All Articles Tagged "weight gain"

Right Now, You’re The Smallest Weight You’re Going To Be For The Rest Of The Year — Find Out Why

September 29th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Holiday dinner

Source: Shutterstock

Look in the mirror. Unless you’re on a serious health and fitness kick to get ready for 2017, according to a new study, this is the lowest weight you’re going to be for the rest of the year. I’m sure you can figure out why that is…

The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that people in the U.S. start to put on weight after the first week of October. From there, weight gain peaks immediately following the new year. After that, people try to work to get back to a size that’s comfortable for them, but it takes time.

Researchers behind the study followed the shifts in weight of around 195 American adults (and 3,000 people altogether). What they found was that around Thanksgiving, our weight increases, peaking near the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday. Also found was that weight gained between October and January can take people more than five months to shave off. Easter is the time most people can get back to the size they were before turkey, eggnog, dressing and pies spread us out. Between the months of April and November, however, is just a time of minor shifts in weight.

Everyone is different though. Just because some people pack on the pounds during the holiday season doesn’t mean that, with certainty, it will happen to you. But, as researchers noted, “weight gain in the fall and winter probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood.”

So whether or not you plan to stuff your face within the next few months, it’s clear that this is the perfect time to execute any new workout plans you wanted to try, or get into changing up your eating habits. That’s what Brian Wansink, one of the co-authors of the study, told Cornell University’s research facility, the Food & Brand lab. “Everyone gains weight over the holidays — Americans, Germans, Japanese,” he said. “Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, make an October resolution. It’s easier to avoid holiday pounds altogether than to lose them after they happen.”

So before you let Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas treats and New Year’s Eve drinks jack your waistline all the way up, take charge, prepare to consume everything in moderation, and don’t wait for the new year to work on the new you.

Less Rest = More Food: How A Lack Of Sleep Is Causing Your Afternoon Cravings

May 9th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Some workdays are pretty standard. You eat a decent breakfast, drink your fluids, have some lunch, and if you start feeling yourself dragging in the afternoon, you come to the conclusion that it might be time for some coffee or an energy drink.

But other days? You eat a decent breakfast, drink your fluids, have some lunch, and by the late afternoon, you’re fighting to stay away from the candy jar at the front desk. You know, the jar you’ve already pulled from multiple times before you realized you had gone too far and couldn’t turn back (and wouldn’t finish filling out your meals for the day in MyFitnessPal).

Why is that?

“Our findings suggest that activation of the eCB system may be involved in excessive food intake in a state of sleep debt and contribute to the increased risk of obesity associated with insufficient sleep.”

In layman’s terms, you could have the munchies like whoa because you haven’t had enough sleep.

That quote is from a study about the effects of a lack of sleep on one’s diet. As reported by CNN, according to a recent study from the journal SLEEP (Sleep Restriction Enhances the Daily Rhythm of Circulating Levels of Endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylgylcerol), researchers at the University of Chicago were able to point out a connection between a lack of sleep and endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are made up of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors. Located in the mammalian brain, as well as throughout your central and peripheral nervous system, they help different cell types communicate and coordinate. They can activate the same receptors as THC, which is found in marijuana. And just as you can get the munchies after smoking marijuana, endocannabinoids, according to the study, can push you to indulge in “super-palatable foods,” which is basically everything you love that’s not good for you. The goodies high in fat, great in sugar and elevated regarding sodium. All the things that you think will give you the boost of energy you’ve been trying to operate without after a rough night of sleep. As CNN pointed out, having 4.5 hours of sleep instead of 8.5 could bring about 33 percent more endocannabinoids, which could cause individuals to eat double their usual amount of fat and 46 percent more calories in a day.

And as also pointed out by CNN, a Mayo Clinic study from 2012 found that those who lost 80 minutes of rest from their sleep pattern ended up consuming about 549 additional calories the following day.

Of course, we can’t always get all the sleep we want. And many of us try to catch up on lost rest during the weekends. But what should we do during the week when our rest hours are few? More than anything, I think that keeping healthy snacks nearby is the way to go. That way, when you do have “the munchies,” you won’t find yourself overdoing it on the usual chips, sweets and the like. Fruit, low-calorie air-popped popcorn, fruit smoothie juices (like ones from brands including Naked, Odwalla, etc.), nuts, granola bars, cereal and more can fill you up without tearing you up. They can give you the sweets and hints of salt you may pine for come 3 p.m. And if your schedule isn’t what’s keeping you up at night, make a better effort to go to bed at a reasonable time. Your waistline will thank you.

