Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size
A
A
A

Five Surprising Reasons You're Gaining Weight

Extra calories may not be the only cause of weight gain.

4. You May Be Gaining Weight Because of a Medical Condition

The most common medical condition that causes weight gain is hypothyroidism.  A deficiency of thyroid hormone can decrease metabolism, causing appetite loss and weight gain.

"If you are feeling fatigued, lethargic, swelling, hoarse voice, intolerance to cold, sleeping too much, or headaches, you should see your doctor for an easy test to determine if you have hypothyroidism," says May. 

Much rarer is a condition known as Cushing's syndrome -- a disorder caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol -- that can also result in weight gain.

5. You May Be Gaining Weight Because of Menopause

Women reach menopause at a range of ages, but most are in midlife and are often less physically active than when they were younger. Along with aging comes a natural slowing of metabolism. At the same time, hormonal changes can trigger hunger, depression, and poor sleep.

"It is multifactoral. When women go through menopause, they lose estrogen, causing their shapes to change -- usually a loss of hip and thigh weight. And they start to gain more in the middle," says Bowerman. She explains that estrogen favors fat deposition in the lower body, and when you lose this hormone, fat is more likely to be deposited in the midsection (much like men).  This spare tire around the middle has been not so affectionately called the "menopot."

The key to avoiding this extra belly fat is to maintain and increase the amount of lean body mass, which will, in turn, increase your metabolism or calorie burn rate.

"Women need to understand how critically important weight lifting and strength training is to their health," says Bowerman. And don't worry, doing strength training won't make women muscle-bound, experts say.

Exercise also helps offset bone loss that can come with menopause.  A combination of exercise and a healthy, calorie-controlled diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is the answer to thwarting menopausal weight gain.

1 | 2 | 3
Reviewed on January 11, 2009

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
feet on scale
Blog
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
pantry
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens