I have been eating like this for decades! How is it possible that I started gaining weight for no reason? Does that break the law of physics? Is it unhealthy? No, this happens relatively often and there’s an easy explanation. The good news is, when you understand why, you have a chance at reversing your weight gain.
Thankfully, the energy balance equation of ‘eat more than you burn off and you will gain weight’ still works here. The problem is it can shift in subtle ways because of lifestyle and health changes which are hard to notice. Here are some of the common reasons and their solutions.
Your food intake did increase slightly
It’s very normal that our food intake fluctuates. Everyday things like increased stress and changes in mood, appetite, and our environment can influence how much we eat. These effects might be very small but they add up over time. If you suspect that this might be your case, try logging your food for a few weeks alongside how you felt that day and you might find the answer.
You started sleeping worse
Sleep is a major factor in weight management. Changes in sleep impact your metabolic output, how much you burn, your hunger and cravings and how much you take in. So, if you sleep 6 hours instead of 8 like you’re used to or if you’re waking up many times during the night or have a chaotic sleep schedule, you’re making weight gain substantially more likely. Improvements in sleep can be a game changer.
Your metabolism adapted
Your metabolism might not be the same it used to. Especially if you did some dieting or gained and lost a lot of weight, it’s very likely your metabolism adapted. This adaptation means that you can maintain your weight on fewer calories. So, even if you eat the same amount of food as you used to, your body simply burns less and you put on weight.
Menopause influenced your hormones
During menopause, your thyroid hormone levels decline. Especially hormones T3 and T4 are crucial for metabolic function. When their levels decrease, you start burning less energy and weight gain is more likely.
Your health status changed
It is possible that a new medication influences your metabolism, it can increase how much energy you absorb from food, for example. Also, chronic pain can make you move less thus decreasing your energy output. And people with hypothyroidism, even its mild to moderate versions, experience a metabolic slow-down, burning up to 360 kcal per day less.
The last three paragraphs illustrate the key takeaway. Sometimes it seems like your life is pretty much the same as it was and you’re eating the same amount. But in fact, the inner workings of your body and your metabolism might have changed substantially. As unfortunate as it is, if you’re gaining weight for no apparent reason, the best solution might be to adjust your food intake, eat less.