Why do YOU gain weight?

by Sylvia

Post image for Why do YOU gain weight?

Weight, maintaining or losing it, is always a popular topic. It’s one of the most popular topics on the internet and even though I write about it rarely, it’s a popular on my site as well. I know that many of you are bothered by your extra kilos and worry about how the excess weight affects your health.

So I’m going to ask you a rather daring question?

Why do you gain weight?

Do you know? Is it because you eat too much, the hormones, don’t eat healthy enough, too many carbs, emotional eating, medicines?

I know that it’s not easy to maintain a healthy or desirable weight over 40  and that there are many reasons to gain it.

But I also wonder how many of you make healthy weight a priority? Do your mind and your body want the same thing?

Perhaps you want to find out or do something about it!

A bit of tough love, for the benefit of health NOT appearance

The reason for this ‘tough love’ is that I hear too many people complaining about their weight, while at the same time not willing or prepared to change their habits.

I was absolutely shocked to see on my recent trip to the US how many people looked very much overweight and unhealthy.

So yes, today there is a bit of tough love from me.

Not because I don’t think you can look good when you are overweight (you absolutely CAN). But essentially because I believe that it is important to have a healthy weight when you want to stay healthy long-term.

As you may recall I now believe that most of this excess weight is caused by too many carbohydrates. It was all explained so well in this book that I reviewed before: how we get fat, which I highly recommend.

That brings me to my personal challenge. After reading the book, both me and my husband want to eliminate refined sugars from our lives completely. Although we are doing pretty well, there are times that we crave the sugars just too much.

Would you like to try something new to stop the cravings and possibly lose weight?

Therefore I’m going to join this meditation seminar by Jon Gabriel. I met him during a detox retreat I did in Thailand and can tell you that this is a genuine guy, who is as healthy as he looks. He believes that in order to lose weight, your mind and body need to be in tune. He uses meditation and visualisation techniques to make that happen. He can explain this a lot better than me, so you can watch his short video on the registration page.

In any case I know for a fact that meditating every day is good for you. During the times that I did meditate, I always felt more relaxed and energetic. So it seems strange to me that I don’t do it more often.

If you’re thinking that mediation is too touchy-feely or too tough, give it a go! I have never been very ‘good’ at meditation but it already works if you just take 10 minutes and be quiet. That alone can make a real difference.

Join me at the seminar

Now, I have never done any of Jon’s courses or meditation sessions (so can’t vouch for the quality or effectiveness), but I’m going to give it a try. If only to get back into the habit of meditation. My personal challenge will be to stop my sugar craving.

Apparently he has already signed up more than 16,000 others so it will be like one big group mediation! The recordings will be available for 24 hours. Do any of you want to join me? It’s absolutely free to join, so there is nothing to lose (he will have some offers for you, but it’s totally up to you if you take him up on that; the meditation course is totally free). It will only take 10 minutes of your time each day. You can join here.

If there is enough interest I will set up a topic in the style forum to report back to you and you could do the same. (I opened a topic in the style forum here) It already starts tomorrow! If none of this appeals to you at all, I will be back with more fashion tomorrow.

What do you think of this? Do you need to lose weight? Do you meditate?


{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Betti

I am definitely an emotional eater and am going through a really stressful period so it is in high gear. On top of that I have some plantar fascitis flaring up, so I can’t run. I now I need to avoid the carbs and sugar but it always seems to fill an emotional need as well as hunger. Sigh..I really need to make it a priority to get this under control. The carbs and sugar are definitely the sugar but they seem to be what I crave.


2 Sylvia

I know it’s tough. Hope you succeed Betti!


3 traceyliz65

In losing the weight this past year, I do steer very clear of carbs. I love fruits which greatly satisfies my sweet tooth…. I will say everything in moderation and do allow myself chocolate now and then…. Meditation is hard for my ADD brain, although I like guided meditation. I also think Yoga and concentrating on your breaths helps as well.

I was very health minded and a very healthy weight and lover of exercize most of my life, but gained the weight from emotional eating when my mother got sick… I always felt she would be with me unitl her 80’s for some reason and she passed away before her 70th b’day. Knowing that I would be parentless since my father passed when I was just 13, was a very emotional thing for me. I am much happier to be back in control and not using food to self medicate.

