Recently Gained a Ton of Weight? Here’s How to Lose it Fast
Gaining 15+ lbs in a couple of weeks is quite a lot. No need to panic though. Weight gained quickly can be lost almost as easily.
First, you need to understand the root cause of the problem. Then apply a relevant fat loss strategy. Lastly, work on creating sustainable habits to avoid yo-yo dieting.
Note: The links below will take you to the section you want to view first. Though we recommend following the suggested order.
- Section #1: Causes of unintentional fat accumulation
- Section #2: Strategies to reverse the weight gain
- Section #3: How to avoid regaining the weight back
What Can Cause a Sudden Weight Increase?
Gaining more than 1-2 lbs a week is considered a rapid weight increase. That’s about 5+ lbs a month. This rate results in excess body fat build-up.
Fat gain occurs when your energy input (food) is greater than the output (activity). Unused energy (measured in calories) is stored as body fat. There are a few ways you activate the fat-gain mode:
- Activity levels remain unchanged, but consumption increases.
- Consumption remains unchanged, but activity decreases.
- Activity levels decrease while consumption increases.
Drugs, certain medical conditions, and genetics can affect the rate of fat gain. But that’s usually because they alter your appetite or unconscious activity.
Note: Over-consuming calories always leads to weight gain. Excess energy can’t simply disappear. This can only happen if the nutrients are expelled before they are absorbed. And by “expel” we mean throwing up or experiencing diarrhea.
Real-Life Examples of Unintentional Weight Gain
There are many reasons for weight gain. Yet fat accumulation tends to be slower in most cases. Only drastic life factors can cause a massive spike in weight gain.
Stress and Emotional Eating
A coping mechanism in the form of over-consumption. It's a psychological problem. Powerful enough to disrupt normal eating habits. Many mental states can cause emotional eating.
- body image issues
Social and Environmental Changes
People, places, and activities have a great impact on your fitness. Disconnecting from a source of positive influence can lead to rapid weight gain.
- moving to a new place
- canceling your gym membership
- changing your social circle
- career advancements
- holiday celebrations
External factors can complicate normal routines. You know what to do. The motivation is there. But proper nutrition and training opportunities are limited or unavailable.
- financial issues
- outdoor/indoor access restrictions
- limited food choices
- no training equipment
- staying in an unfamiliar area
Why Is It Easier to Gain Weight Than to Lose It?
You can consume food at a greater rate than it takes to burn those calories. Eating a whole pizza may take 20-30 mins. Expending that energy requires a few hours of intense cardio. Weight management is easier when you limit consumption.
But there’s another problem. The rate of fat loss is limited. The most extreme fitness regimen might create a ~3,000 kcal daily deficit. But that’s not a safe or sustainable strategy. A realistic approach will result in a 250 to 1,000 kcal deficit.
Fat gain is almost unlimited. Going 3,000+ kcal over your normal intake is hardly a challenge. Weight gain is limited by only one factor. The amount of food you can consume before getting stuffed.
How Do You Bounce Back From Unwanted Fat Gain?
A sudden weight increase doesn’t happen for no reason. Certain life events may drastically impact old habits. Often the result is increased consumption. Or increased inactivity.
To drop the weight you need to negate the negative effect of such events. Resuming your normal routines can be enough to reverse the fat gain. Though sometimes that’s not possible. You may have to build new routines or require external help.
Let’s examine different solutions to the most common causes of rapid weight gain.
Dealing with Emotional Eating
Reduce the stress to get in shape. Don’t try to get in shape despite the stress.
- Remove the cause of the issue. First, identify the people, places, or situations causing emotional distress. Then remove them from your life.
It’s a judgment call you have to make. Chances are weight gain is only part of your burden. Toxic people and situations can erode your mental health. Sometimes there’s no way to fix the issue. Your only solution is moving on.
- Explore alternative coping mechanisms. Food provides temporary relief at a hefty price. Replace emotional eating with a more effective activity.
Anything that reduces stress can work. Figure out what else can help you destress. Without any adverse effects. Try reading, watching comedy shows, or meditation. You can also explore activities like running and lifting weights.
