What Causes Weight Gain?

You can’t lose weight but you keep working out all the time. You’re eating right and you can’t figure out why you just can’t lose a pound. You see all your friends successfully diet and they lose weight. When you try it you don’t lose any weight. What’s causing your weight gain?

What can cause weight gain?

There is likely a hormonal issue, it’s not always as easy as “energy in and energy out.” Often, we have to look at hormone levels or other issues to find the real culprit behind stubborn weight.

There are several hormones in the body that cause you to store weight as well as other conditions that can make losing weight feel all but impossible.

Measuring tape across a stomach

Estrogen

High estrogen levels, also called estrogen dominance, can make you store fat. This weight gain often occurs more around the buttock, hips, and thighs.

This condition can be a result of your diet, which can contain pesticides and other compounds that closely resemble estrogen on a chemical level. Or, it is that your own body is creating more estrogen than it needs.

Cortisol

Cortisol, otherwise known as the “stress hormone,” can make you store fat, especially around the gut and chest. This type of fat can put you more at risk for heart disease and things of that nature.

Liver issues

The liver burns more fat than any other organ in the body. And, if there is too much fat in someone’s diet, the liver, when functioning properly, will expel the extra fat back into the digestive system for evacuation.

However, when the liver is overworked or not performing optimally, those same excess fats can be rerouted back to the liver and surrounding tissues. Often you hear this condition described as a “pot” or “beer” belly which should really be called, liver belly.

Thyroid weight gain

Thyroid issues, mainly hypothyroidism, can make you pack on weight all over your body. The reason is your low basal metabolic rate.

This is because your thyroid regulates calorie consumption and a low thyroid means you are not burning as many calories than you otherwise would normally and that’s what’s causing your weight gain.

A woman on a beach at sunset

How can I correct what’s causing my weight gain?

There are different hormones and conditions that can cause weight gain. Ultimately, you may need to be tested to properly identify your specific issue.

Fiber rich diet

Sometimes, like in select cases of liver issues, it is as simple as consuming more fiber. Fiber is needed to carry excess fat away from the liver and out the digestive system.

Reduce stress

Other times, reducing stress and increasing physical activity helps reduce fat storing hormones like cortisol. And your weight will decrease over time.

Long-term changes in diet and exercise

Many cases need significant long-term changes to diet and activity to permanently reduce weight and potentially reverse the underlying causes of your weight gain. It is those conditions that we address in our Life Restoration Program.

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Dr. Goodbinder

Jay Goodbinder DC DABCI is a doctor in Overland Park, KS who serves patients in surrounding Kansas City areas, cities across the United States, and in several countries around the world.