Gaining weight can be an emotional experience, especially when you cannot attribute added pounds to an obvious reason. For instance, you may have noticed that you have suddenly gained weight in your stomach or that you have gained weight despite eating less. Situations like these can lead to negative thoughts like “I can’t lose weight no matter what!” and ultimately giving up on your goals.
Although sudden weight gain can be alarming, it is important to remain calm in these situations and use your resources to discover the root cause. By identifying the suspect, you will be able to properly take action against what is causing unwanted weight gain.
Examine what else might be happening
Ask yourself questions based on the 4 Ws: What, When, Where, & Why
- What does my daily schedule look like?
- What types of foods do I gravitate towards?
- What is my relationship with food?
- What distractions do I have in my life?
- When do I typically eat my meals?
- When did my struggle with weight gain begin?
- When do I experience cravings?
- When do I struggle most to stay on-track?
- Where do I invest most of my time?
- Where am I eating?
- Where am I when I feel the need to over-eat?
- Where do I find comfort?
- Why do certain foods comfort me?
- Why do I experience fatigue/muscle pains, etc.?
- Why do I choose the foods that I eat?
- Why do I find it difficult to make healthy choices?
After cycling through the 4 Ws, identify patterns in your behavior. You may discover an underlying cause of weight gain that you did not even realize.
Common causes of weight gain
Weight Gain and Mental Health
Eating habits can become tied to emotions of stress, anxiety, depression, anger, and more, causing you to automatically reach for a food whenever you are angry or stressed. This response is called emotional eating.
For those who struggle with emotional eating, food serves as a distraction and a way to self-soothe. Even just the everyday hassles of daily life can trigger intense emotions that lead to emotional eating. For example, you may be prompted by a difficult day at work, your children misbehaving, or an argument with your spouse. Even anxiety about an upcoming event or worried feelings about an ongoing conflict can lead to the search for comfort food.
To combat the effects of emotional eating, it is important to first recognize the emotions that cause you to over-indulge. After identifying the situations which trigger your desire to engage in emotional eating, you can then learn to actively engage in alternate coping mechanisms to process your feelings.
For more information on how to cope with emotional eating, click here.
Weight Gain and Menopause
As women enter menopause, the body experiences a variety of changes as a result of decreased ovarian function. At this time, the secretion of a hormone called FSH is increased, beginning the cycle which leads to an eventual decline in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone production.
These hormonal changes associated with menopause cause an increase in fatigue, muscle atrophy, weakened metabolism, and likelihood to store glucose as fat.
Although menopause can make it more difficult to maintain your usual weight, these symptoms are tolerable with the proper support and guidance. You can improve your hormonal environment with the help of an individualized diet plan that suits your lifestyle, exercise, supplements that support the adrenal gland such as Adrenal Complex and DHEA, and more.
Learn more about menopause-related weight gain by clicking here.
Weight Gain and Hypothyroidism
When a patient has hypothyroidism, an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone is secreted in relation to what the body needs. As a result, all functions slow down in the body, including the metabolism. Hypothyroidism may cause you to gain weight or make it more difficult to lose weight. When your metabolism is slower, modifications must be made to your daily caloric intake in order to have successful weight loss.
Weight loss is possible even when the thyroid is not functioning properly, but it may be a slower process. As part of the New Patient lab work, we screen your thyroid to make sure that it is functioning properly. If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and are prescribed medication, it is important to be compliant with your treatment for best weight loss. Thyroid medications will assist your body to regulate your thyroid hormone levels which will help improve your metabolism and overall weight loss.
Weight Gain and Diabetes
When a patient has diabetes, their insulin — a fat storage hormone — is elevated. People living with diabetes are insulin resistant; meaning that their tissues are not responding how they should to insulin. Insulin moves sugar from your blood stream to your cells for use and it also promotes the storage of fat and blocks the release of fat from fat storage. When your body can’t use it’s natural insulin, blood sugars remain elevated and your body will produce more insulin while storing fat instead of getting rid of it.
By reducing carbohydrate intake, you can naturally reduce your blood sugar levels and fat storage. As part of our New Patient lab work, we screen your blood sugar levels to make sure that they are not elevated. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are prescribed medication, it is important that you are compliant with your treatment for best results. Often times, we find that patients can reduce their doses of medications needed for diabetes and even eliminate them all together with weight loss and lifestyle changes.
Weight Gain and Insomnia
When a patient has insomnia and is not getting regular sleep, two important hormones are affected: Leptin and Gherlin. Leptin tells your body when to stop eating, while Gherlin tells you when to eat. When you have inadequate sleep, Leptin is reduced and Gherlin is elevated.
As a result, you will likely reach for more comfort foods or carbohydrates to keep you awake. These extra portions can add up and cause you to gain weight. If you are prescribed sleep aides you are welcome to use those with any of our programs. We suggest using our CALM tea every night to assist with regular sleep.
Weight Gain and Dehydration
If you are dehydrated, it takes longer to break down your food, which can cause fatigue from a delay of absorbed nutrients. In addition, dehydration slows the metabolism: how fast you are burning calories for energy. When the body is dehydrated, it places stress on the kidneys because they can’t filter your blood stream, and, as a result, the liver takes over this filtration process. If the liver is taking over the filtering process of the kidneys, it can’t focus as much on the metabolism process, thus makings your metabolism slower.
Water also helps you feel fuller and reach for less snacks. Often times, when we feel hungry, we really are just dehydrated and need water. We recommend at least 64 ounces of water daily on any of our programs so that you achieve maximum results.
We understand that it can be difficult to go from not drinking water to drinking 64 ounces of water a day, so we suggest giving yourself daily goals that will increase your water intake over time. We also have some great recipes on how to infuse your water with fruits or vegetables so that your water tastes better!