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Understanding Underlying Causes of Weight Gain

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By and large people assume weight gain is a direct effect of overeating and lack of exercise. While this may be the case for a large number of folks, not everyone fits into that single category. Sure, eating a Hamburger for lunch every day and slurping down Pepsi after Pepsi without any physical activity is going to pack on the pounds over time. But what about the people who eat sensibly and regularly exercise yet they still are gaining weight? Let’s take a look into additional reasons for weight gain and obesity.

The Stages of Life

Particularly regarding women, we have several obstacles to overcome when weight gain is the subject at hand. First, we deal with a monthly menstrual cycle blessing us with bloated stomachs, cramps and of course – weight gain. Next we face pregnancy. We are the shelter for a precious baby growing in our womb and weight gain is inevitable. After the first baby, the weight is relatively easy to shed. It’s after the second and third that we begin to really experience problems. As if that wasn’t enough, the next weight increase we have to deal with is menopause. As our bodies age the metabolism slows along with physical activity. Hormones are raging and moods are swinging. And if we don’t decrease the serving size at the dinner table we might just plump up a bit. As lucky as men might be for managing to avoid periods and pregnancy they aren’t completely exempt. They too deal with the decrease in metabolism as they age.


This section is not gender specific and many of us fall victim here. Simply put, these are conditions within our own daily lives which often cause weight gain.

  • Considerable alcohol consumption: Many people don’t realise the effects alcohol can have on their weight. It’s not the calories in alcohol or the carbohydrates that get you. Alcohol provides the body with another energy source. This fuel is used first, instead of the fat burning energy we want the body to utilise. Of note, binge drinking is much harder on the body than one or two drinks per day.
  • Smoking cessation: Metabolism slows, rather goes back to normal, when smoking has ceased. Your body isn’t burning those calories quite as fast as it used to and weight gain might be an issue. Also, smokers often deal with cravings and the need to have something in their mouth while going through a smoking cessation program. Additional snacking almost always occurs.
  • Stress, anxiety and depression: Binge eating and emotional eating is huge, especially in women, regarding weight gain. We like to get out that tub of ice cream and boo-hoo to a good movie when emotions are out of control.

Medical Conditions & Medications

Over a lifetime we deal with a plethora of medical conditions and they can play a huge role in weight control issues. After a visit to our family doctor we’re usually given a prescription to “fix” us, but sometimes the prescription itself is the culprit for weight gain. Below is a list of common health conditions and medications known to effect fluctuations in weight:

Medical Conditions:

  • Heart and lung diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Bone and joint diseases
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Poly-cystic ovary syndrome


  • Steroids and corticosteroids
  • Antidepressants
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Anti-diuretic hormones

Your weight matters. Half the battle in weight gain is discovering the underlying issues. A consultation with your doctor or physician about your concerns with weight gain is recommended, especially when health conditions are involved, before a safe method for weight reduction is established.

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