5 Uncommon Causes Of Weight Gain

Weight GainYou indulge in a diet of fast food, luscious desserts, alcoholic beverages, and sweet sodas, you gain weight.  You eat more calories than you actually burn, you gain weight.  Weight gain is a simple science.  You decide to live a healthy lifestyle, to exercise regularly and to control your calorie intake.  But you still gain weight.  It can be maddening especially when you think you’re doing everything right, following a strict regimen that’s been proclaimed fool-proof by many.  Basic science is telling you should be shedding the pounds, but your weighing scale is saying just the opposite.

Almost any magazine you open has an article or two about the “10 Simple Steps to a Leaner Body!” or the “Five Easy Ways to Trim your Waist!”  Simple and easy sell.  Weight gain is a simple science, for some.  For others, it can be a lot more complicated.  If you are watching your calories and being physically active but are still gaining weight, it can be the result of a combination of factors working together.

Here are some of the reasons why the arrow on your scale won’t stop going up.

Inadequate Sleep

A well-rested body performs at its best.  A body that doesn’t get enough sleep, on the other hand, is put through physiological stress.  The body responds in numerous ways to stress, one of which is biochemical; it stores fat more efficiently.  Another is mental and emotional reaction combined, and as a form of coping mechanism, the person tends to eat.

Some people who have wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep develop the habit of late-night snacking.  This only adds more calories to their daily intake.

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To be fully rested, the body needs a full eight hours of undisturbed sleep every night.  You will know that your body is not getting enough rest when you feel fatigued, irritable, and inactive.

You can start giving your body enough and better sleep once you develop good sleeping rituals and get regular exercise.  You can start off by adding 15-minute increments of sleep to your bedtime every night.  You’ll start feeling better right away.


Stress is the bane of today’s society, wherein there is no such thing as overreaching. Sometimes, too much is expected of us that if you are not feeling stressed, then, you are probably not doing enough.  Stress has become the ultimate motivator.  But it spills over to other aspects of our lives, especially our moods and emotions.

However we choose to respond to the stress, in our body, it triggers survival mode.  In this mode, the body stores fuel, slows down metabolism, and dumps out chemicals.  This is likely to cause weight gain.

In addition, many people respond to stress by eating because food gives them comfort.  Stress eaters make themselves feel better by indulging on high-carbohydrate foods.  These foods actually trigger the release of the chemical serotonin in the brain which has a calming effect.  This is a form of self-medication for stress eaters.  But this is only a temporary fix to their stress problems.  In order to handle and get rid of stress effectively, the real causes should be addressed immediately.

To start off, relaxation techniques and regular exercise are a great means of handling stress.

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If you are doing everything right but are still gaining weight, consider your overall health condition.  You may be on some medications that are affecting your weight gain.  These medications include some prescription drugs that are used to treat depression, mood disorders, migraines, seizures, diabetes, and blood pressure.  If you are on steroids, hormone replacement therapy, or oral contraceptives, these could also be the culprits.  If there has been no change in your lifestyle and you have gained 5 pounds or more in a month, then you should check your medicine cabinet.

There are many different ways by which drugs may cause weight gain.  They may increase your appetite, alter the way fat is stored, change insulin levels.  With antidepressants, for example, you may develop a heartier appetite as a result of feeling better.  Some drugs, too, may cause fluid retention which may be mistaken as weight gain on the scales, but can actually be corrected.

The most common types of medications that may cause weight gain include steroids, heartburn medications, high blood pressure medications, diabetes medications, anti-seizure medications, antipsychotics, and antidepressants.

However, your overall health condition is still more important than any weight gain from a particular medication.  You should just be more mindful of having a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

It is rare that your medication is the sole cause of your weight gain and, therefore, changing it may not solve the problem entirely.  Before considering going off on your medication, you should always consult your doctor first about your other drug options.  You should not compromise your health over a few pounds gained.  There could be more serious consequences than gaining more width.

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Health Conditions

There a few medical conditions whose side effects include weight gain.  The most common is hypothyroidism which is a deficiency in thyroid hormone.  This condition decreases metabolism, which in turn causes both appetite loss and weight gain.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, lethargy, headaches, swelling, hoarse voice, intolerance to cold, and sleeping too much.  A combination of any of these symptoms should be addressed by a doctor immediately.

Another medical condition that may cause weight gain is the rarer Cushing’s Syndrome, which is caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol.


Menopause occurs mostly in midlife but its occurrence covers a wide range of ages.  Whatever the age of menopause, however, most women in midlife are often less active than when they were younger.  In addition, with aging comes slower metabolism and hormonal changes which, in turn, results in hunger, depression, and poor sleep.

Menopausal women lose estrogen which results in a change in their body shape.  Estrogen makes fat deposits go to the lower body.  In its absence, the fat goes instead to the midsection.  During menopause, weight in the hips and thighs are usually lost but the midsection gains more.

In order to avoid the extra fat around the belly, it is important to increase metabolism or the rate that calories are burned.  This can be done by maintaining and increasing the amount of lean body mass.  This is where weight lifting and strength training come in.

