Weight Creep and Fat Traps

Stephen Holt, Timonium personal trainer

Millions of readers of national fitness magazines including Shape, Women's Health, Fitness. Woman's Day, Family Circle, Runner's World, (and many others) have made their exercise programs both more effective AND more efficient with fitness and nutrition advice from "America's Baby Boomer Expert," Stephen Holt.

If you’re over 40 – or even over 50 (like me) – then you’ve probably have noticed your weight slowly trending upward.

A big part of the issue is that the life changes we all go through can easily lead to weight creep.

According to Edward Abramson, Ph.D. the author of Emotional Eating, “Any change in your life circumstances can produce changes in eating and exercise, which leads to weight gain.”

Let’s look at the main life changes that commonly lead to weight gain:

Think back to the time in your life when your weight was just right. Were you in your teens? Your twenties? Or maybe your thirties? Picture yourself as you were at your ideal weight.

Now when did things change?

Was it a gradual addition of pounds that accumulated over a span of multiple years? Or did you gain it all at once?

See if one of these common triggers might be responsible:;

A recent study at Cornell University found that on average, college freshmen gain about 0.5 pounds a week – almost 11 times more than the average weight gain among 17-and 18-year olds and almost 20 times more than the average weight gain among American adults.

Late night comfort snacks are always more enjoyable when you have someone to share them with—and who better than the person who pledged to stick by your side through sickness and health?

And not just women — many men [Me: “Guilty”] gain “sympathy” pounds right along with their wife. I clearly remember the, “I’m certainly not going to eat all this alone!”-look from my wife. Or the “How dare you work out when I can barely move”-look.

Hormonal changes along with strong encouragement from everyone around to indulge leave most pregnant women with a feeling of entitlement when it comes to food.

Sorry, but your career choice plays a major part in your weight. Go from an active lifestyle to spending 8 hours a day behind a desk and another 2 hours commuting, and you’ll certainly gain weight. Conversely, people who spend their 8 hours in constant motion find weight loss a natural byproduct of the job.

Close your eyes and go back to the fat trap that triggered your weight gain. What changed in your lifestyle? Typically, we can break down these issues into two specific behavioral categories.

Eating Habits
Did your eating pattern change at this time in your life?

  • If your weight gain occurred in college then maybe you went from eating 3 square meals to an all-you-can-eat buffet style cafeteria.
  • Or if marriage was your weight gain trigger, then maybe you went from eating small meals to fattening comfort food.
  • Pregnancy brings on the perfect environment for a change in eating habits. You go from eating normally, to eating ‘for two’, to munching on your baby’s snacks right along with her.
  • Your job can also dictate your eating schedule. Long hours and early meetings may cause you to grab a donut or chips from the vending machine.

Activity Level
The second category that leads to weight gain is your activity level. What kind of exercise were you doing before your life-changing event? How does it compare to your current exercise regime?

Chances are good that you were doing more exercise before your weight gain began. Think back to the exercises or physical activities that you used to do and compare them to your schedule today.


You’ve figured out which fat trap in your life led to weight gain, and then narrowed down the exact behaviors that changed as a result, so this naturally leads us to a solution.

You know by now we can help you with fitness AND nutrition, right? Give us a call and we’ll set up a free strategy session to get you back on track.


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