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What REALLY Causes Weight Gain?

What REALLY Causes Weight Gain?

Ways to View This Blog:

1. Video 2. TL;DR 3. Read On...

It’s hard to know the right way to lose weight if you don’t have a good grasp on what causes weight gain to begin with.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation about this.

I’ll cover two sides of it:

1. The source of weight gain that happens over a long period of time.

2. The reason why your weight might go up even when you’re on a diet.

I'll start with this...

A True Story

When I was first building our home gym, I bought a used barbell. It was from a retired Marine, so I figured it had to be a solid piece of equipment, right? (Haha, yeah, just wait.)

Back then, I was traveling a lot, and whenever I’d hit up a gym on the road, I found myself struggling to lift the same amount of weight as I could at home. Every workout was so much harder — it really started to mess with me.

That’s when I weighed my barbell.

Turns out, the one I bought from this rough and tough Marine was 10 pounds lighter than the standard barbells at every normal gym in the world. I felt like an idiot.

Why am I telling you this? Besides just giving you a good laugh at my expense, it ties in with one of the things I want to talk about… unexpected fluctuations in weight.

If you’re trying to lose weight, seeing your weight go up even just a couple pounds can be enough to make you want to give up. The thing is, it’s common. To truly understand this, we have to take a step back and look at why you’re in the situation of wanting to lose weight in the first place.

Slow, Steady Weight Gain

Only one thing causes the type of weight gain that creeps up on you over the years: overeating.

This can be hard to believe because there are other factors involved that make it seem more complicated.

For example, some people think there’s no way you could gain weight if you eat only “healthy” food. And while it would be much more difficult to overindulge on cauliflower vs. cake-pops… too many calories of either one (aka overeating) would still cause you to gain weight.

Other people think it has more to do with your age, hormones, and metabolism — or that there’s just something “wrong” with your body that makes weight gain inevitable.

And while certain things like that can make it feel more difficult to maintain a healthy weight, the actual CAUSE of weight gain still boils down to the number of calories you eat from day to day, week to week, month to month, and so on.

That’s good to know, too, because it also means it’s impossible to NOT lose weight while in a calorie deficit.

Why “Calories” Don’t Always Work

If everything I just said still doesn’t add up to you, you’re not alone in feeling that way. Many people count calories and feel like they can’t get their weight to do what they want.

There are 2 hard truths as to why this can happen:

1. You weren’t tracking your food accurately.

Oftentimes this is through no fault of your own. Calorie counting isn’t inherently “bad,” but it’s a much more flawed system than most people realize (see what we do with our clients instead).

2. You were given a bad calculation for how much to eat in the first place.

Again, this isn’t anyone’s fault. There isn’t a perfect way to calculate how much you need to eat. Everyone’s body is different and it can take some experimenting to get it right.

I know all of this can be frustrating to hear, but it’s exactly why having a coach is so vital. We have an outside perspective that can help you track the data more effectively, and we can tell you what changes to make if things aren’t working.

Whether you get help or not, the only way to arrive at any solution to this problem is by accepting this fact:

Overeating — even little by little over long periods of time — is what causes weight gain.

Once you know that, it’ll be easier to implement more effective strategies for weight loss (NOT “eat less” which is terrible advice as we show in Myth 3 in our free guide).

Unexpected Fluctuations

After you’ve started your weight loss journey, there’s another type of weight gain to be aware of. At some point (probably many, many times), you’ll experience this:

One day your weight is down, the next day it goes up, the day after that it’s down again. Then your weight jumps back up, then nothing changes. Maybe it’ll go down again eventually. You hope it will. But what’s going on?

The next time you experience a spike in weight like this, ask yourself:

  • Did you indulge in more carbs than normal recently?

  • Have you worked out recently?

  • Are you weighing yourself at the same time each day?

  • Do you eat your meals on a regular schedule?

  • Was your last meal particularly heavy or salty?

  • When was the last time you went to the bathroom?

  • Are you on your period (or about to be)?

  • Has your stress increased recently?

All of these things can cause weight gain — not because you gained fat or did anything wrong — but simply because your body is holding onto more water at the moment, or because there’s more food (or waste) in your body than last time you weighed yourself.

It’s nothing to worry about.

Even though the number on the scale went up, you might still be losing fat just fine, because…

Weight loss isn’t linear.

That’s right, regardless of how well you follow your diet, you don’t start losing weight one day and then continue to lose it day after day until you’re done. So what do you do in the meantime when unexpected weight gain like this does happen?

What to Do About It

Just being aware that your weight will randomly jump up and down while losing fat can be a game changer. It takes the pressure off daily changes and teaches you to look for long-term trends.

It’s those trends that tell you what to do next.

We recommend you weigh yourself every morning, just after using the bathroom, and get comfortable with the daily changes in weight. Don’t stress over it even if your weight stays up for several days. Be patient.

Since random shifts in your weight are normal, you have to look at the average trend over 2-4 weeks to get an accurate assessment of your progress and to know if what you’re doing is working.

Don’t change anything about your strategy until you have at least that much data to see the big picture.

The cool thing is, once you learn to not let those unexpected fluctuations bother you — by following the patterns you see every few weeks and ONLY making adjustments to your strategy based on that — you’ll also have more control over preventing the slow, steady weight gain I talked about at the beginning, too.

It’s not easy, but it’s a better plan than reacting too quickly to too little data. It’s also easier with a coach, but that’s your call. Whenever you’re ready to…

✅ Lose stubborn fat

✅ Have more energy

✅ Feel strong and confident

✅ Eat better more consistently


Things like age, hormones, metabolism, “junk food,” etc. can make weight gain more likely, but they aren’t the actual cause of it. Regardless of all other factors, it’s impossible to gain weight if you aren’t overeating.

(It’s also impossible to NOT lose weight when in a calorie deficit — but you may need a coach to help see where you’re going wrong — apply here.)

When you ARE losing fat, it’s normal for your weight to jump up and down regularly. So don’t make any changes to your weight loss strategy until you have 2-4 weeks of consistent tracking to look back on.


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