8 Possible Causes Of Sudden Weight Gain

Last Updated on October 24, 2020

If you are one of those people who step on the scale every morning to check how the weight loss journey is going, you probably already noticed that a person’s weight is highly varying. One day everything seems to be in line with your strategy, and the next you wake up with four or five extra pounds. Don’t stress. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your diet or regular exercise plan isn’t working, but it could mean that you are doing something wrong. You see, those extra pounds are not fat – you would have to consume an extraordinary amount of calories to gain five pounds of fat in a day. Instead, this is what is called unintentional weight gain, and it could be either periodic, rapid, or continuous. Why exactly do you gain weight so easily overnight? That’s what we are about to find out!

1. Menstrual cycle

This is one of the most obvious causes of weight gain within a day for women. During menstruation, the hormonal changes women go through (more specifically, the estrogen and progesterone hormones fluctuation) may lead to a sudden weight gain. Besides, some women also experience water retention and bloating, which can further accentuate weight gain. These extra pounds usually go away when the menstrual period ends, only to reappear the next month or during ovulation. It’s cyclical, so you better get used to it.

2. Intense workout routine

Cardio workouts to lose weight will make you lose weight indeed. It might not happen overnight, but as long as you keep a healthy and balanced diet, it will eventually occur. But did you know that you can quickly gain a couple of pounds after a heavy workout session to build muscle mass? When recovering from an intense workout, your muscles will heal through a process of natural inflammation. The muscle cells become bulged due to the pooling of fluids around them, and the weight scale will reflect those changes in your muscle mass. Just wait a couple of days and try to ignore it. Remember that after a heavy workout session, you should always do some stretching exercises and rest during the following day. Your muscles need time to recover properly.

3. Fluid retention

Fluid retention occurs when your body tries at all costs to retain excess water due to an imbalanced hydration level. This means that your kidneys will send a message to retain all the water that you drink – which may cause a noticeable increase in body weight. Water retention is often accompanied by bloating, puffiness, and swelling. Once your hydration levels get back to normal, your body will start to get rid of the excess water at a proper rate, making your weight the same as before.

4. You are not eating enough fiber

Dietary fiber is a component of plant foods that the human body can’t digest nor absorb. It makes its way through the digestive system relatively intact until it expelled from the body through the feces. Despite offering several benefits, fiber is vastly known for its ability to regulate bowel movements and help maintain a healthy bowel. As you can see, eating foods rich in fiber is important to prevent constipation, especially if you are in a high-protein, low-carb diet. If you go a couple of days without defecating, you will notice a sudden increase in body weight. It’s inevitable. Those who have constipation problems regularly (even after making proper diet changes) should consider taking a fiber supplement.

5. High increase in your daily sodium intake

We already discussed how water retention can make you put on some weight really fast. But did you know that consuming a high amount of salty food can cause water retention? That’s right. The kidneys are responsible for keeping an ideal ratio of electrolytes in your body – including the sodium to water ratio. The increase in your daily salt (sodium) intake may lead to an imbalance, which will trigger your body to retain as much water as it can to counterbalance that disparity. According to the American Heart Association (as well as other reputable health entities), the daily recommended sodium intake is 1500 mg. This number is the ideal limit for healthy adults. It is worth mentioning that Americans eat, on average, about 3400 mg per day – more than twice as many.

6. Medication

There are many different ways in which a specific type of medicine can lead to weight gain. Some are known to stimulate the appetite, some may slow down your metabolism, some affect the way your body absorbs and stores nutrients, some make you feel tired and thus depriving you of the will to exercise, and some others make you retain water. Types of medication that have weight gain as a recurrent side effect include corticosteroids, beta-blockers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and birth control pills. These can affect men and women of all ages.

7. Eating a lot of carbs during a low-carb diet

When you drastically reduce your carb intake, your body will start using all the glycogen it has stored. Glycogen is defined as a readily mobilized storage form of glucose. It can be broken down and transformed into energy whenever your body needs it. The problem is that as soon as you eat a large amount of carbs again, your muscles and liver will restore the glycogen levels, along with water. The sudden increase of these nutrients could make you feel bloated, and you might even notice a slight weight gain.

8. You’re just getting on the scale at different times of the day

You must always weigh yourself at the same time of day. Preferably in the morning, right after going to the toilet. That’s the only way to make sure you keep a reliable track of your weight. Otherwise, the values you get will be highly inconsistent and won’t reflect at all your true weigh. Don’t forget that you must always get on the scale barefoot and wearing light clothes – ideally on your underwear only.


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