In addition to thwarting menopausal weight gain, exercise, together with a low-calorie and calcium- and Vitamin D-rich diet, also helps offset bone loss which is another effect of menopause.

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3 Responses

  1. herbalife says:

    what!!! what r u saying buddy!!! stress can be a cause of weight gain!! its not possible.. because due to stress you can loose weight. you can never gain weight due to stress.

  2. TreeHuggers says:

    The Top Ten Best Supplements to help Aid in Healthy Weight Loss

    1. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
    Alpha lipoic acid, often referred to as ‘the universal antioxidant,” is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory found naturally inside of the energy producing portion of the cell known as the mitochondria. Alpha lipoic acid enhances our ability to metabolize food into energy. ALA is a unique antioxidant because it is both fat and water soluble. This means it can go to all parts of the cell, including the lipid (fat) portions such as the cell plasma membrane, as well as the interior of the cell (known as the cytoplasm) where water soluble chemicals reside.

    2. DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol)
    DMAE is a naturally occurring nutritional substance with powerful anti-inflammatory properties; it is found in fish including wild Alaskan salmon, anchovies and sardines. DMAE is important in the production of neurotransmitters, which are essential in the communication from one nerve to another and between nerves and muscles. Taking DMAE as a supplement will not only improve your cognitive function by improving memory and problem-solving ability, it will help increase skin firmness and muscle tone — important for anyone on a weight loss or anti-aging program.

    3. Glutamine
    Glutamine is the body’s most abundant amino acid. It plays an important role in keeping the muscles functioning properly and helps reduce muscle deterioration. Glutamine literally drives muscle-building nitrogen into the muscle cell where it is synthesized for growth. It is also converted into glucose when the body needs more energy. When the body is in a highly inflammatory state, it breaks down our muscle tissue to get the extra glutamine needed, resulting in muscle mass loss.

    4. Carnitine
    Carnitine and its derivative, acetyl L-carnitine, are two of the most important nutrients for weight loss. Carnitine is critical for energy formation and an active metabolism. Carnitine transports the fatty acids from our blood into the cell for this energy production. Thus, for carnitine to have optimum effect, we must have adequate essential fatty acids, such as omega 3’s, present in the diet.

    5. Acetyl L-carnitine
    Acetyl L-carnitine acts as an antioxidant, a natural anti-inflammatory that enhances the affects of the other antioxidant systems within the body. These anti-inflammatory properties protect the cell plasma membrane (the cell’s first line of defense) and prevent the conversion of arachidonic acid into pro-inflammatory chemicals. Although exercise will naturally increase our levels of acetyl L-carnitine, if we are obese, over thirty or have other health problems, it will not raise them to therapeutic levels, therefore supplementation is necessary.

    6. Coenzyme Q – 10
    Coenzyme Q-10, also called ubiquinone, is a powerful antioxidant/anti-inflammatory with many benefits for treating and preventing obesity. It acts similarly to acetyl L-carnitine in that it assists in energy production within the mitochondria. CoQ10 enhances the metabolism, giving us greater energy and endurance, a greater ability to lose body fat, preventing the energy decline seen in aging cells. CoQ10 also maximizes the burning of foods for fuel, helping to normalize fats in our blood.

    7. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
    Conjugated linoleic acid is a fatty acid found in many of the foods we eat. At one time, beef and lamb were exceptional sources; however when their diet was changed from grass to grain, levels of CLA dramatically decreased in the meat and dairy products. CLA has powerful antioxidant/anti-inflammatory activity. It decreases body fat, especially in the area of the abdomen and helps block the absorption of fat and sugar into fat cells (adipocytes). It also helps the insulin receptors remain intact, thus increasing insulin sensitivity.

    8. Chromium
    Because Chromium is an essential nutrient for normal sugar and fat metabolism, it is critical in our effort to control and reduce excess body fat. Chromium supplementation effectively lowers blood sugar and insulin levels and can also increase levels of the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides, thus playing a key role in regulating appetite, reducing sugar cravings, and lowering body fat.

    9. Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)
    Gamma linolenic acid is an important omega-6 essential fatty acid. The average American diet causes a deficiency of GLA because of the large amounts of trans fatty acids, sugar, red meats and dairy products. The body rapidly converts GLA into dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid, the precursor of prostaglandin E1, a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone-like compound that helps to regulate inflammation, blood pressure, and many other bodily processes.

    10. Maitake Mushroom Extract
    Studies show that maitake mushroom extract enhances insulin sensitivity for controlling blood sugar levels and may serve as a safe and reliable weight loss supplement — even without additional behavior modifications, such as decreased caloric intake and increased exercise. It is established as a powerful tool in preventing a dangerous quartet of metabolic imbalances that increase our risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes called Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome consists of high blood pressure, elevated levels of insulin, excess weight (especially around the abdomen), and dyslipidemialow, or low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides.

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    Thanks and I’ll post new articles like this once or twice per week so stay tuned! 8)

  3. I would agree on that because some people when they are stressed out tend to eat much. Especially sugary foods which could really get you gain weight.

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