You’ve been eating healthy (with the occasional splurge because you’re human), you’ve been hitting the gym on the reg, but you’ve still managed to gain a few pounds. Ughhhhh. Before you give up and embrace a McDonald’s Big Mac and couch lifestyle, see if one of these sneaky things could be behind the creeping scale readings.

RELATED: 9 Reasons Your Diet Isn’t Working

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You ate an extra salty dinner
Think about what you ate yesterday. Did it taste salty? Excess sodium intake causes water retention, which could make the scale read a few pounds heavier, in addition to making you look and feel uncomfortably bloated. This is a super-temporary one, so it’s best to just wait it out a few hours and keep sipping water (with lemon especially).

You’re a little backed up
At the risk of TMI, has it been a little while since you’ve gone to the bathroom? If so, that could totally be the culprit behind a few extra pounds. Eat a fiber-y meal, wait for nature to get back on course and notice a difference pretty immediately.

RELATED: The 9 Best Foods to Eat When You’re Backed Up

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You’re dehydrated
Going along with too much salt, if you haven’t been drinking enough water, your body is probably holding on to excess water to overcompensate. Make sure to sip water throughout the day and you shouldn’t have a problem.

You’re partying... a lot
Sure, you’re sticking to your diet--good for you! But it’s not just about the solid foods. If you’re going out on girls’ night or even just indulging in a couple glasses of wine while you take in The Bachelor, don’t forget that alcohol is highly caloric. So imbibe with caution.

You’re taking certain medications
Unwanted weight gain can be a side effect of some medications. Some birth control pills, for example, cause water retention while other prescriptions increase your appetite, meaning you might eat more and see the number on the scale creep up. If this is something you’re concerned about, consult your doctor to explore all of your available options. 

RELATED: 7 Birth Control Myths You Should Never Believe

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You’re not getting enough sleep
Not only does skimping on sleep make you feel tired (and more stressed, and more prone to breakouts), it could also cause some unwanted weight gain. The reasoning here is that a lack of sleep messes with your hormones, increasing levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, while decreasing levels of leptin, the satiety hormone. So while you’re feeling hungrier, it takes more food for you to feel full. We know it’s hard to finagle sometimes, but it’s so, so crucial to get enough sleep each night.

You’re especially stressed
If it’s a particularly hectic time, you might notice your body holding on to a little more fat than usual. That’s because when you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which could lead to an increase in the storage of belly fat. Since the causes of stress are often out of your control, make a conscious effort to keep yourself calm, whether by sipping green tea while listening to your favorite song or meditating.

RELATED: 31 Ways to De-Stress After a Crazy Day

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