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Are you wondering Why am I gaining weight? because the pounds keep on packing even though you’re doing everything right?  You exercise at least five times a week and eat real organic food and don’t indulge in gluten or dairy or sugar.

The truth is there are myriad reasons why an individual may still be gaining weight and it goes well beyond calories. While the consistency of a calorie does make a big difference, the body is a whole system and a problem in one part affects the whole, sometimes resulting in weight gain.

10 Reasons Behind The Question, “Why Am I Gaining Weight?”

1. Stress

When the body is in a state of stress, it produces cortisol – a stress hormone that affects metabolism and blood sugar. The more you relax in the face of stress, the more likely you are to inhibit cortisol, which can help maintain a healthy metabolism and blood sugar.  

Stress activates the fight or flight response which is when your body believes there is an imminent danger. Not only does stress create meltdown or panic, but it promotes bad habits like overeating. Find ways to relax in the face of stressful situations and to remind yourself that you are not in imminent danger. For some, calming activities like yoga or meditation work whereas others require something more stimulating like running or boxing. Even forcing a smile can reduce stress levels. Find what works best, stick to it, and battle cortisol levels.    

2. Packaged & Processed Food

Packaged food has preservatives, excessive salt, cheap oils, sugar, and all sorts of other unhealthy ingredients. Despite claims of being free of crappy ingredients, even healthy packaged foods should be scrutinized. Eating processed foods overworks the liver. And if this important organ cannot detox from overload of toxins, it risks getting clogged. With an excess of toxins to deal with, the body focuses on cleansing rather than metabolizing.  

According to Byron J. Richards, a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, there are a variety of reasons why toxins pose a major challenge to weight loss. A person who has too many toxins to process will make new fat cells and store those toxins along with them.

“This is first a form of self-defense against being poisoned, and second, a strategy to get toxins out of the circulation and away from major organs. This means that some people will not be able to lose any weight at all, regardless of how little they eat, until the acute nature of their plumbing problems are addressed.”

With a toxic system, losing weight is nearly impossible. Charcoal and coffee enemas are excellent ways to gently start removing toxins from your body.

There’s a bonus if you decide to drink hot tea, especially green tea: the antioxidants can help promote healthy cells, battle belly fat, and fight cancer cells.   

 3. Poor Elimination

Elimination functions at highest levels when our bodies are given foods that promote cleansing. Our body requires fiber to eliminate correctly. If the body is bombarded with processed foods, meats, and cheese, and rarely receives fruits and vegetables, the digestive system will be taxed.  

To increase elimination, the body demands fiber from berries, root vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, beans, brown rice, and apples.  These natural foods can align the digestive system and have the body working well again. Be warned, if your body is used to eating processed foods, slowly introduce these organic products.

Aim on having two bowel movements a day. A squatty potty, digestive enzymes, and high-end probiotics will also help.

4. Lymph Nodes & Thyroid Glands

The lymph nodes are responsible for maintaining a clean system. When the lymph nodes are blocked or overburdened, sickness can ensue. The lymphatic system brings fatty acids to the liver to be processed. When the lymphatic system and the liver aren’t working properly, fat is not metabolized well and is stored instead. Active lymph nodes keep the body clean and functioning at peak performance, but the thyroid gland is the headquarter of metabolic function. According to Dr. Rodriguez, “Hypothyroidism can be thought of as a disease process that causes a slowing down of metabolic processes making weight gain inevitable.”

Common symptoms to look for with underactive thyroid disease include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, menstrual abnormalities, constipation, and low mood.

Without properly functioning thyroid glands, weight gain is bound to happen. Consult a medical professional, holistic healer, or nutritionist if there is suspicion of poorly functioning thyroid gland. Make sure you look at your T3 and reverse T3 levels because western medicine seems to completely overlook this marker. Book a consult with health educator Maryam Henein.

 5. Negative Thinking

Our thoughts affect us on a cellular level. Studies have shown that when people hold glasses of water and think positive thoughts, that beautiful patterns are created in the water’s chemical structure. Meanwhile when people had negative thoughts, the shapes were not as aesthetically pleasing. Our thoughts can quite literally, shape our bodies.  

If you tell yourself that something is difficult, it will be. Life is what we make it. Try to look at life from a new perspective. 

