causes of weight gain

What Are the Common Causes of Weight Gain?

In the United States, 36.5% of adults are considered obese, with another 32.5% being considered overweight. Therefore, altogether, around 2/3 of the American adult population could stand to lose at least some weight. 

Are you one of these adults? Are you curious as to the causes of weight gain? You're reading the right article. 

Below, we're going to tell you everything there is to know about gaining weight, thoroughly answering the question of "why do people gain weight?". Let's go! 

A Lack of Exercise

Perhaps the most common cause of weight gain is a lack of exercise. If you're not exercising on a regular basis, you're almost certainly going to be taking more calories in than you're burning off. This is how weight gain occurs. 

You're advised to do 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week. That is unless your cardio is on the intense side, in which case, you can get by with 15 minutes of cardio 5 days a week. 

Now, what is cardio? It includes everything from brisk walking to jogging to riding a bike to playing basketball and more. It's any form of exercise that gets your heart rate up for an extended period of time. 

Intense forms of cardio include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), rowing, swimming, and bicycling. Mild forms of cardio include walking and jogging. 

Note that weightlifting can also help to stave off weight gain, as muscle growth simultaneously burns off fat. As such, you should consider adding resistance training to your exercise routine at least 3 days a week. 

Poor Diet

Just as big a factor in weight gain as a lack of exercise is poor diet. Whether it's eating too many calories a day, eating the wrong types of foods, missing out on specific foods, or otherwise, a poor diet can very easily lead to weight gain both in the short term and in the long run. 

First, you need to determine what your maintenance caloric intake is. This is the number of calories that you can consume in a day without gaining or losing any weight. To find this, you'll have to experiment a bit; that said, there are calculators that can give you a ballpark estimate. 

Then, you'll need to assess what types of foods you most typically put into your body. If they're high in carbs, they're most likely contributing to weight gain, as excess carbs come to be stored as fat. Try to establish a macronutrient split of 45% protein, 30% carbs, and 25% fat. 

You'll also want to abide by the food pyramid, at least as much as reasonably possible. A well-balanced diet will keep your metabolism firing, and ensure that you're shedding as many calories as possible on a daily basis. 

It's also important, of course, to minimize your intake of sugary, starchy, and alcohol-laden foods and beverages. Soda consumption, in particular, tends to contribute to weight gain quite rapidly. 


Genetics are a common cause of weight gain as well. Whereas some peoples' weight is highly affected by genetics, other peoples' weight is only mildly affected. 

That said, just because your family is prone to weight gain doesn't mean that you can't take action to burn calories. Yes, you might have more trouble losing weight than some other people but you can still achieve reasonable weight loss, even with genetics working against you. 

Medication Use

Do you take any medications? If so, they could be causing you to gain weight. There are a handful of medications that cause weight gain, either directly or indirectly. 

Whereas some of these medications increase appetite, leading to increased food consumption, others of these medications slow down the metabolism, making it harder for the body to burn additional calories. 

Now, what types of medications cause these problems? They run the gamut from antidepressants to birth control to antihistamines and more.

If you take any of these medications, you need to go the extra mile in keeping your weight off. Count your calories diligently, be religious about your exercise, and make sure your diet is in tip-top shape. 


Another factor that commonly results in weight gain is aging. In other words, as you get older, you're going to have more and more trouble keeping off extra weight. 

Why does aging result in increased weight? It's because, as you age, you lose muscle mass and replace it with fat mass. Because fat mass doesn't require as many calories to thrive as does muscle mass, more calories tend to get stored in the body. This results in weight gain. 

There are also hormonal changes that occur as we age. These changes can result in weight gain as well. For instance, menopause often results in weight gain for women. In addition, reduced testosterone levels often result in weight gain for men. 

Hormonal Changes

We just mentioned hormonal changes as they relate to aging. However, it's not just age-related hormonal changes that result in weight gain. All hormonal changes can result in weight gain. 

From low testosterone to hormonal changes during pregnancy to hormonal changes due to a thyroid disorder and more, all sorts of hormone-fluctuating conditions can cause you to pack on the pounds. 

This is why, if you gain substantial amounts of weight out of nowhere, you should see a doctor. 

The Causes of Weight Gain Are Many

In truth, the causes of weight gain are many. It's not just too many calories or not enough exercise. It's every negative aspect of one's lifestyle, from poor sleep to bad diet and more. 

Fortunately, there are products available to aid in weight loss, setting your body on the right track to shed some calories. Interested in purchasing any of these products? Check them out now! 

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