The Complete Guide to Why We Gain Weight and How to Prevent It

The Complete Guide to Why We Gain Weight and How to Prevent It


Understanding why we gain weight requires a comprehensive exploration of various factors, ranging from the biochemical to the psychological. This guide aims to offer an all-inclusive perspective on weight gain and present actionable steps for its prevention. Strap in as we go through the scientific, emotional, and lifestyle-related aspects of weight gain, as well as the preventive measures you can take.

Table of Contents

  1. Basics of Energy Balance
  2. Role of Macronutrients
  3. Emotional and Psychological Factors
  4. Hormonal Influences
  5. Lifestyle Choices
  6. Physical Activity
  7. Preventive Measures
  8. The Role of Genetics
  9. Social and Environmental Factors
  10. Common Myths Debunked
  11. Special Diets to Consider
  12. Monitoring and Adjusting Your Plan
  13. Conclusion

1. Basics of Energy Balance

Energy In = Energy Out

At the core of weight management is the principle of energy balance, which hinges on the equation of calories consumed versus calories burned.

Caloric Surplus and Deficit

  • Caloric Surplus: Consuming more calories than you burn leads to weight gain. These excess calories are stored as fat.
  • Caloric Deficit: A shortfall in calorie intake versus expenditure results in weight loss.
    The Complete Guide to Why We Gain Weight and How to Prevent It

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your BMR indicates the calories your body requires to maintain basic functions like breathing and maintaining body temperature. Various formulas exist to calculate BMR, but here are the ones commonly used for men and women:

For men:

BMR=88.362+(13.397×weight in kg)+(4.799×height in cm)−(5.677×age in years)

For women:

BMR=447.593+(9.247×weight in kg)+(3.098×height in cm)−(4.330×age in years)

2. Role of Macronutrients


  • Quick source of energy
  • Excess intake is stored as fat
    weight gain


  • Essential for muscle repair and growth
  • Requires more energy to digest (high thermic effect)


  • Sustains long-lasting energy
  • Essential for hormone production
    why we are obese

Each macronutrient plays a different role in weight management and should be balanced according to individual needs.

3. Emotional and Psychological Factors

Stress Eating

When stressed, the body releases cortisol, which not only encourages fat storage but also stimulates cravings for high-calorie foods.

Emotional Eating

Turning to food for comfort during emotional turbulence can lead to unintentional weight gain over time.

4. Hormonal Influences


Regulates blood sugar levels and facilitates the storage of fat.

Leptin and Ghrelin

These are hormones that control feelings of hunger and fullness. Imbalance in these can lead to overeating or constant feelings of hunger.

5. Lifestyle Choices

Sedentary Lifestyle

Physical inactivity contributes significantly to weight gain, as it lowers the number of calories you burn daily.
Guide to Why We Gain Weight

Poor Sleep

Inadequate sleep disrupts hormonal balance, which may result in weight gain. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep.

6. Physical Activity

Aerobic Exercises

  • Running: Can burn approximately 600-800 kcal/hour.
  • Swimming: Can help you burn around 500-700 kcal/hour.
    Physical Activity

Anaerobic Exercises

  • Weight lifting: Can burn around 400-600 kcal/hour.

Exercise helps you increase the ‘energy out’ part of the energy balance equation.

7. Preventive Measures

Dietary Changes

  • High-fiber and protein-rich foods can make you feel full longer.
  • Limit the intake of processed foods and sugars.

Exercise Routine

  • Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

8. The Role of Genetics

Polygenic Factors

Multiple genes can contribute to your propensity for weight gain, but they are not the sole factor. Lifestyle choices can often outweigh genetic predispositions.


Environmental influences can alter how your genes express themselves, thereby affecting your risk of gaining weight.

9. Social and Environmental Factors

Peer Influence

Your social circle can greatly impact your eating and exercise habits, either positively or negatively.
sedentary lifestyle

Cultural Factors

Societal norms around body image and food can also be a factor in weight gain.

10. Common Myths Debunked

Myth 1: Fad Diets Work

Most fad diets offer quick fixes that are often unsustainable and potentially harmful in the long run.

Myth 2: Spot Reduction Works

The concept of losing fat from specific areas of the body through targeted exercises is not supported by science.

11. Special Diets to Consider

Ketogenic Diet

This diet focuses on low-carb, high-fat foods to shift your body into a fat-burning state called ketosis.

Mediterranean Diet

Famed for its long-term benefits, it includes a balance of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Intermittent Fasting

This involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting to reduce overall calorie intake.
Amaranth leaves

12. Monitoring and Adjusting Your Plan


Keeping a food diary or using tracking apps can help monitor your caloric intake and expenditure.

Regular Check-ups

Health metrics like cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar levels provide additional insights into your overall well-being.

Adjust Goals

Your caloric needs will change as you gain or lose weight. Make sure to adjust your goals accordingly.


Understanding why we gain weight is essential for implementing effective preventive measures. The journey towards weight management is a continuous one, requiring consistent monitoring and adjustments. Armed with this guide, you’re well-equipped to control your weight effectively and live a healthier life.

For more resources, don’t hesitate to explore the encyclopedias of diets and foods on

Note: This guide is for informational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice.

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