- Work with an expert. Occasional binges may soon turn into an eating disorder. Dealing with such issues may require working with a trained professional.
To avoid serious health issues get help early. Experienced fitness coaches, dietitians, physicians, and mental health workers can offer invaluable help. Therapy is also an option for serious eating disorders.
How to Find Positive Influence and Inspiration
Change your environment and social circle to cause behavioral shifts. Place yourself in situations that promote healthy choices.
- Sign up for a gym membership. This act alone will impact your identity. The effect will expand to your day to day choices. And there are the obvious benefits as well.
Going to the gym can boost your motivation to lose weight. Most people associate the gym with living a healthy lifestyle. You’ll feel inspired to get in shape. Social support is another cool perk. Also, you can learn from the other gym folks. Avoiding their weight loss mistakes.
- Join an online fitness program. Your next best option if you don’t have gym access. Or if you want to connect with an experienced coach you can’t meet in real life.
Sometimes people can have a greater impact on your behavior than the environment. Especially if you can't change your life situation. It may be easier to get help online. You have the freedom to shop around. Find the right service for your specific need.
- Filter out the content you consume on your devices. Screen time should feature mostly content that encourages a healthy lifestyle.
Online content affects your mind similar to interacting with people. Use the internet to discover inspirational stories, transformations, and motivational videos. Get support from like-minded people online. You can also restrict content distracting you from your fitness goals.
How to Lose Fat When You Can’t Train or Eat Properly
Almost all your problems already have solutions. But you have to start searching to find the answers.
- Ask Google or a friend. Initial assumptions can be misleading. You can’t know everything. A quick Google search can reveal solutions you haven’t considered.
It’s impossible to be 100% objective when analyzing your situation. Emotions cloud your judgment. Especially if you’ve never experienced rapid weight gain. That’s why it’s important to consult external sources.
- Get a coach or a mentor. Figuring out solutions by trial and error takes time. Work with people who already have the answers you need.
There are people with immense experience. They know what works. You don’t have to rediscover known solutions. Skipping this step it’s not a sign of weakness. Knowing “what” to do doesn’t guarantee success. You still have to do the work. But at least you save time.
- Cultivate Persistence. If you fail to find any solutions keep on trying. Chances are you still haven’t stumbled upon the right strategy.
Consulting external sources should be your first option. Trying out random ideas wastes too much time. But if you can't find any good strategies, keep being persistent. Few situations are truly hopeless. Though sometimes even the best solution may provide sub-optimal results.
Is It Easier to Lose Weight if You Gained It Quickly?
Body fat is like your savings account. The more you have, the more you can afford to spend at any given period. As your funds decrease you start to limit your spending.
Getting very lean is hard for a reason. Fat is your backup energy source. It's a buffer that allows you to function even if consumption is low. Draining all your fat reserves will kill you.
The total amount of body fat limits your weight loss rate. Excess body weight allows for rapid fat burn. But as you get leaner the process slows down.
How Do You Make Sure You Don’t Regain the Weight?
You didn’t consciously decide to gain a ton of fat. Weight gain is usually the result of external or internal factors affecting behavior. This is why the solutions discussed above aim to cause a mental shift.
Applying a one-time solution (e.g. zero carb diet) may produce results. But your identity will remain unchained. When you get back to your normal routines old behaviors will kick in. You’ll quickly regain your weight. Change “who” you are. This will affect “how” you interact with the world. Situations, places, and people won't have the same impact on your behaviors.
Powerful mental shifts to help you stay in shape:
- Be grateful for every small win. Don't dwell on past failures.
- Keep an open mind. Don't insist on the hopelessness of your situation.
- Be open to receiving help. Don't bang your head against a brick wall
- Focus on the big picture. Don't search for short-term solutions
- Accept there’s always a trade-off. Don't look for the perfect solution
You’re not the first to deal with sudden weight gain. If you’re serious about your transformation use all resources at your disposal.
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~Niki, Fitness Mastery Coach