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Why Do You Gain Weight Faster than You Lose It?

a woman holding a sad emoji picture on one hand and a burger with a measuring tape on the other hand

Unwanted Weight Gain​​

Do you feel like putting on weight no matter what you do? If you are trying to maintain a healthy weight, it can be very annoying and frustrating when it seems like the result is going in the wrong direction. Unwanted weight gain can happen for various reasons.

Common Reasons for Unwanted Weight Gain

If you struggle to lose weight, don't blame yourself. The truth is that everyone struggles with something in their lives. If your struggle is weight loss, you're not alone either. Give yourself credit for those things you do well and bring out the confidence in your weight loss journey.

Losing weight is a challenging journey for everyone. Even nutrition researchers don't understand why some eating plans are more effective for some people compared to others.

If you've been following a weight loss plan and not getting the results that you desire, ask yourself these questions. You may find that doing certain changes can help you get on track to reach your goals.

Is My Weight Loss Goal Realistic?

You can check with your healthcare professional to see if your weight currently falls into a healthy range. You can also check your BMI.

Trying to get an unrealistic body ideal based on certain media standards has become very common, especially with younger women. The practice can make you prone to various health problems and is not likely to be effective.

Have I Checked My Energy Balance?

Energy balance (calories in vs. calories out) is a good starting point when you want to understand unwanted weight gain. Weight gain or weight loss often comes down to your eating choices (calories in) and physical activity habits (calories out). While there are various factors that can influence these two balances, researchers still acknowledge energy balance as the smart way for weight loss.

Check your daily calorie goal using an online calculator for weight loss can help you develop a nutritious weight loss meal plan. You can also see how many calories you burn daily. Making small alterations to your meal plan and activity schedule may help you reach your goals early.

Am I Mindful of Portion Sizes?

Measuring every food that you eat can be tedious and isn't realistic at all for most people. Eating nutritious food should not be a chore. But portion size does really matter if healthy weight loss is your desired goal.  As there are certain foods that are easy to overeat. 

For example, almonds provide protein, fibre, and healthy fat—important nutrients that enhance satiety. But if you eat almonds out of a large bowl or packet directly, it would be easy to consume lots of calories in a short period of time. A smarter way to avoid overeating is to create small single-serving packs to keep in your pantry so you have a healthy, portion-controlled snack ready to go whenever you're hungry.

Focusing on increasing your intake of healthy low-calorie foods is more important than trying to restrict yourself from high-calorie foods. At mealtime, try filling your plate with lots of vegetables and lean protein so that you don't feel the need for more food.

Can I Increase My Overall Activity Level?

Regular exercise could be very helpful if you are trying to lose body fat and build a strong body. If your workout is hard, don't lay on the couch for the rest of the day to recover. Some studies have suggested that even if you exercise, sitting for the rest of the day can undo the metabolic benefits that exercise has provided.

For example, if you have a desk job all day, set a timer and take short walks for 5–10 minutes every hour. If your work doesn't allow for a break, go for a short walk in the morning and after dinner.

Are Supplements or Medications Causing Weight Gain?

If you are taking protein supplements or other ergonomic aids that are made to help gain muscle mass, the result can be weight gain. Many of us don't need supplements to lose weight or gain muscle mass. A well nutritious balanced diet and a strength training plan can be quite effective for increasing muscle mass in many people.

If you are not using any bodybuilding supplements, perhaps a certain medication is causing weight gain.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there are a few medications that can cause an increase in weight including:

  • Birth control pills
  • Corticosteroids
  • Few drugs used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression
  • Few drugs used to treat diabetes

There are also various medical conditions that can cause weight gain. Talk to your healthcare professional about your medications and about your efforts to lose weight. If there is no medical cause for weight gain, they may be able to help you identify other issues related.

Take Away

There are a few factors in weight gain that we simply have no control over. But there are certainly other factors that we can alter. If you've set a healthy weight loss plan, dieting, give yourself time to know about the different variables that can affect your progress like food choices, activity level, medications, and body composition. You will find that you start making more progress than you realize.

But if you are still unable to see the results that you want, ask for help from a credentialed trainer or registered dietitian who may be able to provide the support you need to reach your goal.