5 Reasons Why You Gain Weight Even When You Exercise and Eat Less

May 17, 2019 Updated: May 17, 2019

Perhaps you’ve noticed your body is undergoing changes of various sorts—due to age maybe—most annoying of which is your waistline. And perhaps you’ve decided to do something about it, yet it could well be that there is more going on besides poor eating and exercise habits.

To make matters worse, your friend who does the same workout as you has dropped two sizes and is loving it. What is really going on here? It could be that you have an underlying imbalance somewhere in the body behind the weight gain making it harder to lose weight.

There are several conditions that you may not have considered, and here, in the hopes that you’ll find this useful, we’ve listed a few possible reasons that might be holding you back from achieving your weight loss goal:

1. Thyroid disorder

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Too much estrogen and an excess of progesterone can cause weight to balloon in women. For men, if they are not producing enough testosterone, it could be a similar story. The first thing is to get your hormone levels checked. The thyroid needs plenty of iodine, so try eating foods that are rich in this mineral.

2. Prediabetes

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Being prediabetic means your body has become insulin resistant, and this can show on the waistline. Cutting right down on sugar and carbohydrates, while increasing good fats and quality protein, can help set you back on track. You need to clean up your diet and prevent yourself from spiraling into type 2 diabetes. Cut the processed foods and get back to a good, basic diet.

3. Endocrine imbalance

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Apart from thyroid disorders, other hormones can play havoc with your body, such as the “fight-or-flight” hormone adrenaline, produced by the adrenal glands. Too much of this hormone causes your body to be in “fight” mode all the time, which means you will retain fluid as your body tries to hold all the nutrients it can. This will manifest as weight gain. Break the stress cycle, get plenty of rest, try some relaxation techniques or meditation, and keep a healthy diet.

4. Excess cortisol

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The stress hormone cortisol level will rise when you are suffering from too much stress, which can lead to overeating, as this hormone can cause an increase in your appetite. Increases in cortisol can cause your insulin levels to rise, and with the drop in blood sugar that results, you may crave more sugary sweet foods. If you are eating a lot of junk foods, your weight is probably going to increase. Improve your diet, get plenty of rest, and try taking the load off yourself by relaxing.

5. Heading towards menopause?

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Premenopause in women might begin 10 years before actual menopause, and can mean mood swings, irregular periods, and hot flushes—and weight gain is also extremely common, as metabolism slows down and muscle mass decreases. Ensure your diet is healthy, cut out sugary foods, and reduce your alcohol intake. Getting more exercise will be beneficial as well, as aerobic activity will give your metabolism a boost.

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As you can see, a weight increase is not always the fault of not enough exercise, poor diet, or overeating, although these factors often contribute to extra pounds building up. A blood test may be the only way to discover if your weight gain is a result of hormones. If such factors are involved, it is best to sort them out to improve your health, and the weight you fought so hard to lose may become a thing of the past.