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What causes excessive weight gain?

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Posted on Fri, 11 Jul 2014
Question: Why do I keep gaining weight? I'm 5'3" and used to weigh 205lbs. After several years of hard work & diet changes, I got down to 125lbs. I stayed 125 for a year. I worked out regularly, I still ate fast food and sweets, but I was convinced it was ok as long as I worked out everyday(bc I just kept losing weight). Then in XXXXXXX 2012, my husband passed away. It was an incredibly stressful time for me, I was exhausted all the time, I didn't have the energy to workout(or even care to bc I was so depressed & stressed). 3 months later I started putting on some weight. It seemed sudden. From October-November I gained 8lbs, most of which seemed to be in my abdomen. I was also having trouble with my periods at the time so in December I started a birth control to regulate it. I also started working out again. Through December-February my abdomen(esp the lower ab region) kept getting bigger, despite exercise. I'd also become very constipated, had trouble with bowel movements even when taking laxatives or enemas, any movements I had were kinda thin as if something was blocking it's path. I thought it could be due to the birth control so at the end of my 3rd pack I decided not to continue to the 4th pack. I'd just finished my period when a week later(severaldays after taking my last pill) I started bleeding very heavily. I bled nonstop heavily for 36hrs(soaking thru 2 super tampons an hour, every hour for the 1st 24 hrs). Im used to heavy periods, but this was scary. The bleeding finally stopped 2 days later, my stomach deflated, I was able to have a normal bowel movement again(normal size too, not thin) and 2 wks later I'd lost 6lbs(my 1st sign of any weight loss in THREE MONTHS, despite diet/exercise). I figured the weight gain had been due to the pill, I decided to stay off the pill & assumed I was on the right track to losing weight....it was short lived.
My stomach stayed deflated for about 2 months & then started swelling again. That was also my last true weight loss. In the last year I've steadily gained 20lbs, and it keeps coming. I workout 4 days a wk for 45mins, Ive increased my water intake, I eat less fast food and instead more vegetables everyday, I do low carb protein shakes everyday for lunch. Somehow I keep gaining! 3 months ago I decided I should increase my dumbbell weights from 5lbs to 8lbs for resistance training. In those 3 months, Ive somehow GAINED 8lbs! Please help.
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Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
See below!

Detailed Answer:
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

I am so sorry to hear about this continued weight gain despite your best efforts to drop excess weight. It is true that some disease states like depression, low functioning thyroid gland, Cushings' disease, drugs etc may lead to exaggerated weight gain but, the most common cause of weight gain is a discordance between calories eaten and calories used in a day.

What matters is not the amount of food, the type of food, how many times you eat, etc but the amount of calories it contains. Also, it does not matter how much sport you do in a day. If the amount of calories you spend carrying out all your days' activities including sporting exercises, is less than how much you take in a day, you would progressively put on more weight.

I will like you to start with very simple steps. Count all the calories you consume and estimate how much you spend in a day. If how much you spend is less than the consumed calories, you are bound to put on weight. Do this and get back to me with your thoughts.

For now, do the calories count. If they don't explain why, they other possible disease conditions would be investigated. But, you have not reported any symptoms suggestive of a disease condition.

I hope this helps. I wish you well. Thank you so much for using our services and do feel free to ask for more information and clarifications should need be.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Chobufo Ditah

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 6318 Questions

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What causes excessive weight gain?

Brief Answer: See below! Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about this continued weight gain despite your best efforts to drop excess weight. It is true that some disease states like depression, low functioning thyroid gland, Cushings' disease, drugs etc may lead to exaggerated weight gain but, the most common cause of weight gain is a discordance between calories eaten and calories used in a day. What matters is not the amount of food, the type of food, how many times you eat, etc but the amount of calories it contains. Also, it does not matter how much sport you do in a day. If the amount of calories you spend carrying out all your days' activities including sporting exercises, is less than how much you take in a day, you would progressively put on more weight. I will like you to start with very simple steps. Count all the calories you consume and estimate how much you spend in a day. If how much you spend is less than the consumed calories, you are bound to put on weight. Do this and get back to me with your thoughts. For now, do the calories count. If they don't explain why, they other possible disease conditions would be investigated. But, you have not reported any symptoms suggestive of a disease condition. I hope this helps. I wish you well. Thank you so much for using our services and do feel free to ask for more information and clarifications should need be.