You’d Never Guess That These Common Health Conditions Are What’s Making You Gain Weight

You watch what you eat as best you can. But nevertheless, you just can’t seem to lose weight. Did you ever consider that there are other factors at work that are making you gain unwanted weight? In fact, there are many health conditions that can make the number on the scale creep upward. Could one of these ailments be adding to your weight?

Here are the health conditions that could be making you fat.

Diabetes

A person with a blue shirt pricks their finger.

Diabetes is often associated with weight gain. | BernardaSv/iStock/Getty Images

There is a close connection between diabetes and weight gain. For starters, obesity can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Then, insulin therapy is used to help get a diabetic’s blood sugar under control. And insulin — drum roll please — makes you gain weight. It’s a vicious cycle, where the treatment is part of the problem.

But there are ways to break this cycle, Cleveland Clinic tells us. Increasing your exercise and revamping your diet can help. You can also talk to your doctor about alternative medications that won’t cause weight gain.

Next: Be ready to spend a little extra time in the vitamin aisle of the grocery store.

Vitamin deficiencies

Pills and multivitamins on a table.

You might need some extra vitamins in your diet. | Valentina_G/iStock/Getty Images

Did you know that you need to take vitamins to keep weight off? It’s true — research has found that vitamin deficiencies are linked to insulin production and diabetes, and obesity. Prevention summarizes the findings, explaining that 20% more overweight individuals are lacking vitamin C, vitamin A, and magnesium.

Make sure you are getting enough of these components in your diet if weight gain has become an issue.

Next: This condition can truly mess with your weight.

Cushing’s syndrome

A woman lies in a white bed hugging her stomach.

Weight gain is a symptom of Cushing’s syndrome. | Andrey Popov/iStock/Getty Images

Weight gain is, in fact, one of the most common symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome. The condition occurs when there is exceptionally high levels of cortisol being produced in the adrenal glands. Depression, high levels of stress, and over-use of certain medications called corticosteroids are just a few factors that can send cortisol production into overdrive. The heightened cortisol drives your appetite, making you eat more.

It is important to consult your doctor about dietary changes to help with weight loss while being treated.

Next: A lack of zzz can seriously mess with the scale.

Insomnia

A woman lies down in a bed unable to sleep.

A lack of sleep could make your belly grow. | Demaerre/iStock/Getty Images Plus

You might not think it’s a big deal that you get less sleep. Unfortunately, not getting your Zs also contributes to an expanding waistline. Insomnia is connected to all sorts of negative things, including the increase of cortisol in the body. Appetite-boosting cortisol causes you to eat more, and the lack of serotonin from sleep deprivation makes you reach for unhealthy comfort foods.

Consult your doctor about getting your sleep cycle under control. In the meantime, start adapting to a healthier diet so your weight increase slows down.

Next: This all-too-common condition also affects your waistline.

Depression

A sad and depressed young man sits against a wall.

Depression can lead to overeating. | Lolostock/iStock/Getty Images

It’s a bit of a mystery which occurs first — gaining weight, or feeling depressed. But it’s a certainty that symptoms of depression can lead to significant weight gain, WebMD says. To make matters worse, some antidepressants can cause you to put on pounds. While tackling depression is quite an undertaking, it is imperative for your overall health.

Seek professional help in both treating your depression, and finding a medication that works best for your needs.

Next: Beware of those high-stress scenarios.

Anxiety

A man sits down on a staircase while dealing with anxiety.

Those suffering from anxiety often use food to cope. | OcusFocus

Much like depression, weight gain goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. Although many individuals lose weight due to heightened anxiety, the over-production of the stress hormone cortisol — that pesky cortisol is often the culprit, right? — also triggers appetite. The stress makes your “fight or flight” response to things more pronounced, resulting in you making poor food choices. (Sadly, stress doesn’t make most people crave salad.)

Getting some light exercise, even taking a walk to clear your head, can help lower your stress and cortisol levels. If you are taking medication to help with your anxiety, consider talking to your doctor about a prescription that doesn’t cause weight gain.

Next: This condition adds just enough weight for it to be worrisome.

Hypothyroidism

A woman holds her neck.

Your weight gain can be affected by an under-active thyroid. | ChesiireCat/iStock/Getty Images

As the American Thyroid Association explains, an under-active thyroid is often associated with weight gain. But the site also tells us that the weight gain is typically a modest five to 10 pounds gained over a long period of time. Plus, the weight gained is typically not developed in the form of fat, but due to an increase of water and salt in the body. Treatment may result in slight weight loss, but nothing significant.

Next: Heartburn does more than just make your chest ache.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease

A woman holds her chest in pain.