Travel Trials: I Canceled My Trip Because I Gained Weight

April 1st, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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(As relayed by Lauren R.D. Fox based on a culmination of experiences)

Four months ago, I received an Evite from a college friend who was hosting a reunion at her beach house in Venice Beach. Initially I was excited and found myself shopping for bathing suits, sundresses and even expensive flip-flops because…I’m worth it.

After spending another evening drinking wine and looking at sun hats, I decided to check the Evite list to see who else would be attending the get together besides my friends and I. As I scrolled the list, I suddenly choked on the gulp of wine I took. There was his name: Dean, my first college boyfriend and biggest heartbreak.

We dated throughout my entire college career and, out of the blue, he broke up with me after I accepted my Teach For America (TFA) position in his hometown. To make matters worse, Dean got married six months after our breakup and I would constantly bump into him and his wife around town.

After my tenure at TFA was completed, I decided to move to Las Vegas and have since healed from that traumatic relationship. Aside from emotionally healing, I have also changed dramatically physically. During my college and TFA years, I was a size 6 but once I moved to Las Vegas, I have gained weight and I am now a size 12. I am working to make peace with some of my friends whom I haven’t seen in years laying their eyes on me with the extra weight, but Dean? Everyone knows you have to stunt when your ex is in the midst, even if you’re over him. The last thing I want to do is show up as the chubby frumpy girl and make him and everyone else think: what happened?

That’s why I’ve cancelled my flight to Venice, but my mom and my best friend (the only ones who know the real reason I pulled out) keep telling me I’m ridiculous and I need to make a new reservation and start taking steps toward getting healthier in the next 3 weeks before the reunion. I’m not convinced.

Am I silly for cancelling the trip because I gained weight?

Who’s Allowed To Tell You That You’ve Gained Excess Weight?

February 29th, 2016 - By Christine Mwaturura
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I gained a couple extra pounds over the last few months, seemingly appearing out of nowhere and for no apparent reason. As a former athlete I’ve typically been on the fit side of the body shape equation so it’s been a humbling mindf-ck being on the other side for once. Some people, like my mother, found it all too irresistible to point out the obvious, as though I couldn’t see for myself the damning evidence in my mirror’s reflection, or feel the tightness of my pants.

“You’ve put on weight.”

It stung to hear those words directed at me. But hey, it’s mom: she birthed me from her private part, has always kept it 100 with me, and has made unspeakable sacrifices for her kids. I knew she was coming from a place of deep love. So she had her say and I nodded my head in somber agreement.

A friend of mine also had a similar message to deliver, but drew slightly different words from her arsenal to convey it to me; she jabbed the newly jiggly part of my belly with her finger and exclaimed, “Hey, that wasn’t there before! What’s happening?” Naturally, I was mortified — I mean, the girl had physically poked me in the stomach like I was a lab rat. I mumbled back something about evil growth hormones in conventional milk, and then changed the subject.

When I got home after that very embarrassing exchange with my friend, I took a look at myself in the mirror for a long time. And then, in hasty desperation, I tried on all the size 6 dresses in my closet. Some fit, some didn’t. I quickly gained empathy for people with eating disorders as I wallowed, for a brief moment, in the darkness of body shame.

Be cruel to be kind?

There’s been a long-standing debate on whether, from a health perspective, it is actually an act of kindness to comment on a person’s weight issue. Does raising a weight matter with a  person really help motivate them to do something about it?

The Atlantic reports on two pieces of research that looked at weight discrimination and the effect on weight loss and found that weight discrimination, or more specifically: fat shaming, had a negative effect on weight loss. The Atlantic also reported on a Yale study that revealed that the language chosen in weight discussions is also quite important: “… people rated anti-obesity campaigns with negative or accusatory messages as less motivating than ones with more neutral slogans, like ‘Let’s Move.’”

While the research indicates that, in general, fat-shaming does no good, things get murkier when we try to objectively define exactly what fat-shaming behavior or language is. As I gathered from reading the comments on The Atlantic article and discussion threads on other websites, some people welcome harsh criticism about their weight while others avoid any and all talk of weight. So I think that what is important here is to understand the person whom you’re dealing with, should you decide to raise unsolicited remarks about the person’s weight.

My friend’s approach to bringing up my body weight was, from my perspective, tactless and insensitive. My friend’s comment had zero positive influence on motivating me to get back in shape — I’d go as far as to say that her comment was actually demotivating.

