Man working with his health care provider to develop a weight management plan
Man working with his health care provider to develop a weight management plan

Weight Regain: Contributing Factors

Weight loss changes the way the body deals with hunger and how it burns calories, which can cause weight regain. For up to 12 months after weight loss, hunger increases and fullness decreases. Healthy eating and physical activity are important but may not be enough.

Weight Regain: Contributing Factors

Weight loss changes the way the body deals with hunger and how it burns calories, which can cause weight regain. For up to 12 months after weight loss, hunger increases and fullness decreases. Healthy eating and physical activity are important but may not be enough.

Not everything works for everybody

Working with a health care team may be what’s been missing. Four in 10 adults have tried to lose weight at some point by restricting calories and/or increasing physical activity alone. Weight should be managed with your health care provider.

Get tips for partnering with health care providers to help you reach your weight-management goals.

Factors that influence weight

In this video, Dr. Robert Kushner explains some factors that influence weight management.

You know one of the most common misbeliefs about obesity is that it’s a problem of will power and moral failure and indeed that is the farthest from the truth, it turns out that obesity is considered a chronic disease with multiple determinants such as genetics, biology, heritage, behaviors such as: what you eat and how you move your body around and your culture. It’s also a “tug of war” between what you eat and what you burn and changes in metabolism as you lose weight. People can lose weight short term by changing their behavior, but the problems of obesity is that there is a change in metabolism, people tend to get hungrier and burn less calories. That’s why we think of it as a chronic long-term disease.

I hope that perspective and understanding helps you realize that you would benefit from additional support and resources to help manage your weight.

Dr. Kushner provided input into the content of this material and was compensated for his time.

Obesity may be complicated, managing it shouldn't be

When someone has obesity, there are changes that impact the way the body deals with hunger and how it burns calories. Environment, genetics, certain medications, and other factors may all contribute to excess weight.

What are the factors that affect weight management? (click each factor to learn more)

  APPETITE SIGNALS
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Getting the signals crossed?

The body makes hormones, or messengers, that control body functions, such as appetite, digestion, and metabolism. When people with obesity lose weight, appetite signals are affected.

  GENETICS
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Genes could be to blame

40% to 70% of the causes of obesity can be attributed to your genes. These attributes predispose certain people to have obesity. A person’s genes determine how much environmental factors may impact their weight.

In fact, nearly 100 genes have been associated with weight. If you have weight-related genes in your gene makeup, certain environmental and behavioral factors can intensify weight gain. These may include:

  • inadequate sleep
  • increased stress
  • certain medications
  • decline in physical activity level
  • endocrine disruptors
  BEHAVIOR
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Does rest really matter?

Eating habits and physical activity are important, but people may be surprised to learn that other factors matter too:

  • Sleep. Not getting enough sleep each night (less than 7 hours) can cause weight gain. Yet, over 1/3 of Americans aren’t getting their 7 hours of rest. Lack of sleep may change appetite signals and cause increased hunger. Battling exhaustion and hunger can make it hard to keep the pounds off.
  • Stress. Ongoing stress can change eating habits and food choices. Certain hormones are released when the body is under stress, and they may impact appetite.
  • Low physical activity demands of modern lifestyle. Technology has created a way of life that requires more sitting and less physical activity.
  ENVIRONMENT
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Environment matters

Environment can influence a person's behavior and can ultimately contribute to body weight. Here are some examples:

  • Availability of fresh, healthy foods. Local supermarkets and restaurants may limit access to wholesome foods that support weight-loss goals.
  • Commonly used medications. Some have side effects associated with weight gain.
  • Air conditioning and heaters. They create an environment with controlled temperature, so the body does not need to work so hard to stay cool or warm.
  • Social environment. The influence of other people and their habits can affect your own lifestyle and habits.

So, how do these factors come together to affect weight management? Think of a parent at a desk job who is too exhausted to fit in regular physical activity after work. Or someone who lives in an area where fresh, high-quality food is hard to come by, but fast food restaurants are plentiful.

It’s easy to see how over time, these circumstances can hurt their weight-management efforts.

Get tips for talking to a health care provider about how these factors may impact your weight

TrueWeight® Report

Get your free, personalized TrueWeight® Report. Answering a few questions about your weight-management history, current lifestyle, and goals is a great way to prepare for a conversation with a health care provider.

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Learn more about obesity care from Truth About Weight®

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Learn more about obesity care from Truth About Weight®