Surprisingly, heartburn can cause weight gain. | Tom Foldes/iStock/Getty Images

This condition, known as GERD, is the result of the valve between the esophagus and stomach not closing properly, often causing heartburn. So how does this translate into weight gain? Lisa Pichny, M.D., tells Everyday Health that patients with this disease “often feel better when there is food in their stomach to soak up excess acid.” This results in a higher carbohydrate intake, and subsequent weight gain. And unfortunately, gaining weight can make this condition even worse.

Mayo Clinic recommends a lifestyle overhaul for extra GERD treatment and weight loss, including eating smaller portions and being mindful of heartburn-inducing foods.

Next: Beware of this digestive condition.

Irritable bowel syndrome

A woman holds her stomach in pain.

Controlling your weight while dealing with IBS is difficult. | Champja/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Irritable bowel syndrome, like many digestive problems, can affect people in very different ways. For some, the abdominal pain and cramping can result in eating less. But sometimes, Healthline explains, individuals with IBS overeat on days that they don’t have symptoms, which helps push the number on the scale upward.

Whether or not you are taking medication for IBS, it will behoove you to eat smaller meals throughout the day and get plenty of fiber in your diet.

Next: Your glands could be messing with your weight.

Prolactinoma

Two feet on a scale.

This condition can cause weight gain. | Nensuria/iStock/Getty Images

This condition, in which noncancerous tumors form in the pituitary gland, has side effects on many parts of the body, including vision and sex drive. In terms of weight, research has found that prolactinomas are directly linked to weight gain. However, it has also been found that getting prolactin levels in the brain under control can result in weight loss.

Treatment for this condition starts off with medications, which the University of California Los Angeles’ Pituitary Program says about 75% of patients respond to. Surgical and radiation treatment is also available in serious cases.

Next: Too much takeout could be your biggest issue.

Compulsive overeating

A woman eats noodles at her desk.

Compulsive eaters often eat out of boredom, anxiety or exhaustion. | Shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

As WebMD points out, the exact causes of overeating are still a bit of a mystery. But not surprisingly, two-thirds of compulsive overeaters are also obese.

Attacking this problem head-on isn’t just better for losing weight, but better for your overall health. If adopting healthy eating habits on your own is too difficult, ask a nutritionist for pointers. Once you start eating less, you will begin noticing a change in your weight.

Next: Too much time at the bar could be doing more than just getting you drunk. 

Alcoholism

Bartender pouring strong alcoholic drinks into glasses.

They don’t call it a “beer gut” for nothing. | Bogdanhoda/Getty images

This one goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyways. Alcohol is a liquid form of calories, and your body’s metabolism puts priority on working on all that sugar. While throwing back a beer every once in a while won’t make a huge dent in your weight, regular binge drinking can make that number on the scale go up.

Cutting back on your alcohol consumption can benefit weight loss, but you don’t have to give up the booze all together. Mayo Clinic tells us that healthy alcohol consumption consists of up to two drinks a day for men under the age of 65, and one drink a day for men over 65 and women of all ages.

Next: More news involving your thyroid.

Hashimoto’s disease

A doctor and a patient meet at a table.

Your doctor will be able to properly diagnose your weight gain causes. | NanoStockk/iStock/Getty Images

This condition, in which antibodies attack the thyroid and make it work slower, has a direct link to slowed metabolism and weight gain. Hashimoto’s disease also causes fatigue, which might make it difficult for you to get up and exercise.

Maintaining a healthy diet is imperative if you have Hashimoto’s. Livestrong.com suggests also doing light exercise every day. Just 30 minutes of some type of enjoyable exercise can benefit you.

Next: Are you popping too many pills?

Your medications

A woman drinks water and holds pills.

Your medication could be making you gain weight. | CentralITAlliance/iStock/Getty Images

As you have surely noticed, medication for your health conditions can play a big part in weight gain. WebMD points out that not all medications affect people the same way. But often times, they can slow your metabolism, or cause you to retain fluids and gain extra water weight.

As we already suggested, talk to your doctor about switching your medications if weight gain is an issue. Also talk about changing your diet and exercise regimen to aid in your weight loss plan.

Next: Unfortunately, your age could be playing a role.

Why you gain weight as you age

A woman checks her weight on a scale.

Weight gain in your golden years is hard to manage. | Tetmc/iStock/Getty Images Plus

It is one of the many mysteries that accompanies age — why do we gain weight as we get older? Some say it is written in our genes that we have to retain more calories as we get older. Other outlets say that lifestyle factors can be changed in order to stop weight gain associated with age. Whatever the reason, our body stops building as much muscle tissue around our 20s and 30s, and fat tissue takes its place.

The only solution here is to adjust your lifestyle choices as best you can. If diet and exercise don’t help you lose weight, consider talking to your doctor to see if there are other conditions at work.

Read more: 15 Rx Meds With Some of the Most Dangerous Side Effects