What Causes You To Gain Weight + 7 Ways To Stop It

What causes you to gain weight is different for each person.

Certain behaviors can cause you to gain weight, but it all depends on what you eat and how much exercise you get.

This affects your calorie balance.

Calorie Balance

The calorie balance equation is simple. If you take in more calories than you burn throughout the day (and out over some time), then you will gain weight.

Whether you gain weight or lose weight always comes down to calories in vs. calories out.

woman sitting cross-legged on floor upset she gained weight
It's important to understand why you gain weight in order to lose it effectively. You need a plan that fits your lifestyle and helps you reach your goals.

Foods That Cause Weight Gain?

There are no specific foods that CAUSE weight gain. However- certain foods are loaded with calories and VERY easy to eat due to taste and texture.

Processed foods, especially those high in sugar and fat, are loaded with calories and very easy to gain weight from. These unhealthy foods can be as addicting as drugs due to the dopamine released when we eat them.

Why You Gain Weight Quickly

The reason you gain weight so quickly is that it's so easy to overeat these types of high-calorie foods.

These foods are also typically high in fat and carbohydrates, and low in protein, which can trigger additional sugar cravings.

While these foods taste wonderful when you're hungry (and I'm not saying you should never eat them- but, keep them for special occasions), they don't offer much in the way of nutrition and will blow your calorie budget for the day.

It's important to make it a point of eating fat burning foods.

How Can I Stop Gaining Weight?

  • The first step would be to start a food journal (writing down EVERYTHING that you consume) over a week to figure out how many calories you're burning.
  • Then, you'd apply the Carb Manipulation Protocol.
  • The next step is to move more, consistently.
  • This means starting (or continuing) an exercise plan as your main calorie burner. Weight training and high intensity cardio are most effective to burn calories fast.
  • Then you'd add non-exercise activity throughout your day. This could be household chores, walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, walking to the store instead of driving, etc.

This is all you need to stop gaining weight, and in fact, will help you to start LOSING weight.

What Habits Make You Fat?

The top 7 habits that cause weight gain are:

  1. High stress- mental and/or physical stress causes chronically high cortisol levels.
  2. Drinking high-sugar beverages such as Coke or Starbucks specialty drinks.
  3. Eating too fast, which can cause you to eat way too many calories before your satiety signal kick in from your brain.
  4. Not exercising (or not moving enough during non-exercise activities).
  5. Not enough sleep (which artificially stimulates hunger).
  6. Snacking while busy (watching TV or doing anything online).
  7. Bonus tip- watch your alcohol intake!

Reasons You Gain Weight Quickly

If you're gaining weight quickly, there are probably some things playing into this (stress eating, emotional eating, incorrect dieting practices).

You need to look at the bigger picture. There is no such thing as gaining weight overnight. It takes a while for your body to put on weight, and it can take just as long to get rid of it.

So if your goal is to lose weight, the easiest way to do so would be to eat at a caloric deficit so that your body is forced to get its energy from existing fat stores.

The number of calories an individual needs varies greatly, but here are some basic guidelines for men and women based on height:

Calorie Needs Based On Height

5'0″ = 1,400/day

6'0″ = 2,000/day

Another thing to think about is that if you're gaining weight too quickly, you may be gaining muscle mass which is adding to your overall weight but makes you look more fit.

Weight lifting in addition to cardio can increase the number of calories you burn per day, and also help retain muscle mass when in a caloric deficit for losing weight.