Six Reasons for Weight Gain that Have Nothing to Do with What You Eat

Posted by Tiffany Weekes
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Trying to maintain a balanced diet is tricky enough, especially when attempting to lose a few unwanted pounds. However, occasionally our bodies start to gain weighteven when the number of calories we eat a day, and the amount of exercise we get a week, remains unchanged. So what’s a dieter to do when they continue gaining weight, even though they have remained faithful to their diet? Unfortunately, your weight gain may not have anything to do with what you’re eating. Here are some of the surprising reasons a person can gain weight that has nothing to do with their diet.

Sleeping Too Little


sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

When it comes to weight gain and sleep loss, there are two prominent issues at play. First, the later you stay up, the more likely you are to engage in some late night snacking. Studies have shown that a person’s decisions on what to eat get progressively worse the later in the day it becomes. So if you decide to sneak a late night snack, it’s probably not going to be an apple or low-fat peanut butter on a rice cake.

The second reason involves your body’s biochemistry. When you become sleep deprived, your body begins to produce more of the hormone ghrelin, which controls your appetite. The more ghrelin in your body, the hungrier you become and the more you need to eat before you begin to feel full. Obviously an increased appetite and less willpower to eat healthy do not make for a slimming combination.



Stress (Photo credit: topgold)

When our bodies begin to feel the all too familiar effects of stress, we begin to shift into survival mode. During these fight or flight moments of stress, our bodies begin to produce more of the hormone cortisol, which also doubles as an appetite stimulant. Studies have also shown that people are more likely to eat poorly during time of stress, as high calorie comfort foods offer a soothing solution. Once again, the combination of increased appetite and a willingness to eat less healthy food equals a perfect recipe for weight gain.


Antidepressants - Day 154

(Photo credit: JF Sebastian)

Despite the immense help that antidepressants can offers those in need, these types of drugs do tend to carry the side effect of weight gain. If you take antidepressants and experience unexplained weight gain, talk to your doctor about potentially changing your treatment plan. However, keep in mind that some people experience weight gain at the beginning of a their treatment for depression because they begin to feel better, which causes them to have more of an appetite. Even if you suspect your antidepressant are causing you to gain weight, never stop taking your medication without first talking to your doctor.



Steroids (Photo credit: gjs)

A number of anti-inflammatory steroid medications, such as prednisone, are well documented for causing weight gain in patients. The two main reasons this occurs is the increased appetite and fluid retention the drug causes. While weight gain is known to occur, the strength of your medication and the amount of time spent on the steroid, will help to determine how much weight you’ll potentially gain.

Prescription Drugs

Medicine drugs

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to antidepressants and steroids, a number of other prescription drugs can lead to weight gain, including drugs used to treat such conditions as seizures, diabetes, high blood pressure, migraines, and a variety of mood disorders. Talk with your doctor to find a medication that can treat your symptoms without causing unwanted weight gain.



When your thyroid, a gland shaped like a butterfly that’s located in the front the neck, doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, you may begin to feel cold, weak, tired, and begin to gain weight. Additionally, when your thyroid hormones levels are too low, your body’s metabolism starts to slow, which increases the likelihood of gaining weight. Even if your thyroid is only functioning at half of its normal production, it can still lead to weight gain. Treating hypothyroidism with medication can help to reverse your weight gain.

A health conscious eater, Timothy Lemke has enjoyed many healthy meals at B.J. Willy’s, a restaurant in Beaverton Oregon. 

One Comment

    weight gain

    These reasons are really cause weight gain. Our food habits support weight gain.

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