Unintentional Weight Gain
Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight Unintentionally
Weight gain can be very uncomfortable and very frustrating, especially when you can’t understand why it’s happening. Though diet often plays the largest role in weight gain, other factors — such as lack of sleep and/or stress — can play in as well. Here are some reasons to consider that might help explain:
- Overconsumption of Processed Foods There are many foods available that are not highly processed, such as fresh and frozen fruits, oats, and yogurt. Unfortunately however there are many many highly processed foods that people consume often such as fast food, sugary cereals, and microwavable dinners. These foods are usually full of calories but lacking in essential nutrients like fiber and protein. It is recommended to reduce or eliminating processed foods if you are struggling with weight gain.
- Overconsumption of Sugar Beverages loaded with sugar are associated with weight gain. Sugar intake can cause weight gain, and also increases your chance for other chronic health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you regularly consume sugary beverages, or cookies, cakes, or candies, gradually try decreasing your sugar intake.
- Overconsumption of Calories Overeating is one of the most common causes of weight gain. If you ingest more calories than you burn, weight gain is likely. Focus on eating mindfully, following a high-protein diet rich in fiber-rich foods and plant foods, and drinking water rather than calorie-loaded beverages.
- Sedentary Life Habits Another common cause of weight gain (as well as chronic disease) is inactivity. Desk jobs, extensive use of computers and/or phones, and extensive TV watching and screen time can all contribute to physical inactivity and therefor weight gain. A few simple changes can make a significant difference. Try starting with small exercise routines and sitting less. Other adjustments to your daily routine such as riding a bike to work, taking a short daily walk, working out during a lunch break, and/or using a treadmill desk, can all be effective ways to stop and reverse weight gain.
- Yo-Yo Dieting Yo-Yo dieting is the process of trying intermittent weight loss regimes by restricting eating and dieting, followed by returning to normal eating habits. Physiological responses by your body to this process can actually cause future weight gain. A slow sustainable lifestyle change is a much more effective approach. Consider increasing exercise and activity, and reducing processed foods and sugar intake, and consuming more whole foods.
- Undiagnosed Medical Issues While some lifestyle factors can contribute to weight gain, there are medical issues and conditions which can also affect weight, such as Hypothyroidism, Depression, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and Binge Eating Disorder, all of which have direct links to weight gain and width issues. Other health conditions like Diabetes and Cushing’s Syndrome are also linked to weight gain. It’s also important to note that certain medications, including antipsychotics and antidepressants, can also contribute to weight gain. Getting an accurate diagnosis from your healthcare provider is important.
- Poor Sleep Habits An ample amount of quality sleep is a key component to optimal health. It has been shown that lack of sleep can trigger weight gain in some people. Make sure to make getting enough good sleep a priority.
- Stress Chronic stress can have a myriad of effects on many aspects of a person’s health. Increase in cortisol levels due to stress can increase hunger and cravings, as well as induce depression and fatigue, both of which can influence inactivity. Stress management is a key component to managing overall health, including weight issues.
Often simple changes, such as increasing activity, eating mindfully, and making changes in your diet to include whole foods — can help you achieve your ideal weight.