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How can I Avoid Weight Gain?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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In an age where health and well-being is stressed as part of a vibrant life, avoiding weight gain may be of high importance to many people. Luckily, a variety of resources exist to help maintain a healthy weight. Making a few basic lifestyle decisions can help lower the chances of gaining weight, and keep a person healthy and confidant about their appearance.

Weight loss or gain is not a mystical, confusing process; it is a simple mathematical calculation of calories eaten compared to calories burned. An average adult will burn between 1500 and 2000 calories per day going about daily activities such as shopping, cooking, watching television, working, and driving. Once it is established how many calories a person is likely to burn every day, avoiding weight gain becomes a simple matter of not consuming more than is burned.

One of the easiest tips for preventing weight gain is to shop around the edges of grocery stores. Most typical grocery stores are set up so that produce, dairy, and bread are on against the walls of the store. By skipping the middle aisle, dominated by frozen, processed and snack foods, a smart shopper can knock off a considerable amount of calories. If unhealthy food isn't in the house, a weight-conscious person can't eat it. Avoiding bringing home high-calorie foods may be the first step to maintaining a healthy weight.

An easy mistake that can drive weight up is to assume that exercise cancels out bad food choices. A medium-impact 30 minute workout will burn about 250-300 calories, about as much as in a medium-sized latte and a banana. A 300 calorie workout will never justify a 700 calorie slice of cheesecake. Working out may also cause hunger to spike, making a person more likely to binge after a particularly hard sweat session. Eating small meals throughout the day will regulate blood sugar, making hunger spikes less likely to lead to binge eating.

Keeping properly hydrated can also prevent weight gain by reducing stored water weight. If the body is not receiving enough hydration, it goes into panic mode, holding onto every molecule of water it can grab. Regulating hydration means drinking about four large glasses of water per day. If plain water isn't enjoyable, try drinking green tea, sugar-free lemonade, or sugar-free cranberry juice. In addition to keeping hydration levels high, these drinks may improve metabolism, kidney, and bladder health.

Avoiding gaining weight with exercise sounds like a good plan, but many people exercise inefficiently because of busy lives. “Weekend Warriors” attempt to make up for not exercising during the week with mega-sessions on the weekends. Not only does this style of exercise make injury more likely, it can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, and overeating due to blood sugar drop.

Thirty minutes a day of any focused exercise will likely do more good than two mega-workouts per week. Walk to the store, do 15 minutes of yoga after getting up and before bed, or lift weights during one half-hour TV program. Remember, exercise can also be running around with the kids, swimming on hot days, or biking at the beach. Contrary to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy, weight management can be both painless and beneficial.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By jonrss — On Nov 06, 2012

One strategy that doesn't get mentioned as often is it should is switching to a vegetarian diet. The fact is, you have to try pretty hard to gain a lot of weight when you are a vegetarian. It is possible, sure, and you have to be conscious of what you eat, but it is a lot easier than if you ate meat.

Almost all meat is either fatty itself, or served with fatty things. Take meat out of your diet and you end up taking a lot of other things out that pack on the pounds. I know that going vegetarian is a major lifestyle decision, but it is easier than most people expect and the benefits are real.

By KaBoom — On Sep 03, 2012

@Azuza - Walking is great exercise! And it doesn't really feel like you're working that hard either. A nice way to "sneak" exercise into your day is to go for an evening walk in your neighborhood, maybe a little while after dinner.

By Azuza — On Sep 02, 2012

I avoid gaining weight by kind of sneaking exercise into my day. When I lived in a city, I used to walk everywhere I could. I would walk to the bank, the drugstore, and the library. Now that I live in the suburbs, it's a little more difficult because nothing is in walking distance.

So I try to take the stairs when I can, and park far away from the door when I park in a parking lot. That way, I have farther to walk to and from my car.

By indemnifyme — On Sep 01, 2012

@Monika - Eating a lot of vegetables is a good way to avoid weight gain. if you're eating a lot of produce, you're going to be getting lots of good nutrients and you're not going to be hungry for junk food.

And of course, as the article said, a great way to avoid junk food is to just not keep it in the house. Instead of buying potato chips and Twinkies, get some nuts and dried fruit to eat as a snack. It's very satisfying, and way better for you than packaged snack foods.

By Monika — On Sep 01, 2012

I've been following the tip to shop mostly around the edges of the grocery store for years, and I've been able to maintain a healthy weight. I find that instead of doing some crazy diet, just eating mostly fresh foods, like meats and vegetables and engaging light exercise is enough for me!

By anon152365 — On Feb 14, 2011

Is going on the treadmill 30 minutes a day of? Or is lifting weights and doing yoga a must?

By NewsGuru — On Aug 13, 2010

allienoelle- Thank you for the tip. Something that helps me is to never shop when I am hungry. When I go to the grocery store hungry, I will buy unhealthy snacks that have a lot of calories in them. If I am not hungry, I am more likely to shop with my head and not my stomach.

By allienoelle — On Aug 13, 2010

I am a yo-yo dieter and am constantly worried about gaining weight. One trick that helps me avoid gaining weight is to chew gum when I attend social events. I am always tempted to munch on food at parties even if I am not hungry. If I have a piece of gum in my mouth, I am not as likely to eat and consume unneeded calories.

Do you have any other tips that help you prevent weight gain?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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