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7 Surprising Things That Can Cause Weight Gain

By Jenny Craig

Weight loss is like a roller coaster—you jump into the cart of your life, venture up the hill before the big drop with anticipation about what your weight loss journey will be like, and then the drop comes toward success! 


If you haven’t started the Jenny Craig program yet, you might be surprised to learn that there are a few sneaky things that can lead to weight gain (or what appears to be weight gain). See what habits can potentially increase your numbers on the scale and what you can do about it.

1. Sitting all day

Don't underestimate the power of a walk. "Sitting all day is not natural and to blame for all kinds of ailments, including obesity," says Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative. Schedule some time to take a walk around the block or office building, and find time throughout your week for longer outdoor or fitness activities. Even if it is just a few 5 minute breaks throughout the day, or a quick walk around your desk every hour, getting up to stretch and move is important.

2. Water retentionthings-that-cause-weight-gain-jenny-craig-water-min.jpg

Water retention can occur for many reasons, temporary sodium imbalance from too much salt in your diet or the normal cycle of hormones each month. Some women, can sometimes experience sudden weight gain during their menstrual cycle. While this is not actual weight gain, it could show on the scale. Make sure to drink plenty of water (at least eight 8 oz. glasses a day is a good goal) to help your body remove toxins and metabolize nutrients.

3. Stress

During stress, your body produces a hormone, cortisol, which cues the “fight or flight” response that typically goes away if the body uses that energy up. Cortisol can affect how the body stores fat including abdominal fat. Find a physical activity or non-food treat that allows you to step away from the stressful parts of your day, such as taking a few deep breaths or treating yourself to a massage or movie outing. While these practices won’t necessarily make you lose any actual weight, keeping your cortisol levels in-check may help with how your body stores it.

4. Not getting enough sleepthings-that-cause-weight-gain-jenny-craig-sleeping-min.jpg

Sleep is when your body recovers from the day. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body cannot perform to its optimal potential, which includes a functioning metabolism. Professor Shahrad Taheri noted in her 2015 presentation at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting that even 30 minutes of sleep loss a day makes you more likely to gain weight. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, which will also help with your stress levels, too! 

5. Medical Issues

You could wonder, "Why am I gaining weight on a diet?" especially if you have certain medical conditions. Conditions such as having an underactive thyroid, Cushing syndrome and diabetes can affect metabolism and possibly lead to extra pounds. With an underactive thyroid, your thyroid gland isn’t able to produce enough thyroid hormones. These hormones play an important role in regulating your metabolism, and with this hormonal imbalance it can contribute to unintentional weight gain.1 By maintaining regular medical appointments with your healthcare professional, they can potentially flag any medical issues that may cause weight gain and speak to you about treatment options.

6. Medication

In addition to some medical conditions, some medications may affect appetite and/or metabolism. Discuss your medication’s side effects with your doctor, especially if it’s a new prescription and you are experiencing unexpected weight gain. For example, certain insulin medications, some antidepressants, and a handful of steroid hormones can affect weight as a side effect.2

7. Portion size

Your choice of dish size can make all the difference! Our brains sometimes trick us to not understand appropriate portion sizes, we might think we should fill the plate with each item until there's no space left.


Luckily, Jenny Craig has already done the work to help out with this one. Our 100+ menu options are pre-portioned to teach you what your plate should look like. If you're following the Jenny Craig program, you're setting yourself up for success. If you're ready to surprise yourself with weight loss, call us at 866-706-4042 or find a location near you!








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