10 Reasons You Might Be Gaining Weight

By Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN

Your clothes are fitting tighter, especially around your waist. You step on the scale and see that you’ve gained some weight. You don’t think you’ve been eating very much more. And you wonder, “Why am I gaining weight?” Here’s a Top 10 list of possible reasons.


You may be eating more than you think. For the most part, people gain weight because they are taking in more calories than they are “spending” in physical activity. If you really want to see what you are eating, keep a food diary. A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed people who wrote down everything they ate and drank, six days a week lost about twice as much weight as those who kept a diary one day a week or less. You don’t need anything fancy; you can write it down with a pencil and paper or on your computer. Just make sure you are honest about everything you eat and drink, including how much.


Are you taking a medicine that causes weight gain? Some medicines that can cause you to gain weight are antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiseizure drugs, high blood pressure medicine, diabetes medicine, heart- burn medicine and steroids. If you have noticed a weight gain since starting any of these medicines, talk with your health care provider to see if there is another choice. Don’t stop any medicine or make dose changes without first talking with your health care provider.


Do you weigh yourself often? It’s easy to put on those pounds without knowing it. Preventing weight gain is as important as weight loss. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is made up of more than 5,000 members who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for 5.5 years. Seventy-five percent of people who belong to the NWCR report they weigh themselves at least once a week. Weigh yourself at least one time a week at the same time of day. The best time to weigh yourself is when you wake up in the morning, after you go to the bathroom, with no clothes on, using the same scale.


Are you experiencing a lot of stress? When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones to try to help you cope. But these hormones can increase your weight, as well as your blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, waist size and more. Some people eat more when they are stressed—sometimes without even knowing they’re doing it. Identify your sources of
stress, and look into ways to handle stress, such as learning to say “no,” taking a daily walk, reading a spiritual book or just taking more time for yourself.


When your blood glucose is low, the way to treat it is with food. We know that the treatment for a low blood glucose is 15 grams of carbohydrates. But when your blood glucose is low and you’re hungry, you may not be thinking clearly, which can make it easy to overeat. And, if you often have low blood glucose, the calories will add up. If you are having low blood glucose levels more than two times a week, talk with your health care provider to find out why this is happening and what you can do to prevent it.


You may be moving less than you think. With all the new gadgets, you don’t need to be as active to get things done. With a flip of your wrist, you can click on your computer or make a telephone call and your shopping is done. You can sit at the computer, on the telephone, or in front of a television for hours. Wear a pedometer to track your steps. Once you see how many steps you get a day, set small, realistic goals to increase your activity gradually, day by day, or week by week.


Do you get enough sleep? Do you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, or do you get up in the middle of the night to eat? Diabetes can affect your sleep, and poor sleep can not only affect your weight but also your diabetes care. Be more aware of your sleep habits, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. If you snore, ask your doctor to have you checked for sleep apnea.


Do you have a medical condition that keeps you from being active, or one that affects your metabolism? Do you have a sluggish thyroid gland? It’s fairly common for people who have diabetes to have thyroid problems. Or you may be taking the right thyroid medication but not the right dose. Talk with your health care provider about having your thyroid checked, or ask if you are on the right dose of thyroid medicine.


You may have changes in your hormones. If you are a man, you may have a low testosterone level. If you are a woman, you may have a low estrogen level. These hormones and the lack of them affect your diabetes as well as your weight. Ask your health care provider if your testosterone or estrogen level is low. He or she can use the results of a blood test to determine a proper course of treatment.


Insulin resistance is a condition in which your body makes insulin but does not use it properly, and this can lead to weight gain. It may take your body more insulin— either the insulin you take or the insulin your body makes— to keep your blood glucose at your target level. Insulin helps your body use food more efficiently and can cause weight gain. Work with your health care provider to see if you need to readjust your medicines.


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Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and www.NutritionStarringYOU.com. Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded NutritionBabes.com, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. NutritionBabes.com was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

OmnichannelHealth Media, publisher of DiabetesDigest.com, does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.