Can You Gain Weight While Dieting?

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can you gain weight while dieting


It’s quite shocking to be dilligently following your diet and exercise plan, only to realize you’ve gained weight when you step on the scale. It makes you question all your effort and sacrifice.

If feels like a bad joke.

If you believe you’re managing calories properly, and exercising regularly, there may be other factors causing you to gain weight while dieting.

The good news is these slight weight fluctuations are often attributed to temporary water retention, and can be resolved with some simple behavior and eating adjustments.


The number one culprit causing weight gain during a diet is water retention mainly due to excessive sodium consumption. You don’t even have to abuse the salt shaker to see a difference. We’re all a little different, and some people are very sodium sensitive.

An average sodium meal for Joe normal, may be too much for other people. If you don’t believe you directly add a lot of salt to your meals it may be getting into your system through processed foods. Cold cuts and soups are notorious for adding excessive sodium to your diet.

See Also: 3 keys to rapid fat loss


It’s pretty common knowledge that carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, play a significant role in body fat storage. The more carbs you eat the more likely those calories will be stored as fat for later usage.

What most don’t consider is the process of storing all that energy, and how your body actually does it. Your body needs about three grams of water to store one gram of energy it gets from carbohydrates.

The more carbs you eat, the more water will be retained to physically store those calories on your body.

Resistance Training

If you’re a workout warrior, or you do direct resistance training you may be seeing weight gain due to the muscle building process. If you’re exercising vigorously enough to cause muscle damage (microscopic tears), your body will attempt to repair this damage and add new muscle tissue if necessary.

Your body will store and use water to help repair these tiny microscopic tears. If you’re training hard enough, you may be seeing weight gain due to added muscle mass after the repair process has completed.

Related: Best exercises for men over 40

Prescription Medication

Certain medications can increase your appetite, or cause you to retain water. Medication for high blood pressure, mood disorders, seizures, or diabetes can be contributing to unwanted weight gain.

This doesn’t mean you should stop taking your medication, but you should pay close attention to any correlation between medication and unwanted weight gain and discuss your options with your physician.

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