Why Do I Gain Weight So Easily?

What to Do If You Keep Gaining Weight

why do I keep gaining weight
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Do you feel like you keep gaining weight no matter what you do? If you are trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight, it can be frustrating when it seems like the numbers on the scale are going in the wrong direction. You may find yourself wondering, "why do I gain weight so easily?"

If you are struggling to reach your health and fitness goals, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions. Unwanted weight gain can occur for a number of reasons. There may be a simple explanation for why you are gaining weight.

Common Reasons for Unwanted Weight Gain

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

Also, remember that weight loss is challenging for everyone. Even nutrition researchers don't fully understand why some eating plans are more effective for some people and less effective for others. Finding the perfect nutritional balance and activity pattern for you may take some time and a period of trial and error.

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

Is My Weight Loss Goal Realistic?

Have you set a weight loss goal is unhealthy or unrealistic? Perhaps weight loss is not warranted. You can check with your healthcare provider to see if your weight currently falls into a healthy range. You can also check your BMI.

If your weight is healthy and you still want to lose weight, is it possible that you have set a weight loss goal based on unrealistic standards set by social media or other outside influences?

Trying to achieve an unrealistic body ideal based on social media standards has become more common, especially among younger women. The practice can set you up for health problems and is it not likely to be effective.

Research has shown that younger adults are often motivated by body dissatisfaction or a desire for an "approved" appearance. But researchers also know that these motivations can be associated with poorer weight loss outcomes. Studies have shown that health triggers—not appearance—are associated with long‐term weight loss success.

Have I Checked My Energy Balance?

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

You can use an online calculator to check your daily calorie goal for weight loss. This number can help you develop a nutritious weight loss meal plan. You can also see how many calories you burn each day. Making small changes to your meal plan and activity schedule may help you reach your goals.

Am I Mindful of Portion Sizes?

Measuring every food that you eat is tedious and isn't realistic for many busy people. Eating nutritious meals and snacks should not be a chore. But portion size does matter if healthy weight loss is your goal. And there are some foods that are easy to overeat.

For example, almonds provide protein, fiber, and healthy fat—important nutrients that boost satiety. But if you mindlessly eat almonds out of a large bag or bowl, it can be easy to consume a meal's worth of calories in a short period of time. A smarter approach may be to create small single-serving packs to keep in your pantry so you have a healthy, portion-controlled snack ready to go when you're hungry.

Researchers have also found that focusing on increasing your intake of healthy low-calorie foods is more important than trying to restrict your intake of high-calorie foods. At mealtime, think about filling your plate with plenty of vegetables and lean protein so that you don't feel deprived.

Can I Increase My Overall Activity Level?

Regular exercise can be helpful if you are trying to lose weight and build a strong body. But if you work out hard, do you 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 provides.

Of course, that doesn't mean that you should ditch your workout plan. But you may want to monitor your daily activity level and try to increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). For example, if you work at a desk all day, set a timer and take short walks for 5–10 minutes each hour. If your workday doesn't allow for a break, go for a short walk in the morning and again after dinner.

Are Supplements or Medications Causing Weight Gain?

If you are taking protein supplements or other ergonomic aids that are designed to help bodybuilders gain muscle mass, the result can be weight gain. Most of us don't need supplements to lose weight or gain muscle. A nutritious diet and a strength training plan can be very effective for increasing muscle mass in most people.

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

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

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

There are also medical conditions that can cause weight gain. Talk to your health care provider about your medications and your efforts to lose weight. If there is no medical cause for weight gain, they may be able to refer you to a registered dietitian for personalized help.

How Is My Body Changing?

In some cases, the number on the scale goes up, but your body is actually getting smaller. Have you noticed that your clothes are fitting better?

If you are engaging in regular exercise, particularly in a strength training program, you may be improving your level of fitness and putting on muscle. Use the fit of your clothes or a tape measure (rather than the scale) to evaluate progress. You can also use a body fat scale to see if you are making progress without seeing a change in your weight.

A Word From Verywell

Remember: There are some factors in weight gain that we simply have no control over. But there are other factors that we can change. If you've set a healthy weight loss goal, give yourself time to explore the different variables that affect your progress like food choices, activity level, medications, and body composition. You may find that you are making more progress than you realize.

But if you are still not seeing the results that you want, reach out for help. A credentialed trainer or registered dietitian may be able to provide the answers and support you need to reach your goal.

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