5 Reasons Why You Regain Weight and Which Ones You Can Control

Every year, thousands of women in the United States and other parts of the world make drastic lifestyle changes, start working out, and following a diet. After a few months, many of these women begin to see the results of their hard work.

But after a while, some of these women who successfully lost weight may regain weight.

The reason why they regain weight may either be as a result of the things they did or failed to do after they lost weight. For example, if a person stops exercising or stop following a healthy diet and started eating highly processed foods after losing weight, then the person will likely regain weight.

On the other hand, the reason why some of them regained weight could be because of some factors that are out of their control like genetics, age, sex, gender, and so on.

In this article, we are going to be looking at some controllable factors that cause us to regain weight.

5 Reasons Why You Regain Weight and Which Ones You Can Control #habit guides, #motivation, #lose weight, #weight loss for women, #weight loss journey

Unrealistic exercise and diet program

Following an overly restrictive diet is by no means a good idea, as you may not be able to keep up with it.

In the end, your discipline and motivation will ebb away, and you will give in to your cravings for the foods or diet restricted from you.

This is ultimately going to make you regain what you lost while following the diet.

Following a super intense workout program, especially when you are just starting out, can have a similar effect.

If an exercise program is too much for you to handle, you will dread working out and eventually give up on the program.

Instead of following an unrealistic exercise plan that promises quick results, do exercises that you enjoy and can keep up with in the long term.

Sedentary lifestyle

If you do a little digging, you will find out that most people, who regained weight, became less active.

Several studies have shown that inactivity is one of the foremost causes of weight gain (1) (2) (3).

People who engage in sedentary activities like driving, watching television, or using a computer or mobile device for long hours are likely going to become overweight.

If you have a job that requires you to sit down for long hours in front of a computer screen, you should consider making some changes to your routine to make yourself more active. Below are some of these activities.

  • Ride a bike to work.
  • If you can take a walk.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car in a parking lot that isn’t too close to your workplace.
  • Invest in a standing desk so that you can work while standing.

A 3-month study in more than 300 office workers found that replacing one hour of sitting with standing can increase lean muscles, reduce fat, and reduce waist size (4).


The internet is loaded with tons of information about weight loss and nutrition. While some of them are credible, others are baseless and misleading.

Many news outlets misinterpret the result of studies conducted by health experts. Most of them don’t really give readers a clear picture of what the study is all about; instead, they take the word out of context and build a story on it.

Some websites build their content around outdated information and theories that are yet to be proven.

Food companies also contribute to this. Some of them promote supplements and products that don’t work.

So, if your weight-loss strategy is based on false information, you aren’t going to make much progress.

Also, if someone who lost weight begins to apply the tips and advice from unreliable sources, then he or she will regain weight.

Ensure that you are getting your information from sources that are credible and offer science-based content.  

Not getting enough sleep

Our body needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep to perform well.

One study found that people who aren’t getting enough sleep are prone to health conditions like heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and depression.

Another study found that lack of sleep can result in weight gain (5).

What this means is that even people who lost weight can regain weight if they aren’t getting enough sleep.

As can be seen in this study, people who are not getting up to 5 hours of sleep may not lose much weight even if they follow a healthy diet.

The participants of the study who followed a low-calorie diet and got only 5.5 hours of sleep for 14 days, lost 60% more muscles and 55% less fat than participants who follow the same diet but slept for 8.5 hours for the same duration (6).

So, increasing your sleep time may help you lose more calories.

According to one study, people who are getting 7 or more hours of sleep each night have a higher chance of losing weight, especially when compared to people sleeping for less than 7 hours (7).

Below are some tips that can help you if you find it difficult to fall asleep. 

  • Don’t consume drinks or beverages (coffee, some tea, and soda) that contain caffeine hours before going to bed.
  • Try sleeping at a particular time each day.
  • Reduce your screen time (television and phone).
  • Invest in a comfortable mattress.

Not exercising enough

If you stop exercising regularly after you have achieved your weight loss goals, chances are, you will regain weight.

A report from the American College of Sports Medicine shows that regular physical activity is essential to permanent weight loss (8).

As humans, we all have varying exercise requirements to remain in great shape.

So, a workout strategy that may work for you may not be effective for others as factors like age, weight, body composition, genetics, fitness level, and gender may require you to spend more or less time working out.

Below is a general guideline curated by health experts that can help you determine how much exercise you need to do to lose weight and prevent weight gain.

Preventing weight gain

To prevent weight gain, you have to spend 150-250 minutes weekly doing moderately intense exercises (exercising for 35 to 40 minutes several days of the week).To lose weight, you may have to spend between 225 to 400 minutes doing moderately intense exercises (exercising for 60 minutes most days of the week).

Don’t push yourself too hard or try to keep up with the above guideline if you are just starting out. Instead, start with an easy exercise you enjoy and work your way up.

Doing simple activities like taking a walk around your neighborhood or stretching before going to bed will put you on the right track and make you feel great.  

Certain medications

Do you know that certain pharmaceutical drugs can cause weight gain?

Several studies have shown that antidepressants, antipsychotics, and diabetes medications can cause weight gain as a side effect (9)(10)(11).

Contrary to popular belief, these drugs don’t reduce your will power or make you less motivated to work out and follow a healthy diet.

These drugs cause weight gain by altering your body function and increasing your appetite while reducing your metabolism (12).

Speak to your doctor or a qualified health professional if you think you are gaining weight because of the medication you are taking.

Chronic stress

One study found out that people with high- stress levels are likely to become overweight (13).

When your stress level goes up, your body will start to mass-produce cortisol, a hormone that increases our hunger levels and cravings for unhealthy foods (14).

So, if you newly got a job that leaves you chronically stressed at the end of each day, you may regain weight.

Of course, you can prevent this by taking steps to reduce your stress levels.

Below are some practical things you can do to reduce stress.

  • Hang out with friends and loved ones.
  • Exercise.
  • Meditate.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Become more mindful.
  • Try to be organized.

Medical issues

The reason why people regain weight isn’t always because they made poor dietary choices or stopped exercising. Certain health conditions may be the cause of the problem.

Below are some health conditions that are associated with weight gain.


Several studies have shown that this mental condition is linked to obesity (15) (16).


This is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. Studies have shown that this condition can cause weight gain (17) (18).

PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and BED (Binge eating disorder) are also associated with weight gain.

The bottom line on why you may regain weight

Don’t be hard on yourself if you regained weight because you made any of the mistakes above.

Instead, take a moment to reflect on the mistakes you made that sabotage your weight loss efforts and figure out ways to scale through them.

Remember, the road to change isn’t always straightforward. So learn from your mistakes and keep working hard to build your dream body.

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