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What causes weight gain?

Weight gain is both simple and complex at the same time. On the simple side, fat accumulates because more calories are taken in than the body can expend for energy production. The causes of weight gain include hormonal derangements caused by consuming the wrong types of food, stress, hormone fluctuations, medications, lack of exercise and changes associated with aging and menopause that affect metabolism and motivation, all contributing to a vicious self-sustaining cycle.

Tips From Dr. Rawls

Our top recommendation for dealing with weight gain is 4-fold; managing diet, exercise, stress, and sleep.


For weight-gain prone individuals, the key to weight loss and weight maintenance is learning to enjoy nutrient-dense foods. It also means learning to minimize calorie-dense foods such as grain products and meats such as beef and pork.

  • Vegetables are the most important group of nutrient-dense foods. Of the total amount of food you consume on a daily basis, vegetables should account for 50%.
  • Sugar, starch, wheat, and corn – products made from sugar, wheat (white or whole wheat – it really does not matter) or processed forms of corn (including high fructose corn syrup) must be avoided! Better carbohydrates that do not adversely affect glucose and insulin levels are prefered, but should be limited during weight loss. Examples include beans, buckwheat flour, oat flour, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Stevia and xylitol are the best sweetener choices.
  • Fruit – is healthful, but full of sugar. Limit fruits to temperate fruits, instead of tropical fruits such as bananas and pineapples. Temperate fruits include apples and berries. Fruit should not take up more than 10% of daily food allotment.
  • Protein – is essential, but less is required than most people think. Only about 6-8 oz. daily is required to replace normal protein turnover. That’s about the size of a deck of cards. Excessive protein consumption is very unhealthful. Healthful sources of protein include poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, tofu, and whey powder. Red meat and pork should be avoided because of excessive fat.


Wearing a pedometer can be a helpful tool for tracking your daily physical activity. Aim for 10,000 steps daily (that’s only around 5 miles). Calories consumed should roughly equal calories expended.


Stress is often a barrier to effective weight loss. Properly managing stress can reduce stress-induced sugar cravings and help to improve sleep. Reducing stress, through practice of breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, profoundly affects ability to lose weight. Consider attending a class on yoga, tai chi, Qigong or one of the martial arts. Hypnosis can also be an extremely effective adjunct for weight loss.


Not getting adequate sleep each night can lead to unintentional weight gain. If poor sleep is an issue see our page on insomnia.

Safe, effective options for weight gain relief

The good news is that weight gain really is just a symptom and will resolve if the causes are removed. Weight loss can easily be achieved with a strong will power to transition to healthful lifestyle modifications. Certain herbal ingredients can also be extremely effective for weight loss and are safe for long-term no use with no risk of habituation or dependency. See our weight loss package, the Vital Plan Cleanse, for details on our physician-formulated diet plan with herbal supplements for weight loss.

Vital Plan offers these supplements for weight loss:

10-Day Cleanse Program10-Day Cleanse Program | 10-day detox plan for weight loss and increased energy. Includes a 1-month supply of Prevention Plus, HPA Balance, and Probiotic Blend, plus a copy of The Vital Plan e-book, 10-day email course, 10-Day Detox Diet Plan, and friendly support.

vital plan's energy boost supplementEnergy Boost | Blend of traditional herbs for vitality and weight loss. Get an instant boost of energy with this potent herbal blend and say goodbye to cravings for sugar and caffeine.

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