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.

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.


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.

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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