Self, Health And Wellness

What It Means If You Start Gaining Weight For No Reason

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What does it mean if you have unexpected weight gain?

We feel like we're doing everything right when trying to lose weight. We snack less, walk more, try to watch our calories and carbs. And then, somehow, we find ourselves gaining weight for no reason anyway! What is going on? Why are we completely blindsighted by unexpected weight gain?

In actuality, a lot of things may be to blame. Some may be kind of serious and involve a visit to your doctor. Not sure what's causing this? We asked some experts to weigh in — no pun intended.

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1. Metabolism

As we get older, our body chemistry just sometimes changes, and our metabolism can change with it.

According to Dr. Anjy Mathur, Medical Director and Founder of Angel Longevity Medical Center in Los Angeles, “A metabolic shift can happen with aging, or due to heavy metal toxicity, or yo-yo dieting."

But the body adjusts its metabolic rate to the amount of food you eat. “If you don’t eat enough, the body slows down the burning process by converting active thyroid to inactive thyroid. This adjusts metabolic rate to caloric intake,” says Dr. Mathur. 

2. Hormones

“Looking into the realm of functional medicine, weight gain may be due hormone imbalance, bad gut health, or stress-inducing high cortisol levels,” warns Tom Ingegno, DACM, owner of an integrative medical center in Baltimore.

If your hormones are out of whack, it may be time to see your doctor.

3. Dehydration

Just as drinking more water may help us to lose weight, the reverse is also true. Dehydration can play a role in weight gain. If you are dehydrated, it's harder for your body to burn fat, which slows down your metabolism and makes you gain weight. The solution? Drink more water! 

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4. Thyroid issues

Unexplained weight gain might be a health issue that you need to get checked out. Another cause? Hypothyroidism. "There are certain ailments like hypothyroidism that can cause weight gain," says health, wellness and fitness expert, Michael Kuang of Syphon Fitness.

5. Testing may be necessary

Unexplained weight gain means weight gain that has occurred in spite of not having changed your lifestyle or caloric intake.

So, according to Mathur, “In this case, we have to go down the path of finding a hormonal imbalance, neurotransmitter imbalance, or food sensitivities. Lastly, we find out if the body has become more toxic.”

6. See a nutritionist 

Even if you feel like you are eating less, having smaller meals, or making better choices, you might not be. It's important to take stock of what you are eating each day, keep a food diary, and see a professional. 

"It could mean that what you've been eating recently may not be very healthy, and you may need to look at your choice in food and drinks," advises Kuang.

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at