Weight Loss
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Working out like crazy, eating healthy, but gaining weight rapidly...AGGGGHHH!

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So I've been working out like crazy since July 2007, and I wasn't getting the results that I wanted (more definition and to lose around 3 lbs, my weight just remained the same), so as of January 21, 2008, I got a personal trainer.  I've been working out 4-5 times per week (an hour each time) doing weightlifting, core strengthing and cardio (my heart rate is on average around 160ish during the hour work-out).  I can tell my arms look more defined and my legs feel stronger, but what's driving me crazy is that I've gained so much weight.  In less than 1 1/2 months, I have gained 9 lbs, and it has completely frustrated the heck out of me and really depresses me.  I have been eating very healthy, around 1200 - 1300 calories per day, since July (I was a pretty healthy eater prior to July, too).  Now all of my clothes are tight on me (my pants barely zip up and my shirts are so unbelievably tight around my waist and belly), my wedding ring is ultra tight on my finger.  I wanted to cry tonight when I was at the movies, and noticed that two of my buttons on my blouse had unbuttoned from being too tight.  I feel so defeated that I've gained so much more weight from being consisitent about working out and doing more grueling work-outs than ever before, and here I was trying to lose 3 lbs and now that i've gained weight, I have to try to lose 12 lbs.  If anyone has any advice or suggestions, I would GREATLY appreciate it.  Totally hopeless, Mikaylia

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Tell me more about yourself, height, age,weight with that info I can  be more accurate, however first glance if you are exercising an hour a day 5 days a week you are not eating enough.  If you can give us more info we can give you better feedback.



this is happening to me too!!! i'm so confused :(
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Hi Leslie,

 I am 5'6 inches.  My weight is usually around 116 lbs, but now it's at 125 lbs, and I'm 32 years old (33 this month).  My body is usually a petitie frame, so I know to others 125 may not seem like a lot, but on my body frame, it is a lot. 

 Thank you in advance for your help.  Hope you have a great weekend.


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Your weight gain is due to increased muscle. According to this site halls.md you are simply underweight (at your normal weight you are in the 4th percentile for your age, height, and gender). Your trainer is probably acting in your best interest and not your desire to loose 3 lbs of whatever is on your body (be it muscle or fat). I suggest talking to your trainer about your concerns. They know for sure what is healthy for your body. I would encourage you to feel good about your weight gain since it sounds to me like you are a healthier person now than you were before! I'd also wager that you look healthier too (and that translates to being more attractive).
"Your weight gain is due to increased muscle."

Hmmmm. I don't think so. I'm not sure exactly what the problem is (have you had your thyroid checked?) but increased muscle means LESS volume since a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat.

If you were gaining muscle and losing fat, your pants and shirts would be LOOSE in spite of the weight gain. The fact that everything's tight means you've somehow gained relative weight.

As to why, I'm not sure. I could be you're not eating enough. Or your thyroid. I'd check with a doctor--honestly 9 lbs in six weeks when you're watching it and working out isn't right.
I am having the same problem.  I actually thought my scale was broken, but it's not!  I went to the doctor yesterday.  We've already done all the normal bloodwork on me, so she's stumped (she thinks I may eat too much dairy!).  She made an appointment with a nutritionist on Tuesday for me.  I'm looking so forward to it!  Anyway, instead of messing around with it yourself I would talk to your doctor.  I'm glad I did.
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Increased muscle mass means two things: yes, it should take up less space, giving you the appearance of being thinner, but more muscle also means you need more food to fuel it.  For every molecule of gluogen required to feed the muscle (carb), it needs two molecules of water to assist it in the process.

So you're probably gaining muscle weight, not realizing muscle weights more than fat.  Youre probably also retaining extra water which is necessary for those muscles.

You may also be undereating for the demand placed on those muscles.  You need so many calories to exist, plus you need extra calories to fuel the workouts.  If you've been consistently underfueling yoru body's needs, it may have become very adept at working with less, which is bad - you've slowed down your metabolism.  If that's the case, only time and the weight training will reverse it...and adding in more calories. 

Keep a food log for a week and ask the trainer to review it.  You might not be making as healthy choices as you think, and that happens to everyone.

Don't focus on the three pounds...focus on the building your muscles so they'll naturally burn more calories for you in the long run.

