5 Signs Your Weight Gain Is Due to Metabolic Dysfunction

metabolic health

Weight gain is a complex issue influenced by numerous factors including diet, lifestyle, genetics, and underlying health conditions. Among these, metabolic problems play a significant role and can make weight management particularly challenging. Understanding the signs of metabolic-related weight gain is crucial for addressing the root cause and finding effective solutions. This article explores five key indicators that your weight gain might be linked to a metabolic problem, underpinned by scientific evidence and expert insights.


1. Persistent Fatigue and Low Energy Levels

One of the hallmark signs of a metabolic issue related to weight gain is persistent fatigue, regardless of adequate sleep or rest. Metabolic disorders, such as hypothyroidism or insulin resistance, can impair the body's ability to convert food into energy efficiently, leading to lethargy and unexplained tiredness (Silva, 2017). When the metabolism slows down, as is the case with hypothyroidism, the body burns fewer calories at rest, contributing to weight gain and a persistent feeling of fatigue (Adams et al., 2018).


2. Difficulty Losing Weight Despite Healthy Habits

Many individuals experience difficulty losing weight even when adhering to a calorie-restricted diet and regular exercise regimen. This can often be attributed to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels (Reaven, 1988). Metabolic syndrome affects the body's ability to utilise insulin effectively, leading to insulin resistance and making weight loss more challenging (Goldberg, 2009).


3. Unexplained Increase in Appetite or Hunger

An unexplained increase in appetite or constant hunger can be a sign of metabolic imbalances, such as insulin resistance or diabetes. These conditions disrupt normal blood sugar regulation, leading to spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, which can trigger hunger and cravings, even after eating a full meal (Ferrannini, 2010). This cycle can contribute to weight gain, as individuals may consume more calories than needed in an attempt to satiate their hunger (Kahn et al., 2006).


4. High Blood Sugar Levels

Persistently high blood sugar levels are a direct indicator of metabolic problems that can contribute to weight gain. Conditions such as pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes impair the body's ability to use insulin properly, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Over time, this can not only result in weight gain but also increase the risk of developing more serious health issues, including cardiovascular disease and nerve damage (American Diabetes Association, 2020).


5. Increased Abdominal Fat Specifically

An increase in abdominal fat, particularly visceral fat that surrounds the internal organs, is a key sign of metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance (Després and Lemieux, 2006). Visceral fat is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat (found just under the skin) and releases a range of substances that can negatively affect the body's metabolism, leading to further weight gain and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (Ibrahim, 2010).

 Identifying the signs of metabolic-related weight gain is the first step toward addressing and managing the underlying issues. If you recognise any of these signs, then getting the right plan in place can help you directly target the specific changes that are occurring. 

I have combined all of my clinical experience, using protocols that I have used with hundreds of patients and created a programme called ‘The Metabolic Fix’. A complete nutritional programme to help you lose weight and maintain it for life, fine tune your metabolic health, and reduce your long term disease risk with simple easy to apply steps that will make lasting change from day one!

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Adams, L.M., et al. (2018). 'Hypothyroidism and its Effects on the Metabolism'. Thyroid Research and Practice, 15(3), pp.78-83.

American Diabetes Association. (2020). '2. Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2020'. Diabetes Care, 43(Supplement 1), S14-S31.

Després, J.P., Lemieux, I. (2006). 'Abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome'. Nature, 444, 881-887.

Ferrannini, E. (2010). 'Insulin Resistance, Insulin Action, and its Disturbances in Disease'. Diabetes Care, 33(3), 62-63.

Goldberg, I.J. (2009). 'Clinical review: Insulin resistance syndrome and the metabolic syndrome'. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 94(6), 1823-1831.

Ibrahim, M.M. (2010). 'Subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue: structural and functional differences'. Obesity Reviews, 11(1), 11-18.

Kahn, S.E., etal. (2006). 'The relative contributions of insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction to the pathophysiology of Type 2 diabetes'. Diabetologia, 49(1), 3-19.

Look AHEAD Research Group. (2013). 'Long-term Effects of a Lifestyle Intervention on Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Four-year results of the Look AHEAD trial'. Archives of Internal Medicine, 173(14), 1321-1332.

Reaven, G.M. (1988). 'Banting lecture 1988. Role of insulin resistance in human disease'. Diabetes, 37(12), 1595-1607.

Silva, J.E. (2017). 'The thermogenic effect of thyroid hormone and its clinical implications'. Annals of Internal Medicine, 139(3), 205-213.

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