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11 Causes for Weight Gain in Women

Fitday Editor

Most adult women at one time or another have struggled with their weight, and recent research suggests that weight gain in women differs from that of men. There are many reasons why women put on the pounds and some of the factors that lead to weight gain in women are surprising. Here are a list of 11 causes for weight gain that specifically affects the female population.

1. Pregnancy

Women are required to gain weight during pregnancy. However, many women consume too many calories when they are expecting. Guided by the idea of "eating for two," many women overeat and gain more weight than is recommended by the medical community. A healthy woman with an average body weight should eat an extra 300 calories.

2. Menopause

During menopause, the hormonal changes may cause an increase in appetite and lead to weight gain. Your changing body composition may also make it more difficult to lose any excess weight.

3. Not Eating Enough

Studies indicate that more than 50% of the population of American women are dieting at any given time. Yet, the quest to lose weight often can do more harm than good. A reason why many women gain weight is because they don't eat enough. When you aren't consuming enough food, the metabolism slows down and the body begins to store fat.

4. Eating "Low-Fat" Foods

Female dieters may be seduced by packages with the words "low-fat" printed on them. However, these low-fat foods often contain as many calories as normal food items.

5. Lack of Fiber

The popularity of low-carb diets such as Atkins have caused fiber deficiencies among dieters. Fiber is essential to losing and maintaining a healthy weight. Not only does fiber promote bowel health, it also gives you a feeling of fullness which helps you to eat less.

6. Too Much Stress

The demands of having a career and managing a family may cause many women to pack on the pounds. Stress causes the body go into crisis mode. As a result, the body begins to slow down and store fat.

7. Lack of Sleep

When you're sleep deprived, your body can't work to its best ability. The body's reacts to a lack of sleep by storing fat.

8. Depression

Many women engage in what is called "emotional eating." This is a response to depression and an attempt to fill a void in your life through food. Comfort foods such as chocolate and other sweets may soothe the soul, but they expand the waistline.

9. Lack of Fatty Acids

Not all fats are bad for you. Fatty acids like those contained in flaxseed oil help you to maintain your metabolism and curb unhealthy food cravings.

10. Diseases and Illness

There are a number of diseases and illness that can cause weight gain. Ovarian cysts can cause a woman to gain up to 30 pounds over a short period of time. Problems with the liver, kidneys and heart can be associated with weight gain. Also, women who undergo breast cancer treatments often experience a fluctuation in weight.

11. Birth Control

When you begin taking a new birth control pill, you may notice an increase in your weight. Weight gain is a common side effect for most contraceptives.

If you are suddenly gaining weight for what seems to be no reason, consider the above 11 factors.

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