For just ten minutes a day, It’s an investment that is easy to commit to , so count me in!


4 Sylvia

Good luck Tracey. Let me know how you go.


5 Ann

The removing of carbs/sugar was changed my life for the better. I was completely addicted and I didn’t know better. I’ve done so much reading and listening to podcasts from Nutritional Weight and Wellness. It’s their belief that keeping your blood sugar from spiking and crashing is what causes weight gain and causes inflammation which leads to disease. Now I focus on eating real food (meat, vegetables, fruit and bit of dairy). I have found freedom in learning what to eat to be healthy and weight loss was secondary. Congratulations to you and your husband for taking this step because it’s not easy to reduce or eliminate sugar.

blue hue wonderland


6 Sylvia

Great feedback Ann. We will do our best.


7 Christina

Let me start by saying; I think how we feel, is more important than how we look. Having said that, I think way too many people struggle needlessly with weight problems, and I cannot really blame them, because food has changed so radically in recent decades. This makes it more of a challenge to remain slim. Still, I think from a health and quality of life perspective, it is really worth it to try to find a way to achieve a healthy weight. I don’t believe in dieting per se, but I do think it is doable to set yourself up to succeed by educating yourself, and keeping high carbs and sweets out of the house entirely. This way, you are not having to rely on willpower, and you can establish some better eating habits. One big change for me was to stop drinking fruit juices. I thought these were a healthy snack, but they are a disaster. More fattening ounce for ounce than Coke.

I said this hear before, but for those who didn’t see my previous post, I lost 30 lbs, two and a half years ago, and have maintained it. I overhauled my diet, keeping carb count between 30- 70 grams per day. I now eat way more healthy fat. I include protein with every meal. ( I am vegetarian, but eat eggs and goat cheese). When I get a craving for something sweet, I mix 1/4 35% cream, with a couple tablespoons of high quality cocoa, and mix well). If I go to a party, and there is a lot of delicious foods, I still tend to overeat, but, the next day, I am back to my low carb routine. NO GUILT.

I give a lot of credit for my success to Gary Taubes for his books Why We Get Fat, and Good Calories, Bad Calories. I cannot recommend his books highly enough for anyone with weight issues. For that matter, I think it is good for everyone to be educated on some solid science about weight gain. Knowledge is the key here.


8 Amy

Great post! All accurate info.

And congratulations! I also lost weight a few years back, 40 lbs, that I had gained post-menopause. I keep it off by weighing myself every day. I know that is unhelpful for many, but for me, it works. When the scale creeps up, I cut back. Simple as that.

For parties, eating out, etc – I cheat, and have a big salad at home just before I go. Somehow it’s much easier to resist the party-carbs when I do this. I read it somewhere….


9 Sylvia

Yes, good advice!


10 Sylvia

yes, you already know I’m a big fan of that book too. Great feedback and great tip about the cocoa!


11 Lorraine

I am ashamed to say that I let my weight creep up in the last few years so I went to Weight Watchers and lost 23 and a half pounds – reaching goal last October. I did it by reducing carbs and having smaller portions. I cook from scratch every evening so know exactly what I am eating. I am fortunate that I do not have a sweet tooth but realised there are a lot of hidden sugars in wine so cut back on that too. My job can be quite active and I visit the gym regularly but that does not lose weight – eating less does! It is no coincidence that my weight loss and new found love of clothes coincided as I felt so much better about myself. I will certainly give the meditation a go and would be happy to report back.


12 Amy

I agree with everything you said, especially about the wine (for many reasons) and about exercise not necessarily resulting in weight loss. My husband and I used to have the rule that we had no more than 2 alcoholic drinks (usually red wine) per week. After reading about the effects of liver status on everything health-related, we’ve changed that to ONE drink every TWO weeks. Amazing what that little change did!

And what health-appropriate exercise does do for us is empower us, and it also works our lymph system so that we’re ridding ourselves of toxins. Bonus!


13 Sylvia

My tennis teacher recently told me a story about one of his players trying for months to lose weight. She did everything right and worked out a lot. But no luck. Then suddenly she remembered one habit: she would drink 2 glasses of one after her tennis training in the late evening. She had forgotten to add that to her daily calorie sugar intake. Once she stopped that, the pounds suddenly went!


