂

  33. Thank you so much for posting this, Brittany! Definitely helpful to me. It’s difficult to admit going through as a blogger and someone who’s supposed to be so “fit” and “healthy”. I think that inactivity and snacking more tend to go hand in hand too, since you aren’t as busy moving around. I know when I’m less active and sitting more at work, I tend to get lethargic and snack more! Thanks for the tips… You are amazing! Stay strong girl – Pure Barre March challenge will help:)) Maybe if my butt gets sore enough from PB, I won’t sit down on it as much:)

  34. I am there with you! Not so much that I’ve gained a lot…probably around 3-5lbs. But I feel sluggish. I’m working on the snacking less, more water and my motto for the month is MOVING IN MARCH!

  35. Thank you for the post! Portion control for snack and mindless eating (+++ natural PB tablespoon) is the hardest. I got off the pill last year after 14 years and having hormones issues (no period) as well….Thanks again!

  36. Thanks for being so open and honest and all that you’ve outlined sounds great! Lots of realistic goals with manageable actions. It might be worth seeing a herbalist too in terms of hormonal balance. My friend had fertility issues for 3 years and seeing a herbalist really helped…she’s due her first baby in two months!

  37. Brittany, I’m in the same boat as you as a blogger. I love trying to make new recipes to share, but often end up overeating since some treats turn out so yummy, and I really don’t have too many people to share them with. I can relate to your hormone/weight gain issue, although mine was caused by starting on a bc pill. Unfortunately, it has taken nearly two years after stopping the pill for my hormones to normalize and for my body to start letting go of the weight more easily. Hope the acupuncture helps you! I’ll be cheering you on, and thanks for the tips to help remind me how to keep on going! -Amy

  38. I so admire your honesty! I’m sure this was not an easy post to write. I’m in the same boat – after consistently working out, eating healthy, and feeling great for months, I’ve put on about 7 pounds since the holidays. I am desperate to get back into my routine, but I recently started a part-time job (in addition to my full-time, 40 hour a week job), so consistent workouts just aren’t happening, which is frustrating! I’m trying to control my diet as much as possible to hopefully get rid of extra 10 pounds or so. Thanks for the tips!!

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