Take pride in the fact that you’re conscious enough to want to make a change for the better, lose weight, or get in shape. Change and growth are positive and should be perceived as such. The more negative thoughts you allow to infiltrate your life, the less likely you are to reach your goals.

7. Overworked/Underworked System

There are two ways to severely damage the body when it comes to eating.  

One, if you overeat, the body does not have time to rest. An overworked system, of any sort, will eventually become tired, sluggish, and not perform at optimal levels. A body in this state will burn out, but will not burn up all the calories, resulting in weight gain.  

Two, if you are eating too little, the body won’t have enough vitamins, minerals, or calories to keep up with even the simplest of tasks. A system that does not have enough fuel will struggle to complete mental or physical work; in this state, you might make poor decisions about food and you will have issues managing your metabolism.    

8. Poor Sleeping Habits And Lack Of Rest

Sleep is directly connected to stress levels and how our body responds to food. Without seven to eight hours a night, we run the risk of putting on extra pounds. Why? Lack of sleep can increase stress levels, negative attitudes, unconscious eating, and low energy levels that, in turn, result in making bad food choices.

Our bodies and brains work best when rested. As with any activity, rest is part of the process – whether it be learning a new language or playing sports, our bodies must repose.

9. Mental, Emotional Issues, And Protection

Gaining weight or finding it difficult to lose weight could be a sign of an mental or emotional issue. Perhaps you suffer from depression, perhaps you use food to comfort you in times of need, perhaps you find great pleasure in food that you don’t find anywhere else in life. Whatever the reason, you could be relying on food as a touchstone and safe haven. Even trauma can result in weight gain or the inability to lose weight. Extra weight is often used as a shield or barrier – a protective layer against the world.

Spiritually, we hide ourselves away, too. Not ready to reach new heights, weight is the reason why we can’t do certain things. The weight becomes an excuse or a symptom of what’s happening, or not happening, spiritually. We are afraid of what will happen when we are successful and instead of being brave, we slip into a body that has plenty of padding.

10. Metabolomics: Pharmaceuticals And Antibiotics

Metabolomic medicine has high success rates in getting a person’s body in harmony, which generally results in weight loss. Dr. Dimitris Tsoukalas, an expert on metabolomics, says the practice “traces the metabolic pathways within the human body and can locate and correct the specific deficiencies in elements and foods needed to regulate metabolism towards an optimum state.”

The secret lies in having a balance within the body, a happy flora and fauna, so to speak.  

“The broader sense of biochemical balance is shared with the Ayurvedic tridosha. Also, the father of medicine Hippocrates described body humor imbalance as the cause of disease. The human body needs to be in a very precise biochemical condition to be healthy. With metabolomics, we can today measure and address the specific biochemical imbalances in every patient.” 

A supplement like cannabidiol hemp oil can also help you reach homeostasis. CBD oil has shown promise in promoting healthy weight. One study found that it helps break down fat, reduces fat cell creation, and increases the body’s ability to burn calories.

Meanwhile pharmaceuticals aren’t great for weight loss. Most people who are on antidepressants of any kind report weight gain. Even birth control pills are notorious for helping you pile on the pounds, though some experts believe the weight gain is actually water weight. However, there are other reasons to avoid hormonal birth control like an increased risk for autoimmune disease which may cause weight gain as well.

In the case of antibiotics, when the body has consumed too much, too frequently, the naturally occurring bacteria in the stomach is ruined. When those bacteria are killed off, the body does not have what it needs to maintain a properly functioning digestive system; as a result issues with metabolism, elimination, and nutrient absorption can be flared-up and cause inconsistencies. 

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why am i gaining weight

Why Am I Gaining Weight? It’s more Than Just Calories In

Issues with gaining weight are not as cut and dry; through further investigation, science has shown us that weight gain is much more complex.  However, this is good news for those of us who are struggling with weight gain. Now, more than ever, there are concrete reasons, backed up with real proof, that can guide us toward the right solution. This means with a little more time and effort, weight gain can be tackled in ways that were not possible before.

Jacklyn JankselaJacklyn Janksela is a freelance writer who is also a poet, painter, & musician. She writes about art @CultureDesigners, relationships @TheTalko, body image @TheWittyBitches, & sexuality @Thrillist. See her work at the following places: Femalefilet, ArtMugre , and The Velblouds. She’s known as Jacklyn La Polita Janeksela on Facebook; and she is vegan.
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