Sudden Weight Gain
I started eating a WFPB vegan diet over a year ago and got down to 122 lbs which I had been maintaining for 10 months. Then, last month, I suddenly put on 7 lbs. out of nowhere. And it doesn't seem to be budging. It was 7 lbs within less than 3 weeks in March. I did start chowing down on everything in sight. In fact, I was sick with the flu around the time. I wasn't eating that much but I also wasn't exercising (because of the flu.) I'm a bit panicked because I'm getting married in 60 days. My tummy and breasts are bloated. Could this be a hormonal issue of some sort? I haven't lost hair and I'm not more fatigued than usual. Also, I haven't tracked calories before (I really detest tracking calories) but I'm going to start tracking them now. So, I can't really say if my caloric intake has changed that much, but it seems very unlikely that I ate an excess of 21,000 calories in 3 weeks to gain the 7 lbs. I gained. Ugh.
Sorry can't seem to edit the original post, but I meant to say that I did NOT start to chow down on a bunch of snacks.
First of all, congratulations! I'll be getting married in 7 months myself. Exciting times ahead for us!
Have you done anything recently that could cause a hormone shift? Did you recently come off, start or change oral contraception? Have you been eating more or less phytoestrogenic foods, such as soy and legume? Could you be pregnant?
Otherwise, could the anxiety and nervousness of the upcoming wedding be the cause? Stress can really throw off gut bacteria and hormonal balance, which could be one of the reasons you experience both breast tenderness and suddenly can't tolerate eating the same foods.
If nothing seems to make sense, might be worth a visit to the GP!
One thing to keep in mind is that our weight is never actually stable. It's completely normal for your weight to go up and down by ~5 lbs per day based on the food you've eaten, bowel movements, hydration status, time of the month, clothing, time of day, etc. For anyone who wants to lose weight, it's important to have a regular weight monitoring routine where, WITHOUT JUDGEMENT, you note your weight 1x per week at the same time of day, wearing (ideally) no clothes. Small weekly fluctuations are normal; look for what's happened to your weight over a 2-4 week cycle.
Another consideration is that we can gain weight from calorie-dense foods (i.e. food with added fat, oils, sauces, dressings, etc.). even if the amount of food we eat hasn't increased.
For the next few weeks, I would accurately track everything you eat in Cronometer. Be sure to weigh/measure what you eat, note any extra bites of food you take while cleaning up/making supper, look up restaurant meals, and track liquid calories.
It's important that you approach this as an experiment and do not feel compelled to restrict your intake or judge yourself based on what you've eaten.
Lastly, if you are noticing swollen breasts that are out of the blue, you may want to ensure that everything related to menstruation is normal. Even if you're on the pill, it may be worthwhile to take a pregnancy test just to ensure that this isn't what's causing the weight gain.
Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
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