Struggling with sudden weight gain? Here's what to do about it
Fluctuations in body weight are a fairly common experience: that last holiday you took could’ve made you gain a few pounds; being unwell can make you lose a couple. However, if you find yourself gaining weight in a very short span of time, with no clear reasons for that weight gain, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.
Possible reasons for weight gain
It’s important to separate casual weight gain with the kind caused by a more serious condition. Maybe you’ve been stress-eating a lot more, or you’ve taken a break from your regular diet or exercise routine. This kind of weight gain, however, is gradual and can be reversed if you go back to your normal routine.
At other times, you might notice a rapid gain in weight without any apparent reason. Your lifestyle and habits are the same, and yet, the weighing scale seems to be displaying figures that are further and further away from your ideal weight. This kind of unexplained, rapid, and continuous weight gain could be due to health-related issues.
What are the causes of sudden weight gain?
- Insomnia: Did you know that a lack of sleep can cause sudden weight gain? Changes in your sleep cycle affect both your mood and eating patterns. You might overeat or eat meals at odd hours, feel too tired to exercise, or choose to order and eat fast food instead of cooking: all of which ends up impacting your weight. Sleeping right is a great way to manage weight, so hit the sack on time.
- PCOS: If you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, losing weight can be a challenge. This hormonal disorder makes the body insulin-resistant, causing insulin levels to rise. High insulin levels lead to an overproduction of male hormones that causes symptoms like acne, irregular periods, and also weight gain.
- Kidney problems: The role of our kidneys is to remove waste and fluids from the body. When they malfunction or are unable to perform their job, effectively, our body retains too many fluids, leading to weight gain.
- Thyroid disorders: Hormones secreted by the thyroid gland regulate your metabolism. If the gland is not secreting a sufficient amount of these hormones, your metabolism will slow down and this leads to weight gain. An underactive thyroid gland (a condition known as hypothyroidism) is a fairly common reason for sudden weight gain.
- Medication: The use of certain medications can make you put on weight. Steroids, seizure medications, and antidepressants can all lead to rapid weight gain.
What are the symptoms of sudden weight gain?
The obvious signs include a higher number on your weighing scale and a visible increase in body mass. You might not be able to fit into outfits you wore just a month ago, and you may also notice your cheeks getting puffier, or that your ankles and legs have begun to swell.
But you should also keep an eye out for more subtle symptoms that could accompany your weight gain, like fatigue, hair loss, an irregular menstrual cycle or even shortness of breath. Sharing these symptoms with your doctor will help them better understand the problem you are facing.
How is unintentional weight gain diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you questions related to your lifestyle, medical history and your diet. You might also be asked to undergo a series of blood tests to check your hormone levels, kidney function, liver function, and so on. Additional tests could include imaging tests like an ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, or CT scan.
What are the treatment options for unintentional weight gain?
Rather than treating weight gain, your doctor will focus on treating the underlying cause for weight gain. If you suffer from a hormonal imbalance, the doctor will prescribe medication to balance your hormone levels. If your weight gain is due to a specific medication, your doctor may prescribe an alternative. If stress and anxiety are the root cause of your weight gain, then you’ll need to follow a treatment plan for mental health issues.
Along with medical help and advice, there are a few things you can do to help manage your weight:
- Sipping green tea: Green tea contains compounds that can speed up your metabolism, (1) so consider replacing your morning cup of chai or coffee with it. To fully enjoy the benefits of green tea, put in at least 30 minutes of brisk activity every day.
- Eating more fruits: Certain fruits have amazing fat-burning properties, and they also provide you with the nutrients you need to stay strong and healthy. Add more of the fruits in the link above to your diet to benefit from their goodness.
- Detoxing: Detoxes in which you consume healthy drinks and foods to rid your body of toxins can keep your body in ship-shape, helping you manage your weight better.
- Coconut oil: Adding virgin coconut oil to your diet can help you lose weight. Coconut oil contains certain fatty acids that have fat-burning properties (2) and boost your metabolism.
- Apple cider vinegar: Consuming apple cider vinegar along with a healthy diet can aid you in your weight loss goals. Apples are rich in prebiotics which are good for your gut. ACV is also known to improve digestion and help in appetite control. Enjoy the goodness of ACV with Setu Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies. These yummy gummies pack in all the necessary nutrients into one delicious gummy!
When should you see a doctor for weight gain?
If you are suddenly gaining weight with no clear cause, it’s reason enough to see a doctor, especially if it’s accompanied by any kind of swelling, nausea or headaches.
1) Can I manage my unexplained weight gain with exercise alone?
While exercise will help you burn excess calories, it may not be very effective against weight gained due to medical reasons like a hormonal imbalance. Seek medical care alongside a healthy diet and exercise routine.
2) Does eating very late at night cause weight gain?
It is always best to have an early dinner for ideal weight management. Maintain a gap of at least 2 hours between dinner and bed time. If you go to sleep immediately after eating, your body doesn’t get a chance to burn calories and this can lead to weight gain.
3) What is the best diet for weight loss?
Diets aren’t one-size-fits-all, but instead, depend on your lifestyle, goals, and routine. All the same, see that you eat slowly and chew your food well, and make sure to cut out oily and sugary foods from your diet.