Gaining Weight when Dieting

This morning marks week 10 of my goal to lose 30 Pounds in 90 Days. To be honest, I wasn’t sure which way my weight would go this week. Life has been hectic lately and I only made it out for exercise three times last week, which is down from my regular schedule. Also, I have come down with another cold that has frustrated me to no end because I finally felt like I was moving up to another level of fitness and now I’m stuffed up with a cough. I won’t let this cold set me back though, not this time. I’ve got a gym date with my friend tonight for a two hour workout and I have already laid out the rest of my exercise schedule for this week (This is my second cold this winter. When I had the first one I wrote this post “Exercising with a Cold“). I will follow through, I must!

This morning at my weekly weigh in my weight was…

213 lbs

I can’t tell you how defeated I felt after seeing that my weight was up three pounds from last week’s weigh in. It’s these little setbacks that really gnaw at my motivation. I’m trying very hard to lose weight, but sometimes no matter how well you’ve been doing your weight will still go up. I just have to keep reminding myself that this weight gain does not mean I’ve gained three pounds of body fat in one week.

Gaining weight when dieting does not necessarily mean you have gain body fat, but can be attributed to a number of factors including water retention.

Gaining weight when dieting does not necessarily mean you have gain body fat, but can be attributed to a number of factors including water retention.

Gaining weight when dieting is one of the most frustrating and defeating things that happens. The only consolation is that it is not just happening to you or me, it happens to every person who has ever tried to lose weight. So why does this happen? Gaining weight when dieting can be caused by a number of things, some of which are in your control and some which aren’t. Here is a list of the most common reasons people gain weight when dieting:

  • Calorie intake is too low – Most nutritionists and doctors state that your diet should be no less than 1,200-1,500 calories a day. If you calorie intake is less than this your metabolism will slow down and weight loss can become stubborn or you may begin to gain.
  • Your body is dehydrated – Most of use would assume that if our body’s are dehydrated then our weight will go down not up, but this is not the case. When your body is dehydrated even slightly it retains as much water as it can. This can account for unexplained spikes in your weight and can be avoided by drinking plenty of water.
  • Salt intake – Foods that are high in sodium can also cause your body to retain water. Last night before my weigh in I snacked on fish crackers, which are pretty high in sodium, which may explain some of my weight gain this week.
  • Glycogen storage in your muscles – If you haven’t been as physically active, or you have eaten foods higher in carbohydrates, your muscles are likely primed with glycogen. Glycogen stored in your muscles is your body’s first source of energy it uses during physical activity. Glycogen stored in your mucles is accompanied with the storage of a larger amount of water, which can account for fluctuations in your body weight of two to three pounds a day.
  • Food matter in your digestive system – Foods that is being digested also can contribute to an increase in body weight.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to explain gaining weight when dieting other than just an increase in your body fat. The factors listed above can contribute to daily fluctuations in your weight of 2-3 pounds or more. In fact, on the nights my husband goes out to play hockey, he has sometimes lost 5 pounds between one day and the next. So before you beat yourself up over a weight gain of 2-3 pounds even though you’ve been sticking to your diet remember that your bathroom scale lies – it only tells you part truths. Yes your weight is up, but so is the amount of water in your body, or the amount of food in your digestive system, or the amount of glycogen in your muscles. Weight gain when dieting does not always mean you have gained fat! Of course if your weight is consitently going upwards week after week then you need to take a closer look at your diet and exercise regimes.


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3 comments to Gaining Weight when Dieting

  • Payday Loans

    They way that you explain everything makes a lot of sense!! I have noticed different numbers on the scale throughout the day (we have a scale at work). And there’s days, that it just bothers me so much, to see that the number on the scale goes up instead of down!!

  • Betzi Fuentes

    Thank you so much. I was looking all over for some motivation as I have gained for the first time since Oct on weekly weigh-ins. My first thought was going to get a blizzard from Dairy Queen but was able to fight it! I have lost 78 lbs so far and have a ways to go and need all the support I can get! Thanks!

    • I am thrilled that you found this post motivating. Losing 78 lbs is a huge accomplishment – congratulations! Keep up the great work. As you lose more weight and get closer to your ideal body weight you will likely have more weeks where you don’t lose very much or you gain. Don’t let this discourage you. Keep up with what you’ve been doing and stay positive. You can do it!

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