Hitting the "Help!" button for weight regain? Consider this.Weight gain is a natural fear not just for dieters, but also health gurus and professionals. It’s a startlingly common phenomenon that usually begins with small creeping numbers on the scale. Harmless, right? But if left unaddressed, weight gain can spiral out of control.

Whether you’ve gained a few “innocent” pounds or you’re facing a potentially significant gain that could jeopardize your health, try to identify any root causes and stop them in their tracks. After all, it’s much harder to lose 50 pounds than it is to lose five or 10.

How-to’s for Reversing Weight Gain

1) First, Meet with Your Healthcare Provider

If the cause for your weight gain is a bit of a mystery, don’t waste time playing detective. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk about changes in your weight, environment, health and so on. Your provider might run a series of laboratory tests or even refer you to a specialist who may provide helpful insight and answers.

2) Look at Your Balance of Calories

Calories are only one part of the equation, but an important part. Take a whole week to write down what you’ve eaten and how much, and then compare those numbers to the calories you think you’re burning. Could you be eating more than you’re working off?

3) Recognize and Ward off Stress

Stress is a deal breaker, quite literally. It wreaks havoc on your hormones, appetite and energy. You could be doing all the “right” behaviors, but stress could be reversing them. Identify your stressors, then work them off through exercise, self-care, life planning and/or counseling.

4) Weigh Yourself Regularly

If you’ve got a gut feeling that you’re gaining weight, don’t wait weeks or even months to step on the scale. Many experts suggest daily or weekly weigh-ins to help you stay on top of the number. Regular scale checks can keep you in the mindset of making healthy decisions.

5) Revisit Your Lifestyle Changes

Sleep, nutrition, exercise — you name it — they all affect weight. Are you optimizing your health in each of these areas? What could you be doing better? Begin by slightly adjusting your daily routines and see if those changes move the number on the scale downward.

6) Look to Internal Cues

If you’re weight isn’t cooperating, chances are something else might not be, either. Are you experiencing any of these conditions?

  • Fatigue; persistent low energy
  • Hormone fluctuations
  • Fluid retention
  • Blood sugar instability
  • Changes in appetite or mood

Many medical conditions are related to weight gain, overweight and obesity, so if you suspect there’s something going on in your body other than weight gain from lack of exercise and a healthy diet, make an appointment very soon to see your healthcare provider.

You’re Not Defeated

If you’re experiencing persistent weight gain despite your best attempts at weight-loss or management, be cautious, but not sedentary. It’s easy to let internalized bias, shame and worry get in the way, but your health depends on a proactive attitude. Remember, you’re just knocked down — not out for the count. Make an appointment to meet with your healthcare and support teams for the resources, tools and encouragement you need to move forward.