The following is a guest post by Certified Nutrition Consultant Beth Gillespie.

If you regained weight after a specific diet or lifestyle change, you may have attributed it to eating more carbohydrates again or adding not so healthy foods back into your diet like fried or processed foods.  Or maybe you cut back on your weekly exercise program due to longer work hours or lack of motivation.  These are very common reasons to regain weight after losing weight on a specific diet/food plan and exercise program.

But what about the not so commonly discussed reasons why you may regain weight?  Let’s take a look at five rarely discussed reasons you may have regained the weight back:

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Food Sensitivities and Leaky Gut:  When you embark on a specific diet, you may unknowingly eliminate a food from your normal diet that you are reacting to in a negative way.  For example, perhaps you gave up all breads, pastas, and baked goods, and thereby eliminated gliadin (a protein found in wheat and other related grains) that was causing all kinds of havoc in your body.  Large undigested protein molecules (like gliadin, for example) can enter your body through your gut wall if you have intestinal permeability (also referred to as leaky gut).  Leaky gut happens when your gut wall has become inflamed and the normal tight junctions that stop bacteria, other pathogens, and large undigested protein molecules from entering the body loosen up too much and become “leaky” instead of tight.  If your immune system tags the large gliadin molecule that has entered your body as a “Foreign Invader,” an immune system reaction occurs that causes inflammation.  This inflammation can manifest as bloating, excess water weight, and can even trigger more cravings for foods that contain gliadin.  You end up in a vicious cycle of craving the very foods that are causing inflammation and even weight gain!

Imbalanced Gut Bacteria: Did you know that you are made up of more bacteria than human cells?  Yes, it is true! Research has demonstrated that certain bacteria extract more calories from your food than other strains. For example, the strain Firmicutes has been tied to higher rates of obesity.   New research shows that your body does best when your gut microflora exhibits more bacteria AND a high degree of biodiversity or richness. A recent Danish study found that Danish individuals with less gut bacteria and less-diverse microflora were more likely to be obese than their peers.  (1) In addition, these individuals exhibited more insulin resistance, unfavorable lipid profiles, and more inflammation, which all contribute to obesity.  What can cause an altered and not so favorable gut bacteria profile?  A diet rich in processed and sugary foods and lack of fiber, poor digestion, frequent use of antibiotics, and even stress.

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Wrong Type of Exercise: You may burn more fat when you engage in steady aerobic exercise, but you have committed to a high intensity exercise program instead.  Or perhaps you are a jogger and would benefit more favorably from exercise if you did mostly high intensity exercise like Cross Fit.  New technology allows your DNA to be analyzed to reveal how your receptors respond to exercise and identify the level of exercise intensity needed for an efficient response.  When it comes to weight loss, will your body respond more favorably to steady aerobic or high intensity exercise?  Or a mix of both? Your genes have the answer!

Build up of Toxins:  Some of the hardest hitting toxins are fat soluble, meaning that they love to camp out in our fat cells.  What does this have to do with ability to lose or maintain your weight?  Toxins can slow down your metabolism and decrease your ability to burn fat.  When toxins are released from your fat cells into the blood, they slow down your resting metabolic rate.  This means fewer calories burned when you are at rest.  In addition, these same toxins can slow down your metabolism by affecting thyroid hormone production.  And your thyroid gland is your master gland of metabolism!  For example, the toxin mercury can interfere with the conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to T3 (Triiodothyronine), which is not a good thing for your metabolism since T3 is your most active form of thyroid hormone!

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Lack of Sleep: Research proves that getting enough sleep is essential to good health and the ability to lose weight or maintain an ideal weight.  A recent study showed that increasing the amount of sleep that adults get could lead to reduced food intake. (2) Short sleep (4 hours of sleep per night) increased total ghrelin levels in men, but not in women.  Ghrelin is the hormone produced in the gastrointestinal tract that stimulates appetite!  Short sleep reduced GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1) levels in women but not in men. GLP-1, among its many functions in the body, inhibits acid secretion and gastric emptying in the stomach.  Reduced GLP-1 thus means that we empty the contents of our stomach more quickly and thus do not feel full!  So, in summary, according to this latest study, the tendency to overeat after not enough sleep is related to increased appetite in men and reduced feelings of fullness in women.  Don’t undervalue the importance of sleep in keeping you at your ideal weight!

Beth Gillespie is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and active member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.  Her passion is to help busy women who feel tired, drained, and frazzled to get back their energy, mental focus, and bodies. Beth studied at Bauman College in Santa Cruz, Ca to receive her Nutrition Consultant certification and completed her Masters of Science in Human Nutrition at the University of Bridgeport. Her personal interests include hiking, reading, spiritual growth, live music, good food, and vacations in tropical places!  For more about Beth, visit http://www.nutritionwithbeth.com/about/