I also think that even if my friend had made me a cup of tea, rubbed my feet and then whispered the wicked words in the kindest way possible, I still wouldn’t have appreciated it. The major problem that I saw with her approach was not so much in her message or delivery, but that she’d assumed a certain level of intimacy between us that just wasn’t there — in other words: b-tch, you don’t know me like that! The only people who would know me like that to speak on my weight are: my mother, my sisters or a significant other. What my mother said to me, however, did not have as much of a motivational effect compared to other more compelling factors like: not wanting to shop for new clothes, and my upcoming beach vacation to Bali (basically, money and the fear of wearing a two piece in public). 

Body image is a touchy subject for most. Before volunteering your thoughts on a person’s weight, first consider if you are the right messenger for delivering that type of message, or else you may do more harm than good.

Who’s allowed to make comments about your weight?

Have You Packed On “Love Pounds”?

February 17th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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What do you know about “happy weight” or “love pounds”?

You probably know it as the weight people put on because they’ve found love (in a hopeless place). But according to the Huffington Post, it’s the weight people put on because they quickly become accustomed to certain behaviors and ways of thinking once settled in a relationship. You’re more comfortable kicking back and indulging while with your beloved. It’s like when people say they don’t have to worry about looking a certain way or doing things in a certain way anymore because “I got a man now.” You snagged yourself a good one, so who cares about looking like a Sports Illustrated model? “Somebody like it!”

But in all seriousness, too much of that thinking can put extra weight on the body as we get older that can be harder to get off. And according to experts, women are the ones who usually pack on the pounds when they move in with their partner.

And Andrea Meltzer, assistant professor of psychology at Florida State found in a recent study that couples who are happily married put on even more weight than most.

Meltzer told the Huffington Post, “By focusing more on the health-related benefits of weight maintenance, people may be able to avoid potentially unhealthy weight gain once they enter a relationship.”

So, you’re advised to get all that in check before you get coupled up. If you do, chances are, you won’t be as likely to start letting yourself go so fast because you’re oh so happy.

The Huffington Post shared advice from experts on how to avoid the “love pounds.” They encouraged couples to cook at home more instead of consistently opting to eat out. They also urged partners to work out together for a more “intense” and “productive” conditioning, and more than anything, they said that couples should do more things that are focused on being on the move. Sitting at home and having a Netflix and Chill session is nice here and there, but being active will do both of your bodies good for the long-term.

But who hasn’t been there? I put on quite a few pounds while comfortable in relationships back in the day. In college, I slowly but surely started packing on the pounds while dating a guy I was with for almost two years. I didn’t realize this was happening until we went to visit his mother in St. Louis, and she told me I was starting to get a little “thick.” When I went home for the holidays, it was the same sort of language from my own family. I got the hint that I was getting a little chunky.

And in my current relationship, around the first year or two, I was very comfortable ordering Chinese food, pizza, whatever–and then lounging on the couch with my partner while he watched me revel in the greasy foods. It wasn’t until I started struggling to fit into my jeans, and he commented on me getting McDonald’s “again?” — and a “Did Y’all See?” viewer told me I should move up to an XL sleeveless top — that I realized I was falling back into my old habits.

So yes, it’s definitely important to care about your health and your weight, not only so you can look good and stay good when you snag yourself a spouse, but, in general, so you can feel good and look good for yourself. Because let me tell you, the more you pack on, the more complicated it often feels to get it off.

However, I would say that you shouldn’t let the commentary of others push you to get on a treadmill (i.e., Mama Joyce consistently telling Kandi Burruss she was getting heavy and then blaming Todd Tucker for it). If you see a change in your body and want to work on it, then you should. But if others are in your ear, know that a lot of weight is one thing, but a few pounds of extra cushion, or “happy weight” during a euphoric time in your life, never hurt anybody.


How Much Weight Is Safe To Gain While You’re Pregnant?

January 4th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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For many women, a positive pregnancy test signals a license to pig out or “eat for two.” But indulging in everything in sight is not only unnecessary, but also potentially dangerous—for both mom and baby. This is especially true for us, since four out of five black women tend to be overweight or obese long before getting pregnant.

Being heavy at conception puts a pregnant woman at increased risk of having a miscarriage, developing gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. They are at higher likelihood of being placed on modified bed rest, developing infections and blood clots, and needing C-section delivery. And packing on the pounds during pregnancy makes it much harder to lose the weight after the baby’s birth. Institute of Medicine (IOM) data show black women retain more pounds after giving birth than our white or Latina sisters.

