I've had three episodes of weight gain in the last 10 years and each time have had to change my lifestyle to accommodate a healthier way of living.
That's yo-yo dieting, some might say, no it isn't. Looking back, I can identify exactly what led to the weight gain and it's taken a lot of learning on my part to discover what works.
The first time I gained weight was due to a move from Malawi (Africa) to England. Going to a new country means a new diet and exposure to a new attitude to food.
In Malawi, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted but I was usually surrounded by healthy natural foods so it wasn't a problem. To eat foods like cakes and chocolates, I really had to go out of my way. In addition, I wasn't bombarded with the Ad Man's images of what I should be eating.
England on the other hand was the opposite: relatively cheap junk food combined with the constant advertising of confectionery. The same I'll eat what I want, when I want attitude led to weight gain.
Moving from university to a full-time job
This was the cause of my next round of weight gain.
Moving from a relatively active university or school life to a sedentary desk job usually cannot be helped. My mode of transport in university was a bike. With my first job came sitting for prolonged periods of time and a much more limited ability to exercise. I tried to eat well so the weight gain was very gradual but ultimately, I lost track.
The third and final time that I ever gained weight and that I will ever gain weight (fingers crossed) involved a job change. I went from a sedentary job to an even more sedentary job. I sat for such long periods of time that I even started getting back problems.
No longer being able to exercise for instance because of an injury will lead to weight gain. There are two solutions: either eat less or do the types of exercise that your injury will allow. If you can't run, try cycling or fast walking; do more resistance training.
Increasing availability of food – both junk and healthy food.
Nowadays every corner shop and supermarket has a tasty little delight that they are trying to get you consuming. If you go back even a couple of decades this ubiquitousness of food simply wasn’t there.
This becomes a bigger problem every year. It’s especially a problem in the developed world where consumption and more consumption has become a way of life. Resist it
Moving from a low portion country to a high portion country
I did a 6-week stint in New York a few years back and I was flabbergasted by the portion sizes. The food was delish but every meal was 3 to 4 times a standard London portion AND half the price or less!
At first, I resisted but by the end of 6-weeks I found myself adapting so much so that I was annoyed by the stingy London portions when I got back. Had I stayed in New York, fat would surely have become me.
Most of us were brought up not to waste and to finish our food so leaving food on one's plate doesn’t come naturally. I say, ignore this advice, if you're given a portion that's too large get a doggy back for the excess or just leave it.
The stress of moving makes you eat more but in addition, it takes time to find the local gyms and parks in a new area so it’s quite natural to pile on a few pounds leading up to a house move.
Having a baby
I don't have one of these but many women gain weight during pregnancy and have trouble shifting it afterwards. They also have less incentive as this is a time when they have other more important priorities.
You actually don't need to eat that much extra when you're pregnant. Most of us overeat so in reality most of us shouldn't be eating extra at all! How much extra should you eat if you're pregnant? The equivalent of an extra slice of toast per day - only. That's only 100 - 200 kcal extra per day.
What is the solution?
Although your personal finances and your business success are my primary interest, I believe you only operate at peak efficiency when you're fit and healthy. If you feel good, it filters through to your work. To help you with that, click for your free ebook: The Quick Guide to Sexy