I had the same problem too.  I went to my doctor and had him check my thyroid and it was fine-he told me I was just getting old (I'm 31!).  However, I kept gaining and was extremely exhausted, my blood pressure was super low (80/50) and then I kept forgetting stuff.  I posted a few times here and people kept telling me, eat more, you're not eating enough and give it more time.  I tried that and I gained 6 pounds in a week.  Finally I went to a female ob/gyn and she checked my adrenals.  I am producing almost zilch hormones from my adrenal glands.  I wish I could show you the chart, but I'm not even ON THERE!  I'm not saying that's what is wrong with you, but it's something to think about.  My cortisol, progesterone, DHEA and testoserone wasn't even on the map.  My Dr. gave me a bunch of hormones and I feel soo much better.  If something's isn't right, and you know it's not right, then maybe you should just go to a Doctor.  I'm a gym junkie too and I know you're pain~it sucks to work so hard for "nothing".

Before I started reading everyone's reply posts, my first thought was 'this woman needs to talk to her doctor'.

If you were strickly swapping fat for muscle, your clothes would fit better.  Muscle and Fat weigh the same pound for pound, but muscle is much leaner, so even though the scale would stay the same......your clothes should be looser.

I would ask my Dr to do a full workup, I did and I found out that I am very close to being a diabetic, and I have high blood pressure and cholesterol.  All strikes against you when trying to loose weight.

 Checking with your doctor is something you should always do before you change your diet anyway.

Perhaps you either aren't eating enough or you're exercising too much. Sorry to say, 1200-1300 AND exercise isn't enough. If you exercise you should eat around 1500 a day, that's what I do, but everyone's different, I don't know. I eat 1500 calories a day and exercise only 3 days a week, and I am losing rapidly.
Could you be pregnant?

Honestly, see your doctor. This can't be normal.
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You are definitely not eating enough.  I'm only 5'1" and when I work out like you do I eat 1600-1700 calories and still manage to lose a little.
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Thank you soooooo much to everyone who replied.  I greatly appreciate it.  I went to my doctor and he did a bunch bloodwork/test and everything turned out fine.   I have to admit, there was a tiny part of me that was hoping he would say I had some sort of a thyroid issue, so it could explain the weight gain, but no, that was fine too.  Both him and my trainer said that gaining 9 lbs in 6 weeks is a lot for me, and agreed that it isn't all muscle.  They said that at most 3 lbs of that would be muscle.  Both of them also said that could be water weight, since I have been drinking more water.  I guess it makes some sense, but 9 lbs of water weight??  I know some of you recommended I need to eat more, but I feel like when I do eat more than 1300 calories I automatically gain more weight immediately the next day.   Agh!  So I guess I'll just keep working out and really hope that somehow eating right and working out will eventually pay off?? :-)   Any more suggestions or ideas, are always welcomed.  Again,  thanks for all your help.
I would suggest that your body is holding on to every calorie you're putting into it.  At 5'6, 116 pounds, you're underweight as it is, add on some hardcore weight training and cardio work without fueling your body and it's going to rebel.  It was probably hanging on by a thread to begin with and you went and doubled the stress on top of it by getting a personal trainer.  I'm surprised your trainer is letting you get away with eating so little.  Mine didn't.
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As a personal trainer,  I would suggest a few things. Check the type and amount of exercise you are doing. Try changing the frequency, intensity, or amount of time of your workout or  try cross training (your personal trainer should have discussed changing different variables of your workout with you). I would suggest only changing one variable at a time, as this will force your body to adapt to the new demands you are now placing on it. Also have your trainer sit down with you and help you calculate the amount of calories you need to intake everyday. The amount of calories your body needs will change depending on your activity level. Generally speaking (with no health issues that might affect metabolism or any risk factors), the more physically active a person is the more calories their body will require. If you are not taking in enough calories then your body will be reluctant to give up what little you are taking in and attempt to actually store more of it. Generally speaking (and again with no health history that might affect you), one only needs to cut about 500 calories per day (be it cutting 250 from diet and burning 250 in the gym) to drop 1 lb a week (a safe weight loss). Try keeping a food diary so you can track the calories you intake as well as your portion sizes.  Now, without being able to do a complete body composition on you and just based on your height and weight at 5'6'' and 116 lbs according to the BMI chart you were underweight. With a height of 5'6'' and 125 lbs according to the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart you actually at a healthier weight. Again a complete body composition would be more accurate and your trainer should be able to do a body composition as well as have a BMI chart on hand. Finally keep in close contact with your doctor(s). Have your hormone levels checked (this tends to get the best of us ladies sometimes!). I hope this helps you and anyone else who has this problem out. I wish the best of luck to you in your fitness goals!


