I am sure some of you probably choke at the word weight gain like it could cause you to gain a lump on your side that easily.

It is time to understand weight gain, and how we can manage it effectively.

The 6 factors that predict weight gain are:

Eating high calorie foods
Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages
Too little (or much) sleep
Quantity of watching TV
Alcohol overconsumption

Some of these probably appear to be common sense. However, eating high calorie foods doesn’t mean you eat excess amounts of calories. The traditional model implies that if calorie intake is higher than calorie use, then you will gain weight. This isn’t the same formula.

Let’s jump into the why

Eating High-Calorie Foods

Foods that are found to increase weight gain are:

Potato chips and potatoes (french fries; mashed, baked and boiled potatoes)
Red meat, processed meats (bacon, salami, sausage and luncheon meats) and unprocessed red meats (beef, hamburger, pork, lamb or game);
Butter, sweets and desserts; and refined grains (foods like white flower and white rice).

Foods that help with weight management are:

Nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and milk (low-fat, skim and whole).

The higher the calories in one sitting, the higher potential for storage. All excess, whether carbohydrates, protein, or fat will be stored in the body.

More meals that are smaller in the day will help prevent this storage.

Consuming Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have little nutritional benefit and are reportedly the greatest provider of kilocalories in the American diet. Due to the low satiety of these drinks, and other factors, the consumer can overindulge in calories.

The body’s response to carbohydrate (of equal caloric value) differs depending on whether it is liquid or solid. The study found that people who drank SSBs gained significantly more weight than they did when consuming a comparable amount of carbohydrate in solid form.

Too Little (or Too Much) Sleep

Studies suggest that weight gain is influenced by sleeping less than 7 hours or more than 8 hours per night. People who sleep too little develop chronically impaired glucose metabolism, steadily contributing to obesity. In addition, sleep deprivation significantly lowers circulating levels of the hormone Leptin and increases circulating levels of the hormone ghrelin—both effects that promote food intake. A slower metabolism and the urge to eat more will lead to an increase in body weight.

Quantity of TV Watching

Length of time spent watching television is highly correlated with weight gain, especially in young people. Mostly because studies find those who watch 2hours or more of TV will consume higher calorie foods, snack more, and have a higher calorie intake than those who watch 1 hour or less of TV.

Other evidence indicates that visual images of palatable food (as regularly seen in food commercials) evoke increases in plasma ghrelin concentrations, thus boosting the hunger/eating response.

Alcohol Overconsumption

Alcohol is very energy-dense—at 7 kcal per gram, it is second only to fat, with 9 kcal per gram; this creates a multitude of health issues. Alcohol consumed before or with meals tends to increase food intake, probably by enhancing the short-term rewarding effects of food.


Surprise, surprise! There is an inverse relationship between walking and weight gain suggesting that the more people walk, the less likely they are to gain weight. This should come at no surprise since activity level is the main determinant in weight gain over time.

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