4 Causes Of Unexplained Weight Gain

4 Causes Of Unexplained Weight Gain


You’re going along your life normally, doing your day-to-day activities, feeling like things are routine. Then suddenly you put on your favorite pair of jeans and it takes a little more wiggle to get them on, and it takes a little more sucking in the gut to keep them on. Detoxification is a big part of the 21-Day Clean Program because of how important it is for balancing weight, and here are some of the causes of unexplained weight gain.

What’s changed

You might wonder, what is going on? Nothing has changed in your life, why are you suddenly gaining weight? Perhaps you join a gym, start calorie counting or join a well-publicized weight loss program (we won’t name names here, but I’m sure you can guess a few).

You start eating everything you “should” be eating and doing loads of cardio most days of the week. After 2, 4, or 8 weeks, nothing has changed. Or if it has, the scale has barely budged and you’ve hit a plateau. Perhaps by this time you’ve gained more weight than before you started.

Having unexplained weight gain that doesn’t budge with “conventional” weight loss practices is extremely common. Weight climbs rapidly despite your best efforts, your doctors can’t tell you anything helpful and you feel extremely discouraged.

The Four Causes of Unexplained Weight Gain

Blood Sugar

Blood sugar (or glucose) is regulated by a hormone called insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in your pancreas that regulates your blood sugar levels. Not only this, it also initiates the uptake and storage of carbohydrates in your liver and muscles, causing fat to accumulate. Insulin unlocks the cell ‘door’ for sugar to get in, preventing things like diabetes and insulin resistance when in balance. When it’s out of balance it can mean weight gain.

Stress + Cortisol Imbalance

Stress makes you gain weight. I feel like I could just stop right there, but I’ll go into some of the physiology so you can understand why managing your stress is vital to losing weight and keeping it off.

The main stress hormone the adrenals glands produce is called cortisol, and you may have heard of this hormone before. Cortisol is released both in acute and long-term stress. This means that every time you get mild road rage, or internalize family drama, you’re telling your body you’re in a stressful and life or death situation. This is called the fight or flight response.

Many hundreds of thousands of years ago, we were hunters and gatherers, living off the land and having to kill our own prey. The threat of bodily harm or death due to other large predatory animals and the elements was huge. Because of this, our bodies adapted to be able to save our asses in this kind of situation by releasing certain chemicals like the stress hormone cortisol, as well as adrenaline.

If this happens over a period of months or years, your adrenals begin to give up or go crazy and you can experience something called adrenal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a little known root cause or contributor to weight gain.

Additionally, cortisol tells your body to produce more glucose, so you end up with high blood sugar levels. Your pancreas then releases more insulin to deal with the high blood sugar which can result in weight gain – especially in the belly.

Underactive Thyroid

Another endocrine gland, the thyroid, also plays a role in weight gain. Situated comfortably on your neck, the thyroid plays a role in your menstrual cycle, your metabolism, your immune system and your mood, to name a few.

The thyroid gland is connected to your adrenals and your ovaries through the OAT Axis, or Ovary-Adrenal-Thyroid axis. They communicate through this axis, and if one is out of balance, chances are the other two are as well.

In connection to the thyroid, when the adrenals and/or ovaries are struggling, the thyroid gland can become sluggish, deepening any imbalances in the adrenals and ovaries, and adding to weight gain. Nutrient deficiency (especially minerals) also can contribute to this. A sluggish thyroid also means a sluggish metabolism, and you may feel like you simply have no energy to work out or do the healthy things necessary to get the weight off.

It’s important to realize that even if your doctor says your thyroid is “normal” or within range, it may still not be functioning properly. Doctors don’t do deep testing if your TSH comes back normal, so you could be walking around with a thyroid issue and not even know about it.


This one little attention in the weight gain arena. Many of us have a few pounds of toxins built up in our bodies, as they can come from the environment, stress, household chemicals, processed foods, and more. Unfortunately we can’t totally avoid toxins but we can try to limit them. We can do this by doing yoga, using organic produce whenever possible, switching to non-toxic makeup, or DIY cleaning products, for example.

When we are overloaded, our major detoxifier, the liver, becomes sluggish. When our liver is sluggish, we hold on to old hormones (like estrogen) which may contribute to weight gain. Our ability to digest food (especially fats) dwindles, our immune system suffers and we feel sluggish, bloated, and maybe even super angry, irritable or really teary. Too many toxic influences on our diet or body causes chronic inflammation, which can present as weight gain.

What we can do

This is another reason many people find the 21-Day Clean Program so effective: you are eliminating many food sensitivities, pesticides, and inflammation, while our liver support gently cleanses to provide optimal support to our body’s detoxifying pathways. This allows us to bring our weight into a healthy range for our individual body.

Written by Robyn Srigley

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