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5 Reasons You May Be Gaining Weight Unintentionally

Weight gain can be extremely frustrating, especially when you don’t know what’s causing it.

While diet typically plays the largest role in weight gain, other factors — such as stress and lack of sleep — may contribute as well.

Here are 5 causes of unintentional weight gain.

1. You eat too many highly processed foods

Many healthy foods, such as oats, frozen fruit, and yogurt, are minimally processed.

However, highly processed foods, including sugary cereals, fast food, and microwave dinners, pack a slew of harmful ingredients, as well as added sugars, preservatives, and unhealthy fats.

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2. You eat too much sugar

Regularly downing sugary foods and beverages, such as candy, cakes, soda, sports drinks, ice cream, iced tea, and sweetened coffee drinks, can easily enlarge your waistline.

3. You don’t get enough sleep

Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Insufficient sleep may trigger weight gain, among other negative effects. 

A study in 92 women demonstrated that those who slept fewer than 6 hours daily had the highest body mass index (BMI) and the highest levels of visfatin (a protein secreted by fat cells), compared with women who slept 6 hours or more per day.

4. You don’t eat enough whole foods

If you regularly eat processed foods, switching to a diet that’s higher in whole foods is an easy and effective way to promote weight loss and improve many other aspects of your health.

In fact, the most important factor in weight loss is choosing whole, minimally, processed foods.

5. You’re stressed out

Chronic stress is a common problem that can affect your weight.

High levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase hunger and your desire for highly palatable, calorie-dense foods, which can cause weight gain. 

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