The same thing has been occurring with me. I am 5'9 and was 123 when I started going to the gym to do daily workouts (250-300 calories per day). A month and a half later, I am 7 pounds heavier and have noticed my central body has puffed out. I am not too sure why this is happening (my diet is around 1500 cal per day), and I am definitely going to an endocronologist to check this out.

Now, you mentioned that you had your thyroid checked and the numbers checked out right.....I was finally diagnosed with a hypothyroidism about a year ago even though my numbers "checked out right." Most doctors will ignore the fact that you are constipated, have dry skin, fatigue, heavy periods, rock bottom blood pressure and depression and simply state back that your numbers are fine or even diagnose you various other diseases (ex: polycystic ovarian disease). However, my current endocrinologist simply did a reflect test (no knee reflex at all) and felt that my thyroid was lumpy (potentially cancerous when I get older...).

However, if I am on my thyroid treatment now, why the sudden weight gain? My endocrinologist said that whenever you exercise, your body uses up more thyroid than normal. It could be that my current dose does not compensate. Perhaps there is another hormonal issue that needs to be addressed (cortisol?) I am highly suspicious because weight gain is currently not the only symptom I am facing.

In the mean time, I will start keeping a diary of the food I eat to really count how much I am eating and burn off 400-500 calories per day (what else can I do?). And I really don't think that eating 1200-1300 calories per day would cause weight gain or else anorexia would not be possible. I had anorexia as a teen, and I became that way by eating 600 calories per day and dancing ballet 2-3 hours per day. Lost 30 pounds in 4 months back then. So, I highly disagree that pounds will instantly shed off you if you eat MORE! Rubbish. Keep me updated on your progress because it helps to know what I can do myself. Feeling pretty helpless as it is.

Pinkbunny, if you are 5'9" and 123 lbs and working out everyday and only eating 1500 calories a day, your net calories are 1200 or so after your workout and in my opinion, that's not enough.  Your body is in starvation mode because it's not getting enough calories to survive on.   The fact that you are on thyroid medication does not mean that all of a sudden it's working perfectly either so that may also be an issue in your weight gain.  You have a number of issues and I think you should have a frank talk with your doctor about it and get some suggestions from him/her about your daily calorie intake. 

I have been facing the same issue... Ugh! Its so frustrating. Before I started going to the gym (a month ago) I weighed 125. I am 5'4. I had maintained this weight for a couple years with only minimal exercise. Now I am working out 4-5 days a week doing the elliptical machine and treadmill. Burning about 300 cals each time. I have been eating about 1500 cals a day. I am now up to 133 after only 4 weeks!!!

Please post any news you have. I am feeling hopeless.

This has been happening to me as well since August! I'm 19 years old, 5'8", and when I first joined the gym I weighed 128 (which was a little below where I wanted to be, actually), and by the end of September I had gained to about 138. I'm now at 146 - having gained 2 lbs since December 10th! I eat VERY healthy, mostly vegetarian, no refined sugars/flours and very little wheat even. I usually get 1600 cals a day but sometimes more or less by no more than about 200 cals. I exercise every day for an hour (and not just a light workout - I like to break a good sweat and generally I figure I burn anywhere from 300-400 cals depending on the cardio I do), strength training 2-3x a week plus Krav-Maga and Karate twice a week each... I just can't understand why I would keep gaining? It doesn't make sense!! 

Hi there

I'm new to this website but this is exactly why I signed up - to get some advice on the situation you describe, because it's exactly the same for me and it's so frustrating!

I'm 5ft 3ins, and have put on 7lbs since March (now weighing 119lbs) when I started working out 4 times a week (400 cals per workout). I know that some of that must be muscle weight, but I also know that the rest is fat because of my shape and the fact that most of my clothes don't fit like they used to.  I have an extra tyre around my stomach and more cellulite than ever before. I struggle to do up jeans i've had for years and I hate it! I've been eating so healthily and just can't understand why the more exercise I do and the healthier I eat, the more weight I put on!

Any thoughts would be really welcomed


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