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The Causes of Rapid Weight Gain

Most of us, over the years, have lost weight and then added some weight. But as time passes by, it seems to become more difficult than ever to keep the weight off. 

causes of rapid weight gain

Causes of rapid weight gain image - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

A frequently asked question has always been what is an abnormal weight gain? You feel you have put on a lot of weight in a short space of time; without even binge-eating. The answer to these causes of weight gain could be a sign of some underlying health conditions.

If your weight gain wasn’t because of an underlying health condition, it could be that: 

  • Your metabolism has slowed down with age
  • You are eating more than you used to
  • Your menstrual cycles are out of sync
  • Either due to menopausal or perimenopausal
  • You are less physically active
  • Due to water retention from being dehydrated 
  • You are stressed, anxious, or depressed
  • And not sleeping properly

If it’s not any of the above, perhaps you should make an appointment with your doctor to obtain proper assessment and diagnosis.

Factors that Lead to Weight Gain

Let us see what underlying conditions could be the causes of weight gain:

1. Medications

When your metabolism becomes upset from taking certain medications – this can cause rapid weight gain. Some medications can make you gain a few pounds every month. These could be medications for seizures, or high blood pressure, or diabetes mellitus, depression, and psychiatric disorders too. Don’t stop taking your medications even though you are putting on weight – you must see what your doctor says first.

2. Insomnia

Research has shown repeatedly that insufficient sleep is one of the main causes of weight gain. Changes in sleeping cycles can affect your eating patterns as well as your mood and then you often overeat. One study completed in 2013 shows that people deprived of sleep who ate more carbs to meet their energy needs could put on weight.

Insomnia

3. Quitting smoking

Many people notice they gain weight in the beginning when they stop smoking. Experts say that this occurs because nicotine suppresses the appetite, and some of the withdrawal symptoms like stress can lead to overeating. Some research shows that in the first month after you quit smoking, you can gain as much as 1 kilogram. The rate of weight gain slows down after around six months.

4. Occupational Stress

Work stress has been linked to unhealthy behaviours such as poor eating habits, and lack of physical activity, leading to weight gain, obesity, and metabolic disorder. When we’re stressed, our body releases a hormone called cortisol. This amounts to increased belly fat and blood glucose levels. You have the constant need to eat and all the unused blood glucose usually winds up as fat.

5. Lack of Sleep

All your efforts can be wasted if you stay up all night, maybe watching movies. One study from Ovid says that shorter amounts of sleep could well mean higher BMI levels and wider waistlines. Lack of sleep can mean increased hunger levels and decreased leptin levels. When you deprive yourself of sleep, your brain responds strongly to junk food, making you unable to practice portion control. If you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, the craving and hunger surges might subside.

6. Excessive Exercise

Working out is important; there is no denying that. But maybe you are just overdoing it. According to the Journal of Obesity Reviews, overestimating how many calories one can burn when working out is one of the causes of obesity. Sometimes on the days that they do more exercise, they often tend to eat more; often eating more calories than what they burn. Exercise to get rid of excess fat, but don’t overdo it.

Excessive Exercise

7. Lack of Physical Activity

True, excessive exercise can lead to obesity and weight gain, but not indulging in physical activity can harm the body. It can result in cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia. Physical activity[1] promotes improved sleep cycles, increased capacity to do daily chores, and better mental and bone health. Combining physical activity with a healthy diet plan can help maintain a healthy weight. 

8. Skipping Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Getting nourishment early in the morning gives your body sufficient energy reserves for the whole day. A systematic review[3] revealed the link between skipping breakfast and the prevalence of obesity or overweight. So, try as much as possible to eat before going out for work, school, workout, or to attend to an important matter.

9. Constantly Feasting

The total calorie intake does have a direct relationship with a person’s weight. Consuming more than what your body burns in a period causes the weight to inflate. Eating less helps reduce it, making sure that you’re sticking to a healthy diet plan. Besides, the best thing you can do to maintain an ideal weight or to control it is to eat less and spend more on physical activities. Moving your body burns and removes excess fats in the tissues.

Sometimes, there are other moments to worry about weight gain, and these could be underlying diseases that are usually the causes of weight gain:

  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney problems
  • Cirrhosis
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Acromegaly
Meditation and yoga to avoid weight gain

Questions Concerning Weight Gain

The body mass index, or BMI, is the weight of a person over the height in meters squared. It is a tool for screening health risk factors. However, elevated BMI indicates an increased level of body fat.

Lots of people who are eating healthily, staying loyal to working out, drinking their proverbial eight glasses of water every day still gain weight. A healthy diet plan and exercising are pivotal but, maybe you didn’t realize that some other factors can cause you to put on weight that you haven’t thought about before. A good solution is to try to de-stress and do relaxing things like meditation or yoga.

Often people wonder what a healthy weight is and if theirs is healthy. Many people avoid the scale because they don’t want to know the numbers. Several books or internet sources can guide you in identifying what your ideal weight should be. One source says that:

  • A BMI below 18.5 indicates you are underweight
  • A BMI between 18.5 - 24.9 indicates the ideal weight
  • A BMI between 25 - 29.9 implies you are overweight
  • A BMI equal to or above 30 suggests you are obese
A person with a weight that exceeds the ideal weight for a specific height is obese or overweight, and if it falls behind the suggested number for a specific height, he/she is underweight.

Calculating your BMI is a good practice. It can help you determine you are overweight or obese. If you find yourself being in that range, you need to lose weight. Being overweight or obese is a predisposing factor for serious medical conditions

Weighing yourself at least once a week can help make a difference. It makes you conscious about your profile and encourages you to lose weight, if it need be, by decreasing your calorie intake, exercising, and following a healthy lifestyle.

Endnotes

Eating a lot of nutritious immune boosting foods can lead to you putting on weight such as avocados, nut butter, dark chocolate, etc. Don’t think that if you exercise and don’t change your diet, that you won’t add anything. Having a lean, mean body is really about staying away from junk foods and switching up the healthy foods and workouts. Then you might well see a difference – and just a pinch of salt advice here; stay away from too much salt, it makes you retain water and get bloated. 

The fact of the matter is that there are serious causes of weight gain that we simply have no control over. That’s right, but then, there are other factors that we can change. If you have set yourself a healthy weight loss goal and have checked out important factors that can affect your progress, such as those mentioned above, you can find that you can and will progress more than you might have realized. If not, then some professional trainers and registered dieticians might be able to help you achieve that goal. You won’t regret it one ounce!

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