5 Underlying Causes of Sudden Weight Gain (And What to Do About Them)

People become obese or overweight when they continuously consume more calories than they spend. As a result, the surplus of energy that your body doesn’t expend turns into fat. So, people who eat a lot and don’t move enough usually put on a lot of weight within a short time. That’s what would be a logical cause and effect.

However, sometimes people quickly become overweight even if they don’t eat too much. There are many reasons for these kinds of sudden increases in weight. In the rest of this article, you can find out more about the five common underlying causes of sudden weight gain.

1) Hormonal disbalance

If you eat a balanced diet and work out regularly, but you experience sudden weight gain, you might be suffering from a hormonal disbalance.

Leptin is a hormone responsible for informing your brain that you’re full, i.e., that you don’t have to eat anymore. If the levels of this hormone are not regular, your brain won’t be getting the signal that it’s time to stop eating. As a result, people experiencing this disorder will tend to overeat more often, especially in the evening.

People with low testosterone levels can experience an increase in body fat, as well. It also works the other way around: the fat tissue around the belly reduces the level of testosterone. In that case, a regular daily workout and a lower intake of carbs and fats can help you boost testosterone levels.

Furthermore, insulin levels in obese people tend to fluctuate because the center for insulin production in the brain can start receiving and sending confusing signals. That’s why obesity presents a major risk factor for insulin resistance, which leads to Type 2 diabetes.

If you experience rapid weight gain without any symptoms, your hormones might be the culprit. If you have any doubts, visit an endocrinologist to have your hormone levels checked.

2) Problems with kidneys

The kidneys are the center of the body’s filtration system. Their main task is to remove the excess water, urea, and other unnecessary elements from the system. Also, they filter blood before it flows back to the heart.

When your kidneys work normally, the level of fluids in your body is normal. But if either one of your two kidneys stops working properly, the system won’t be able to perform filtration and waste removal equally efficiently.

As a result, water and other fluids will stay in your body for a longer period. Naturally, fluid retention will be higher, and your body will start swelling. This can lead to a sudden increase in weight, especially if both kidneys suffer a disorder.

Some other common symptoms of kidney failure or disorder include constantly dark and foamy urine, dry and itchy skin, and general fatigue.

If you notice a combination of these indicators, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor and have your kidneys and urine examined.

3) Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety are the two fastest-spreading mental issues among young Americans, and research has shown that people with diagnosed depression are, on average, less healthy than people without depression by 30%.

One of the most frequent indicators of depression is a lack of motivation. Depressed people have no motivation to get up from bed, go outside, or simply go to work. Chemical processes in their brains are usually slower than those in non-depressed people. A lack of willpower to move and be active is also a common symptom of depression.

Contrary to popular opinion, depression doesn’t necessarily result in a weak appetite. In fact, people who suffer from this mental health issue often overeat, and there have been numerous studies that have established a link between these two conditions. You can check out the results of the study published by ScienceDaily.

So, if you’ve noticed that you overeat more often than before, especially when you feel sad, analyze the latest events in your life. Have you been through a difficult period? For instance, losing a family member, ending a long relationship, or living in a dysfunctional marriage can easily lead to depression. However, you may also be prone to depression regardless of the exterior events in your life.

Once you realize that your munchies are related to your negative feelings, it’s time to see both a therapist and a nutritionist. The former will work on the emotional issues, while the latter will teach you what to eat when you feel this strong urge for food. With a gradual addition of physical exercise, you’ll be able to feel better, which is the number one priority here. And over time, you’ll lose some weight as well.

4) Excessive physical exercise

Obese people, as well as those who think they’re overweight, often take part in intense workout programs. Fed up with feeling overweight, they decide to make a U-turn in their lives and beat the excess weight with efficient training sessions.

Even though this approach can help you significantly reduce your weight within a relatively short period, there are some side effects.

For starters, it’s not good for the heart. This organ doesn’t like extreme changes in the way it’s supposed to operate. Even when you put on some weight, the heart learns how to work with these additional kilos. However, if you shock your body with excessive training after months or years of inactivity, it may not be able to stand the pressure. That’s why obese people need to start working out slowly and gradually.

Sudden weight gain is also one of the major consequences of overtraining. People who start running or lifting weights intensively might need a lot of additional energy to go through with their workout regime. This means that they might eat even more after each training session than they used to before they started working out. Even though they may increase their muscle mass with the help of these exercises, putting on additional weight is not a good option.

Instead of that, it’s best to work with a personal trainer or fitness instructor to create a diet plan and build muscles while reducing weight.

5) Sleeping disorders

People who sleep less than six hours a night expose their minds and body to continuous stress. This pressure is even more intense for people who work a lot and don’t sleep enough – a combination that can have grave effects on the cardiovascular system, as well.

When you don’t get enough sleep, your stomach and intestines don’t have enough time to recover. If this insomnia-induced stress lasts for a long time, the functionality of your digestive system will be reduced. As a result, you won’t process food properly, which can lead to higher levels of fat in the body and sugar in your blood.

Another link between sleeping disorders and sudden weight gain is late-night (over)eating. People who can’t sleep at night tend to eat more between midnight and the wee hours. Not only is their food intake increased by these night meals, but also their digestive system works day and night, which adds to its reduced functionality.

So, if you rapidly started gaining weight and you can’t sleep, try to first resolve the second problem and then approach the first one.

Final word

The struggle with obesity is usually a long-distance race. Sometimes the results of this battle are visible at once, while in other cases, it takes months to discover the cause of the increased weight and start reducing it.

Sudden weight gain is even trickier because there are many potential reasons for its occurrence. From hormonal disorders and dysfunctional internal organs to emotional issues and sleeping problems, many things can trigger this process. Sometimes even a strong attack on your system in the form of excessive physical exercise can cause a fast weight gain.

It’s important to monitor your mind and body to figure out when it tends to gain weight. The potential hidden causes we’ve discussed in this article, as well as some other symptoms that you notice, will help you target the root of the issue and start dealing with it.