What Causes Weight Gain in Women

Watch Your WeightWe women are oftentimes in relentless battle against weight gain. We constantly keep watch on our food intake just so the pounds we tried hard to shed will not come back with interest.

In this article, I am going to tackle what causes weight gain in women and so we will be aware of this unwelcome foe and how to subdue it.

The Role of Foods In Weight Gain

Just as literal fuel like oil, coal or wood vary greatly in heat output, the foods we eat also vary considerably in energy output when burned or utilized in the body. And from the standpoint of energy, all foods maybe divided into 3 basic kinds: carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

1. Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are our principal source of energy. When they enter the digestive system, they are broken down into simple sugars such as glucose – the body’s basic energy supply. If there is a glucose surplus, the body arranges for energy to be stored as glycogen in the muscle or liver, or as body fat.

2. Fats. Fats are categorized into 2 types, the saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats come from animals, e.g.lard, meat fat, milk and its products. Unsaturated fats are of fish and vegetation origin. Examples of this are fish oil, olive oil, sunflower oil. As with carbohydrates, so too with fats. If the energy source is not used, it is stored as body fat.

3. Proteins. Proteins are not usually an energy source. They are mainly absorbed for body growth and repair.


What Does Energy From Foods Have To Do With Weight Gain?


Carbohydrate Foods

Imagine we are on a road trip. The car uses gasoline as the energy source. At certain point in the trip, it is necessary to replenish the fuel supply to balance the demand. So too, our bodies need enough fuel in calories to meet our varied needs.

But when more fuel is taken in than the body requires, it is stored as body fat.

There are certain fat depots in the body where fats tend to collect, these are the waistline, the hips and thighs. We may shed fats but these locations are certainly the last to release theirs. So even if a woman lost 15% of her body fat but virtually none from her hips and thighs.

Women are inclined to starve themselves to shed pounds from these depot areas but the outcome is temporary.

When someone starves, the body quickly shifts to ”crisis mode” and slows down the metabolism. And with low metabolism, one will start gaining weight again even on starvation diet. In frustration, you may go on another diet, but the more you lose, the more you gain.

That’s why some diet gimmicks simply do not work permanently. For example, diet pills may curb appetite for a while but the body quickly adjusts and the appetite returns.Milk Fatty Food

Hormones And Weight Gain

1. Thyroid Problem. Hormones are important chemical messengers in the body that are manufactured by the endocrine gland. The overseer of the endocrine system is the pituitary gland. The pituitary launches a hormonal message into the bloodstream and orders the thyroid gland to produce and release the three other hormones which control metabolism, body heat and bone maintenance.

Just as the accelerator controls the speed of a car’s engine, the thyroid regulates the rate of body’s metabolism – the chemical activity in cells that produce energy and new tissues.

If the thyroid is impaired, metabolism is affected because it produces either too little or too much hormones.

Overproduction of hormones or Hyperthyroidism promotes unexplained weight loss. On the other hand, underproduction or Hypothyroidism results to unexplained weight gain.

So, if one experiences unexplained weight gain despite all measures to lose weight, it is recommended to consult the doctor for any thyroid problem.

2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Another possibility for unexplained weight gain in women is the other endocrine disorder known as PCOS which is characterized by overproduction of male hormones called androgen.

Women with PCOS experience irregular or prolonged menstruation. Due to imbalance hormone levels, a number of fluid-filled cysts develop in the ovaries and fail to release eggs regularly. One of the many symptoms of PCOS is weight gain.

3. Menopause. Menopause causes a change in hormone levels and ovarian function. As estrogen levels decline, women experience sudden bouts of waistline bloat.