14 Catia

I fully agree with what is said above. I’m lucky I have never been an emotional eater except when my mother passed away. Like Lorraine I do pay very much attention to hidden sugars in wine and eating smaller portions. For me the key is paying attention to what I put in my mouth. I am not a baby so I can choose before eating up, at least this works mostly of the time! I have noticed when walking daily 1/2 hour it helps me tremendously – like Lorraine I do not loose weight but my hunger is under control. I join Christina – no guilt – if one day I’ve eaten more, I slow down the following day. And, as she said knowledge is the key.
I grew up in a family where food was very important. Each festivity was a reason to celebrate it with food and people. As children, we didn’t get a lot of presents but we were all together. Nowadays I know that I/we were really gifted by this handling. Since my childhood many persons passed away and I guess it was the nostalgia of that time where I lost track. I’ve learned to continue doing this in moderation (as it was only for festivities) and accepting that that time has gone forever. Knowing it and accepting it are 2 different things – guess that’s what’s called growing older.


15 Sylvia

Sounds like you found a great balance Catia!


16 The Style Crone

I meditate daily and it has helped me to live with intention and reduce stress. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, we eliminated sugar from our diet and I maintain this lifestyle. We learned that sugar feeds cancer cells and as Ann states above, it’s important keep blood sugar levels from spiking and crashing. Once it became a habit and commitment, it was easier to maintain our lifestyle.

Best wishes to you and your husband on your quest to improve your health.


17 Sylvia

I know meditation would be good for me too. Perhaps this practice can kickstart it again… It doesn’t surprise me that you are eating so healthy. You always look so vibrant and full of energy!


18 Lisa

I have always struggled with my weight. A year ago I cut out sugar and wheat completely and lost about 15 pounds without much struggle and have kept it off. I probably SHOULD lose another 15 to get to my goal BMI, but the idea of restricting portions (I already exercise a good deal) is unappealing to me. The reason for cutting our wheat was in part because of some reading I’d been doing about wheat and or gluten. Some of the research around this is anecdotal more than scientific, but at the very least it seemed to me that wheat products were a way of shoveling calories into my body quickly (pizza, sandwiches, pasta) whereas other grains seemed to be part of a more balanced meal. I have been a vegetarian all my life and know that I feel best when fruits and vegetables dominate my meals, but also know that periodically I get lazy about the whole thing.

As for the meditation/prayer, I could write volumes since this is my field. (I’m clergy) Meditation/prayer in all religious traditions throughout history is focused on finding the center and striving for balance. For me the eastern meditative practices are too focused on emptying and finding a focus which I think for people with ADD/ADHD as mentioned above is impossible. I also think there is some biological/enculturated difference between men and women — men just seem to be able to do this and focus on one thing whereas women find it really hard to empty and focus. The Christian monastic traditions focus more on a Godly intention in everything you do — work, play, eating, exercising, as well as prayer — which for me works much better in keeping me centered. Eating ethically and mindfully is I think key to maintaining healthy weight. But I think this approach encompasses everything. If (as at this moment) my house is a mess, it is hard not to feel messed up spiritually and hard to eat as I should. As I work toward blessing my home this morning in the act of tidying up, I will be engaging prayer, and working on my inner chaos as I eliminate my outer chaos.

The book “Prayer for People Who Can’t Sit Still” was a watershed for me. http://www.amazon.com/Prayer-People-Who-Cant-Still/dp/0827230036 Now, most of my prayer practices center around the arts, and also prayer walks. This was written from a Christian perspective, but is respectful toward all religions and I think is worthwhile if the title speaks to you.


19 Amy

Loved your comment. Have you read “Care of the Soul” by Thomas Moore? It’s a book that changed my life.


20 Lisa

No, but I just looked up a few quotes and it looks like something worth reading.


21 Sylvia

Very wise words Lisa and thanks for the recommendation of the book. As for wheat, that would be another challenge for me, even though I believe it probably would be best to eat less of it. I still love my bread and pasta…


22 Amy

I work in nutrition and wellness and I know you are absolutely right that people complain about their excess weight but don’t do anything much about it, except look for the latest Dr. Oz pill and spend lots of money, which my employer is always happy to take from them! But they’re bound to be disappointed.

