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7 Reasons Why You Might Gain Weight When You’re Trying to Lose It

You run more. You eat less. Yet, you’re still not dropping kilos. Here’s what’s going on.

It happens to the best of us: You set a goal to get fit, so you start racking up the kilometres. You hit the gym, bang out some intervals, and watch what you’re eating—all with the anticipation that you’ll drop a few kilos.

Except the opposite happens. You step on the scale only to see a higher number than when you started. You take off your clothes (and your watch…and maybe your rings) and try again to no avail. The needle doesn’t budge, and now you’re wondering, why am I gaining weight?

But before you launch the scale (and your resolve) out the window, know that it’s totally normal. In fact, it’s not always a bad thing (and it’s often resolvable when it is). Sometimes, putting on a few kilos is part of the process of improving your overall body composition. Sometimes, it’s a sign that you haven’t quite dialled in the right mix of hard and easy training days. And sometimes, it’s your body trying to tell you that you need to actually eat more… or at least differently.

Weight loss is a reasonable goal as long as you approach it in a healthy manner. But exercise and nutrition aren’t just a numbers game, explains certified trainer Josh Elsesser, who owns Invictus Fitness Solutions in Southern California and heads up fitness for COACHD, an online health and fitness coaching company.

“Your workout routine and how you fuel yourself impacts your metabolism, fuel storage, and key hormones like cortisol, insulin, thyroid, and sex hormones, which are all critical for success when you’re trying to hit your optimum weight,” he says.

So if you’ve been wondering why you might be gaining weight, here are seven reasons why the scale may be stuck—or moving in the opposite of your desired direction—and what to do about it.

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