So how do we get a handle on this growing problem? The IOM recommends normal-weight women gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy, overweight women 15 to 25 pounds and obese women 11 to 20 pounds. “You’re not eating for two,” says Janice Henderson, M.D., of Johns Hopkins. “Don’t double up every meal.” In fact, Dr. Henderson says pregnant women only need 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day, and they don’t need any extra calories at all during the first trimester. She counsels her patients to take in 340 extra calories a day in the second trimester and 400 in the third. (Think: a slice of bread with peanut butter and a glass of milk.)

Of course, this doesn’t mean pregnant women, inching close to the recommended weight gain, should go on a diet. Nor should you obsess about the numbers. In fact, experts say the focus should be on healthy living before, during and after baby.


Fertility, says Dr. Henderson, is often reduced in obese women. She also points out that obese women tend to have nutrient deficiencies, like folate and vitamin B12, and many already have health issues. So don’t wait until the pink line shows up on the pregnancy test; schedule an appointment to talk to your ob/gyn or midwife about health status and weight concerns.

“If you are overweight or obese, lose weight pre-conception,” Dr. Henderson says. “If you have other medical problems, get them under control.” (She even suggests that a woman with a BMI greater than 40 consider weight-loss surgery.)

While Pregnant

Don’t eat unlimited amounts of every food under the sun. That thinking is obsolete, explains Yvonne Thornton, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Medical College. “Focus on healthy eating and portion control,” Dr. Henderson says.

Keep it moving. Unless there’s a medical reason to avoid physical activity, pregnant women should aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of week. It’ll boost energy and help keep weight gain under control. If you haven’t been exercising regularly before pregnancy, don’t start training for a triathlon. Walking should do the trick. But if you were active before, you can continue aerobic activity and resistance training (light weights only). Consider a prenatal yoga class.

“Set one goal related to eating each week and one for physical activity,” Dr. Henderson says. “Be specific. Instead of ‘I’m going to gym this week,’ say ‘I’m going to the gym Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.”

And don’t try to go it alone. Keep regular prenatal visits and talk to your provider about diet and exercise.

Are you concerned about weight gain while you’re pregnant?

Reprinted with permission from Black Health Matters.

How To Avoid Packing On The Pounds During The Holidays

November 26th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Many of us put on a little extra weight during the winter months and the holiday season can be especially fattening for a lot of us. As you gather round the dinner table for some turkey, stuffing and libations with family and loved ones, here are some tips to avoid packing on the pounds.

"woman eating pf"


Eat Before Celebrating

Not eating breakfast or lunch in order to save your appetite for the main event is a rookie mistake. In addition to breakfast being the most important meal of the day, waiting until the late afternoon or evening will no doubt lead to binge eating. So instead of having just a sliver of sweet potato pie, you end up eating three hearty chunks topped with whipped cream. And a scoop of ice cream on the side.

The Digits: Is Your Weight Your Boyfriend’s Business?

September 22nd, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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"couple-talking PF"


I would be lying if I said that I’m 100 percent comfortable with my weight these days. While my size isn’t something that keeps me from putting on a bikini or has me ashamed, I know that I’m far from the weight that I was when I left college. The food that was available to me once I got out of school and was working late hours to make my dreams come true (I was picking up fast food to eat late at night) has helped me gain weight that I’m still trying to find a consistent gym schedule to get rid of. The pounds are in my thighs, around my stomach and in my arms (though it’s not that noticeable because I’m tall). I’ve been able to lose a good amount of weight only to turn around and put it back on with the stresses of life. Like many other women working on their weight, it’s a battle for me.

My boyfriend hasn’t necessarily made a big deal out of this. If anything, he just wants me to be healthy and will furrow his brows at me for bringing McDonald’s and Chinese food into his home–though he rarely has food in his fridge. But after surprising me by buying me a J. Crew dress that I couldn’t fit, we had to have a very uncomfortable conversation.

In the past, for surprise gift-giving moments, my boyfriend had asked me what size I was. That question was tough enough to answer because my tops, even my boobs, can fit in a medium or a large when it comes to shirts. But my bottom? I have to try on things to make sure they fit. I told him that I was a large, told him to never buy me pants or a skirt and hoped that that would be enough. However, when the J. Crew dress didn’t fit, imagine my sheer horror when he asked me how much I weighed.

I turned up my face and responded with, “WHY? Why do you care?” In turn, he responded with this:

“I was just wondering. I just thought that’s something we should be able to know about each other as people in a relationship.”

But why?

Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t push me about the issue once I said that such information wasn’t his business, but it got me thinking. A part of me knows that my own insecurities with my weight are the main reason why I wouldn’t be comfortable with sharing my actual digits with him, and that’s part of the reason why I need to get back in the gym and get my life together. But then another part of me wonders, why would that information matter to a significant other? If I was going through a What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? type of thing where my weight was affecting what I could do and those around me and was starting to make me look completely different, then yes, that information would be useful to share. But I also feel that if I tell him such information, it will become a mental block that will make him too worried about my size, what I’m doing about it and what goes into my mouth.

