Healthy Living

Random Weight Gain: Possible Causes You Should Know

A few months ago, you went out wearing your new favorite jeans and shirt. But now they seem to be from another person because of sudden changes in your weight.

Unintentional weight gain can be a problem. But not because people lose some clothes since a sudden increase in size can be a sign of underlying health problems.

Causes of Random Weight Gain

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) occurs due to changes in seasons. It is a type of depression that usually starts in the fall and continues into the winter months.

However, in some cases, people also experience SAD during sunnier days of spring and summer. It commonly leads to mood changes, lack of sleep, feeling depressed, having low energy and a reduced interest in daily activities.

But another common sign of seasonal affective disorder is changes in appetite or weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. SAD may be the reason why some people experience random weight gain during a certain season. 

“When depressed or anxious, even animals are observed to seek sugars and carbohydrates which will ramp up serotonin production (the feel good hormone) temporarily,”

Dr. Steven Gundry, a heart surgeon and researcher focused on microbiome, told Byrdie. “But when that 'hit' wears off, we seek another 'hit' and another. Soon, there’s three to five pounds on the scale.”

Chronic Inflammation

A 2019 study, published in the journal Metabolism Open, showed a link between chronic inflammation and obesity. Excess foreign substances, like toxins or fat cells, contribute to inflammation.

People become at higher risk of inflammation because of high consumption of sugar, which puts the body into a state of shock, according to Catherine McCord, founder of Weelicious and author of Smoothie Project. 

“Let’s say you were indulging over the holidays and had a piece of cake every day,” she said. “You might have a little bit of weight gain, which is to be expected. Spikes in sugar consumption can trigger inflammation, especially if you’re not used to eating (processed or refined) sugar.” 

Emotional Eating

Random weight gain may also occur because of changes in the mood, may it be because of happiness or sadness. Emotional eating could lead to significantly higher consumption of foods, particularly unhealthy ones. 

McCord explained that “all adults are emotional eaters.” People overeat and drink more during holidays and other occasions that boost positive or negative emotions. 

Eating stuff “you're not accustomed to” may also put the body into shock that could lead to weight gain. 

Hormonal Imbalance

People experience hormonal imbalance due to stress, lack of sleep, a side effect from a new medication, thyroid issues and other health conditions. Having problems with hormones also affect the gut, according to Serena Poon, a chef, nutritionist and founder of the Culinary Alchemy method. 

“Another very common reason I see people gain weight without a seemingly obvious reason is due to hormones,” she said. “Your gut and your hormones rule your life, so you want to be mindful and take care of these two departments in your body.” 

Insufficient Sleep

Sleep plays many roles in the body. Having not enough sleep at night can also affect weight. Lack of sleep is one of the main reasons people experience random weight gain. 

Poon said insufficient sleep could negatively affect hunger-regulating hormones, such as ghrelin that helps signal that it is time to eat and leptin that helps you feel full.

Levels of cortisol also increase because of poor sleep quality. This hormone is known for contributing to inflammation.

Diet Poor diet and significant weight gain have been linked to numerous health problems, including higher risk of obesity. Pixabay

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