The thyroid, a gland in the neck that sits above the Adam’s apple, regulates a wide range of bodily functions including metabolism. But sometimes, for a variety of reasons, your thyroid may become under-active and result in a condition called hypothyroidism. One of the many symptoms of the condition? You guessed it, weight gain. The worst part is that the condition often develops slowly, so many people don’t notice the symptoms of the disease until they’re full blown, says The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It gets worse: If a thyroid issue is to blame for your weight gain, it doesn’t matter how diligently your dieting and working out; it will be near impossible to shed the pounds.
Do This!: Take a trip to the MD. “If you’ve suddenly put on weight for no apparent reason, I suggest you see a doctor so a medical professional can decide whether it is a thyroid issue or another cause,” says ‘Biggest Loser’ dietitian Cheryl Forberg.
When losing your love handles is the goal, portion size is just as important as eating healthy. The reason: Many nutritious foods—like avocados, oatmeal, quinoa, dark chocolate, nuts and nut butters—can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess.
Do This!: Unless it’s a fruit or a vegetable, don’t make the assumption that the healthy food you’re eating is low calorie. Next time you’re whipping up a meal, remember these three portion control cues: 1.) A helping of nut butter or shredded cheese should be no larger than a ping-pong ball; 2.) a true serving of rice and pasta is about the size of your fist; and 3.) lean meats should be about the size of a deck of cards. Sticking to the recommended serving size can help zap away excess pounds.
Earlier this year, a University of Utah study found that drinking two cups of water before each meal could significantly accelerate weight loss. So it should come as no surprise that not drinking enough H20 can have the opposite effect on your waistline. “Not only does water give us energy and help maintain body temperature, but it also help us feel more full,” says Forberg. “Not drinking enough water can cause us to eat excess calories that could lead to weight gain. Plus, when you’re dehydrated, the body will conserve water for vital body functions, which can result in water retention and a higher number on the scale.”