Why am I gaining weight

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Hi there,

I am really struggling with my weight at the moment I do not understand where the weight is coming from. I have recently changed jobs from a sedentary job to a job where I average walking 10 miles per day (5times a week) Over a 7 hour period. This is in the peak district and often involves a lot of hill walking.

I am 25 years old female and 5ft tall. I did weigh 7.7 stone (105lbs) and I now weigh 8.1 stone (113LB)

I am trying to cut carbohydrates out but can not successfully do this with the exercise I am doing without becoming chronically fatigued.

I also run 5 miles a day this is a very intense run including hills in the peak district.

My diet is as follows this is a typical day for me:

2 slices bacon
1 egg
1 cup mushrooms
1 whole tomato
1 banana

1 bowl salad
100g ham approx
1 medium apple

Lean mince bolognese
courgette spaghetti
1/2 a stick garlic bread

I am emotionally not coping with this at all I have previously had eating disorders anorexia and bulimia and I worry that they are coming back with this recent weight gain (1lb per week)

Please can someone advise me on this please?


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Have you tried using a body fat meter - or probably more accurately getting a personal trainer to calculate your body fat.
I see that you are doing a lot of intense running.
Muscle is heavier than fat so you may well be losing fat and gaining muscle and gaining weight by doing that.

Remember that when you jump on the scales it isn't just your fat being weighed - it is the muscle too.

Professional athletes and sports people often acquire a weight which tables interpret as being obese when in fact they have no fat at all - but a lot of muscle. One of my former aerobics teachers fell into this category as did my nephew when he was a professional rugby player.

Is this truly a problem with weight loss or are there underlying issues here that you said might be starting to come back?

Have you considered the stress that changing jobs can be and how this might make you feel? Maybe more worried about what people migh think of you etc?

I am a nutritionist who works in sheffield so give me a shout if you need any help.

Stay well,
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Hey Rachel,

Fred here. The obvious answer is that it could be a number of things (lol) so I will give a few answers and you can take away whatever you feel works best for you.

A. Thyroid Hormone

More and more people are suffering from thyroid hormone issues due to stressors like diet and lifestyle. Some of the symptoms that you just wrote out relate to 'hypothyroidism'. This is one form of thyroid disorder that relates to unexplainable weight gain and persistent fatigue like you just mentioned. Other symptoms include:
  • Anxiety
  • Frequently feeling chilly
  • Dry skin
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Digestive disorders such as bloating
  • Muscle aches and pains
B. Stress

According to Paul Chek there are 6 major types of stress that the body naturally goes through. They are:
  1. Physical stress
  2. Chemical stress
  3. Electromagnetic stress
  4. Mental stress
  5. Nutritional stress
  6. Thermal stress
It sounds like you are doing a lot and maybe your physical stress levels are higher than they should be. When we exercise our bodies naturally go through stress but too much movement can cause the immune system to shut down and increase the chances of injury.

That moves me onto...

C. Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone that has been linked to weight gain as well as other symptoms such as diabetes, heart disease risk, and low energy levels. It is also linked to speeding up the process of aging.

So, when you are stressed cortisol raises blood sugar (to feed muscles so you can run or fight) and raises blood pressure. It is a coping mechanism that the body initiated so that it can cope with that stressful moment. I don't know if you have ever been in a car accident before, but it is the perfect example of how the uses cortisol. Cortisol is released to provide energy for that fight or flight moment. Now, when your body is in that constant state stress (through too much exercise) it can lead the body producing too much and storing it as fat. It can also lead to adrenal fatigue.


The body isn't always as simple as eating more to manage your exercise load or eating less and moving more. If that was the case everyone would be doing it and getting the same results.

The best thing I can advise you to do would be to:

Step 1: Research your symptoms a bit more. If you use google, search for health experts such as Dr. Axe, Dr. Mercola, and Dr. Sara Gottfried. They really are a few of the best in the business when it comes to health and have probably come across your issues thousands of times.

Step 2: If you don't want to do that then you can try finding an eating plan that can support you and address some of your issues. I recommend metabolic typing not cause I am a practitioner of this diet but because it is customized right down to the individual's needs. I also recommend the ketogenic diet and paleo way of eating. Both those two diets were great for me when I wanted to lose weight and get fit. They focus around decreasing inflammation in the body.

Anyways, I have probably gone a bit over the top lol but just trying to point out that your issue could be multiple things.

Your metabolism may be low! Try eating foods that increase your metabolism such as cayenne pepper, quacamole, oatmeal, berries, eggs, quinoa, almonds, grapefruit, greek yogurt, and spinach. try switching to HIIT cardio instead of the regular cardio. It's way better for burning fat and its a short duration as well. [Spam Link Removed]

Good Luck!
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I recommend you to please visit a doctor first because i think you are struggling with some other issue which is unknown. May be your metabolism rate is slow or there may be some thyroid problem. Because as you say your job involves lot of walking so in this way you should loose some weight.
I agree with Omega, because of the sudden amount of exercise it sounds like you are putting on weight in muscle-mass. This will continue to happen the more running and walking you do, and is actually a very healthy way to put on weight and is not the same as being overweight due to body fat %.

You aren't eating too many calories, and your choices are relatively healthy so well done for that! But you may be taking in a lot of sugar from the foods you listed. You could try tracking your sugar content - for example I am about the same size as you and discovered my daily sugar intake should be roughly 50g. Fruit like banana and apple can have up to 20g each! And that's not even counting the smaller amount in other foods. I have cut down to 1 piece of fruit per day for this reason. And made sure not to have any sugar in drinks or porridge now.

Overall though, you are a good weight for your height and will naturally put on more overtime, due to your muscles growing - muscles are heavier than fat. So it doesn't mean you are unhealthy.
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