Just this morning I was watching “Divorce Court” and it was one of those “Before the Vows” episodes. The couple looking for Judge Lynn Toler’s advice on whether or not they were ready for marriage were plagued by two things: the fact that they didn’t have a lot of time to spend together because of his schedule, and the fact that he was always in her ear about her weight. The young man said that while he loves “thick women,” his fiancée was getting a little “too thick.” Such comments were putting a rift in their relationship. And while this man only seemed to have eyes for his lady, Judge Toler couldn’t ignore the fact that he put a damper on his statements of admiration for her with yet another comment about her size: “I love her…no matter how big she gets, I love her and I want to be with her.”

And remember when Boris Kodjoe had so much to say about excessive weight gain and it being a good excuse for your partner to step out on you? Talk about pressure…

So I wonder, can weight be a distraction in a relationship? Is your relationship negatively impacted once your man knows anything about your actual weight and size? I’m sure it all depends on the man, the state of the relationship and how you looked when the relationship started (I’ve been around the same weight since we met, but I’m larger than he thinks…). But if you ask me, some information isn’t necessary for your man to know.

For now, I’m going to continue trying to eat better and take advantage of my two gym memberships to get back to a size that I’M happy with, and he’s welcome to come along with me for that ride. But the numbers aren’t as important to share in my opinion, because I’m not trying to be defined by or only looked at as those three numbers. Either way, my weight is something I have to deal with and get down–not him.


Weird Science: Does Weight Gain Have an Affect on Your Personality?

August 11th, 2014 - By Rich
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Once again science has given me an excuse for my behavior. Thank you science! We already know that losing and gaining weight has a lot to do with who you are and how you act; mainly because of how it affects your diet and exercise habits. So, your personality can cause weight gain, but does it work the other way around? Can gaining weight actually change your personality? Seems like a no brainer. You pack on the pounds, you lose your confidence and likely want to spend less time in public situations (likely, not always). But in a study published by Psychological Science, researchers found that there’s a specific personality trait that people who gain weight develop. Not only does the weight gain change your dress size, it also changes your temperament, making you more impulsive and likely to give in to temptation (raises hand).

The study examined data of almost 2,000 subjects that included their weight along with their character traits over a span of about ten years. They found that people who experienced at least a ten percent weight gain also gained more impulsiveness. At the surface, it’s a classic chicken and egg type of thing. Both of which sound very good right now. What came first — the weight gain that led to the impulsiveness or the impulsiveness that led to weight gain? But it goes a little deeper than that.

Before having children I hadn’t yet broken 100 lbs. but could — and did — eat whatever I wanted, and lots of it (I know, I hate me too). During my first pregnancy, I gained nearly 60 lbs., keeping the mindset that I could eat whatever I wanted and give in to every temptation, but this time it was, you know, “for the baby.” It was easy for me to snap back though. With baby number two, I maintained the same impulsiveness that I’d always had, gained the same amount of weight, but struggled to lose it all. I kept on about 30 lbs., and for every pound I didn’t lose, I gained more of the “I’m already overweight, so I might as well eat what I want,” mentality. So, “I’ll have that plate of pasta” turned to, “I’ll have that plate of pasta. Matter of fact, make it two.” Which almost always led to three. Babies number three and four– same weight gain, same problem, more pasta.

My baby-making days have long been over, but unfortunately, the one thing I’ve lost is my ability to “snap back.” I’ve held on to a lot of that weight, thus making myself more impulsive by hanging on to that same mentality that I might as well eat what I want if I’m going to be overweight.

The only things I haven’t been impulsive about– diet and exercise. Still waiting on science to give me an excuse for that one; although even without a degree in the sciences I’m pretty sure you can just chalk that up to laziness. Oh well….

Hey ladies (in my Beastie Boys voice)! Can you relate? Did gaining weight make you more impulsive when it comes to food?

More To Love? Celebrity Men Who Have Packed On The Pounds

August 6th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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When celebrity women gain a few pounds, they immediately find themselves under the critical eye of the paparazzi fat police. But these celebrity men have been gaining so much under-the-radar weight that you’ll have trouble recognizing some of them.

Celebrity Men Who Have Packed On The Pounds

Image Source:

Chris Brown

Ever since he got out of jail, Chris Brown has been dogged by shots of him shirtless and headlines like “These Rolls Ain’t Loyal.”