The truth is that it is very hard to change. But I have found that people are vastly different with regard to what works for them. What most people do have in common is that if they can discover what makes them feel powerful, and tap into that, they have the main ingredient of a recipe for success. And if they can discover what makes them feel powerless, and eliminate that, they have the second most important ingredient.

In short, my observation is this: the more powerful people feel personally, the better their chance of success. So I’m for any method that helps people discover what empowers and disempowers them.

For myself, 3 things that make me feel powerful are organizing my day every day, going for a brisk walk, and upper body weight training, no matter what shape I’m in. Things that make me feel powerless are an untidy office/home/car, a lack of productivity, and extra weight that slows me down and inhibits my everyday movement. The more I can move, the more powerful I feel.

Personal power leads to confidence, happiness, and success. Find what makes you feel powerful personally, and increase that. Find what makes you feel less powerful, and kick it out of your life! Once you feel powerful, you can do anything you set your mind to.


23 Lisa

I think we are kindred spirits.

I do think there is a connection between the clutter in our cars/homes and the clutter in our souls which then becomes clutter in our bodies.

Even as regards fashion — which is the reason for this blog — there is a way of approaching fashion that can devolve into clutter and can be more harmful than hurtful. Or there is an approach that strives for beauty as a philosophical/theological ideal in the whole of our lives — and some attention to fashion is birthed out of it.


24 Amy

Definitely true about how fashion can be a contributing factor. And yes, I think you and I are kindred spirits! The human quest for beauty is a big part of the Thomas Moore book I mentioned.


25 Sylvia

Great comment Amy. I love what you say about feeling powerful. I will think about that…


26 Greetje Kamminga

I have two major things working for me to keep my weight the same:
1) my huge wardrobe in one size…. I do not want to gain any weight and not be able to fit into those clothes again. I call that: capital waste.
2) I am far more interested in shopping than in food. I like food but can do the healthy programme quite easily.
In short: I am a pain in the you-know-what to most people. They hate me. LOL


27 Greetje Kamminga

I would love to learn to meditate, but I am too busy right now and I need one-to-one tutoring.


28 Sylvia

haha Greetje. Great points. See, there is benefit in owning all these clothes!
As for meditation, the only way you can learn is just to do it. Close your eyes and listen to a meditation recording of someone that appeals to you. That is one of the easiest ways to start.


29 popcosmo

I’m definitely in need of meditation. I’ve tried it, but can’t relax enough… which gets me back to why I need it! Eventually I’ll get there, but I’m trying to do active things that keep me calm, like yoga. Great post and enjoyed reading it.
xo ~kim & chloe


30 Sylvia

Thanks! yes, I find that hard too. That is why I want to try a lead meditation and see if that works better.


31 Rebecca

I am a big believer in “everything in moderation”. I cannot live without crusty bread, bagels, cheese, wine, etc. Yet, I have lost weight as I have gotten older and think it is because I snack rarely and am very active.


32 Sylvia

Yes, I don’t think I will cut those out of my life completely. But senseless sugars like sweets need to go!


33 33

yup, lots of overweight people here in the USA. I am considered fat in Taiwan but “slim and skinny” in the eye of my coworkers. I can stand to lose 5 to 10lb as of now but it means get moving (cardio and weight train) and cut down on potato chips and chocolate, my two vices even though I cook at home and don’t eat high sugar and high carbs.

Getting older means harder to lose weight short of being seriously sick. My waist line is a good 2 inches larger than what it was 20 years ago. Then again, I am still healthy and not unattractive for my age therefore I am thankful even if it’d be hard to get back to my old 20something waist line.

for those of you struggling, stay positive and take one day/meal at a time. don’t starve, eat healthy, and get moving. over time you will see results. you may never get back to your teenage weight but you will have more energy and feel better.


34 Sylvia

Thanks for the feedback. Some great positive words!


35 Tabitha

Carbs and sugar don’t really affect my weight, I put on masses on the Atkins diet!
I’m not an emotional eater either, for me, it’s all about volume. I come from a very overweight prone family, used to be 45lbs heavier and have a small frame, I can eat what I want but moderation is the key. That said, at 49 it is getting harder and harder to maintain. By 60 I have to gain 15lbs for sanity!


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