Other Causes Of Weight Gain In Women

  • Fluid retention. Fluid retention can be a symptom of a kidney disease or heart disease. Too much salt intake from foods also cause the body to retain water. So it is best to avoid salty foods to prevent weight gain.
  • Contraceptive Pills. Women taking contraceptive pills may also experience the unwelcome side effect or water retention, thus gaining weight in the process.
  • Medications. Some medications for diabetes and for high blood pressure and some antidepressants have side effects of gaining extra pounds.
  • Stress. There are women who are in the habit of eating when stressed or depressed. And they tend to resort to high calorie foods and snacks. The body’s need for calorie is simply being outbalanced by the intake.
  • Hereditary Factors. Genetic factors may make it difficult for someone to avoid the rapid gain of extra pounds no matter how much dieting and exercise is done.
  • Quitting Smoking. Women smokers usually light up a cigarette before mealtime to curb appetite. Quitting smoking will make them feel hungrier and crave for high-calorie foods. Moreover, one thing that nicotine does in the body is speed up metabolism. So when a smoker quits the habit, the calorie burning process slows down thus resulting to weight gain.

Address The Issue of Weight Gain

Victory Against Weight Gain

Understanding the causes of weight gain in women can help to address the issue.

If foods are the culprit, then it’s definitely best to regulate the intake.

If the situation is hormonal in nature, regular visit to the doctor will be greatly beneficial.

Other causes of weight gain can be addressed by self-discipline and determination. Diet and exercise perfectly complement each other to keep weight gain at bay

Reaching the target weight is like winning a lengthy battle. Think of it as a lifetime project. Do all you can to win because no one else will benefit but you.

And as you reach your weight goal, you will experience tremendous psychological boost. You will feel better and look better. That boost help to keep you going and win the battle against this formidable foe of women, which is weight gain.

Please feel free to leave a comment in the comment box down below.


  1. Satish

    Hi Cindrella,

    Very informative post written in a lucid manner. I like the way you have compared the car engine with woman’s body.
    Can you suggest some diet and basic exercise for woman to lower the belly fat. This will be really helpful, looking forward for your suggestions.

    • admin

      Thank you.
      Personally, I find crunches very effective in toning the belly. I do it daily for about 30 minutes and noticed that it’s firming my abdomen. You can try.
      I’ll tackle more on that in my coming posts.


    • admin

      Hi, thanks for the comment.
      Diet and exercise perfectly complement each other. Losing weight through diet, however, does not mean that you have to look sick. Regular exercise will not only tone your muscles but will keep a GLOW in your features.
      It’s best to combine these two.:-)

  2. It is often people gain some weight after they quit smoking. You did not mention that, but it is a huge issue for people who try to quit. Especially women are concerned about that. Besides, people experience huge stress while quitting, they face a fear of weight gain. As a result many smokers use a weight gain as an excuse to start smoking again.

    I run a quit smoking support blog called http://www.smokingisachoice.com and I know what I am writing about. I suggest you writing an article on this topic, as weight gain issue is massive for people, who tries to get rid of tobacco.

    Thank you for your thoughts and be waiting for future articles.

  3. Thank you, my weakness Carbohydrates- pasta, pizza bread eek. My mom suffered from her Thyroid and eventually had it removed. Thyroid problems seem to be quite common in weight gain with a woman.
    I enjoy exercising too especially doing Zuka her workouts are one of my favourites.

    • Thanks for your comment.
      I love bread and pizza too. It’s okay to indulge in our favorite foods once in a while but should be taken in moderation.
      I know of many women who have weight problems due to impaired thyroid. Sometimes surgery is the last resort to avoid more serious health problems associated with it.

  4. That is a helpful post. I understand better now why diets do not always seem to work on me.
    I also did not know about all of the reasons you mentioned which are responsible for weight gain in women.
    I understand better now.

    • I’m glad that my post gave you a better understanding on the causes of weight gain.
      It is my aim to educate women about this dilemma so as to have better perspective and not be disheartened by temporary failures in losing weight.
      Thank you for your comment.

  5. This is a very informative article. Although I am a male, a lot of the nutrition aspects of this are similar. I noticed that when I cut some of the carbohydrates I was used to eating, and I cut out bread, losing weight was rather easy when I incorporated cardio with it as well! Thank you for providing me with new insight!

    • Although this article was written particularly with women in mind but it is relevant to men as well. Afterall, we are made of the same anatomy.
      Carbs contain the highest calories among all foods so taking just the right amount is advantageous. And you’re doing the right thing Alex by integrating workout with your diet.
      Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

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