Date: March 6, 2020
Reasons why you may be gaining weight:
You can expect to gain weight when you eat more than you should and/or don’t exercise like you should.
But what if you’re doing everything right? What if you’ve made no changes at all, and your weight still goes up?
There may be something else going on…a perfectly good explanation. Let’s explore some possible explanations for otherwise unexplained weight gain.
Stress plays a big role in weight gain. Most of us overeat when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. There’s a physiological reason for this.
Your body secretes higher levels of cortisol during these tension-filled times. For many, this turns overeating into a habit. The increased levels of cortisol cause higher insulin levels, which drops your sugar levels, which makes you crave sugary and fatty foods.
Besides the fat and sugar problem, stress also triggers the fight-or-flight response. This causes your body to believe you’ve used calories to deal with the stress, even though you haven’t. So you feel hungry, which leads to overeating.
An unfortunate side effect of several medications can be weight gain. If you are taking any of these medications, don’t stop them on your own. Talk to your doctor about making changes if you think your medication may be causing weight gain. It’s also important to note that these medications do not cause weight gain in all patients, but if you take them and you are gaining weight, beware.
- Anti-inflammatory steriod meds
- Meds used to treat high blood pressure
- Migraine medications
- Diabetes medication
- Steriod hormones
The reasons these medications may cause weight gain vary depending on the medication. The various mechanisms for weight gain are:
- Appetite stimulation
- Stimulation of fat storage
- Fluid retention
- Slowed metabolism
- Declined ability to exercise
Menopause, per se, does not cause weight gain, but the changes that go with menopause can, and often do. Most women do gain weight around menopause, but the changing hormones are not the only cause. You may gain weight around menopause due to changes related to aging and lifestyle.
The menopausal change in hormone levels may cause your body to store more weight around the middle. It becomes much easier to gain weight and much harder to take it off.
You lose muscle mass as you age. As a result, you burn fewer calories both at rest and during exercise. This causes you to lose more muscle mass and to store more fat. And so on. The cycle continues, less muscle, more fat.
An under-active (low functioning) thyroid gland can lead to slower metabolism and weight gain. If your body is not making enough thyroid hormone, you may be feeling tired, cold, weak, and gaining weight. If you have not had your thyroid tested recently, you may want to see your doctor. Treating hypothyroidism with medication may reverse your weight gain.
Lack of Sleep
Simply put, you gain weight if you don’t get enough sleep. The average adult requires 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. And it doesn’t take long to see the effects. One study found that one week of sleeping about 5 hours each night leads to an average gain of 2 pounds.
Inadequate sleep changes hormones in your body that regulate hunger and appetite. The hormone leptin encourages your body to burn calories and it also suppresses your appetite. Lack of sleep reduces your levels of leptin. On the other hand, the hormone grelin makes you feel hungry and it goes up when you haven’t had enough sleep.
Your brain cannot make good decisions when you’re lacking sleep so you’re likely to give into intense cravings for fatty and sugary foods.
When you miss sleep, you’re more likely to eat more the next day. And when you’re up later at night, you are more likely to consume more calories at night than you would if you went to bed earlier.
What to do
If you identified one or more of these sources as a possible culprit for your weight gain, take action.
- If you feel stress is leading to weight gain, try meditating for just 10 minutes a day. Some patients find relief from stress with light exercise such as walking.
- If you think medication or a low performing thyroid may be causing your weight gain, consult your doctor. Do not stop or alter your medication on your own.
- Is menopause a likely culprit? Talk to your doctor about hormones or other remedies.
- Not getting adequate sleep? Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier for a week. Then move your bedtime up another 30 minutes the next week. Settle into a regular sleep routine of at least 7 hours per night.
If you would like more information about weight gain and how to lose weight, contact the body shaping experts at Sculpt Away in San Antonio at 210-227-3051 or visit www.SculptAway.com.