With over 2.2 billion overweight people in the world, it’s no wonder that weight loss is a hot topic spanning time zones, gender, and age. But what exactly causes this widespread weight gain epidemic? Is it portion control, lack of exercise, or other pre existing medical conditions? There are many factors that affect a person’s weight and can lead to both weight gain and the inability to lose excess fat. Read on to discover 10 common causes for weight gain and suggestions for combating them.
- Underactive Thyroid
Your thyroid is responsible for controlling your metabolism. When the thyroid is either underactive or overactive, it affects how your body metabolizes food and burns calories. An overactive thyroid can lead to weight loss, because your body is burning fat at a faster rate than normal. On the flipside, an underactive thyroid may result in unwanted weight gain. People with underactive thyroids don’t produce enough hormones needed to regulate their metabolism. Treatment for an underactive thyroid includes medications, radioactive iodine, and in some cases, surgery.
Your thyroid isn’t the only thing that affects your metabolism. As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down, making it more difficult to lose unwanted weight. Not only does your metabolism slow with age, but many people become less active and lose muscle mass. Muscles are one way that your body burns calories so the less you have, the less calories you’re burning. This is especially true if you don’t alter your diet in any way. Eating and drinking the same amount of calories you once did but burning less, will automatically result in weight gain. Try adjusting your diet according to your activity level and remain as active as possible even as you age.
If you’re taking steroids to treat a medical condition like arthritis or asthma, one unpleasant side effect may be weight gain. The main reason for weight gain associated with steroid use is the fact that these types of medications increase a person’s appetite. If you’re unaware of this change or lack the willpower to curb cravings, you’ll end up eating more calories than your body truly needs. Individuals that take steroids for an extended period of time are more likely to gain additional weight. Be mindful of your diet and conscious of your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
Stress is to blame for many people’s weight troubles. It’s not simply your body’s physical reaction to stress or the hormones your body creates when you’re stressed that cause weight gain. In fact, it’s how you emotionally respond to stress or anxiety that usually leads to weight gain. That’s because many people overeat when they’re stressed. Some individuals find comfort in certain foods. They’re basically “feeding” their emotional stress, which leads to mindless eating and excessive overeating. What’s even worse is that most stress-eaters reach for unhealthy food choices like chips, greasy or fried foods, sugar, and alcohol. This can lead to depression and then morph into depression about being overweight which creates a very unhealthy, vicious cycle. Adrenal fatigue is another condition that can lead to weight gain and is associated with prolonged stress. Learn more about this condition and its symptoms at this website.
- Lack of Motivation
Connected to willpower, the motivation to lose weight is a big factor in actually achieving your goals. Diet, paired with exercise, and overall healthy life choices are what lead to weight loss. When someone doesn’t possess the internal motivation to change or improve their eating habits or activity level, chances are they won’t lose weight. The hardest part of weight loss is getting started. Making small changes like swapping your white potato for a sweet potato, opting for water instead of soda, or taking the stairs verses the elevator are the kinds of small steps that can help you feel good, energized, and motivated to make more, bigger changes.
When it comes to weight loss, a healthy, balanced diet is key. In fact, 80% of weight loss comes from diet alone. Even for people who exercise regularly and vigorously, if they aren’t eating a healthy diet, their weight loss progress will come to a halt. That’s because in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. If you’re not sure where to start, try conferring with a nutritionist or your doctor. A professional can provide a sample menu and specific food suggestions for your body type, goals, and current lifestyle.
- Fluid Retention
For some people, their excess weight is actually due to fluid retention, which can happen for a variety of reasons. Fluid collects in different parts of the body including the extremities, midsection, and ankles. Things like standing for extended periods of time or the menstrual cycle for women can lead to fluid retention and weight gain. But if your fluid retention is paired with difficult breathing or the need to urinate several times during the night, you should seek medical attention. These could be signs of a more serious condition related to your heart or kidneys.
- Sleep Deprivation
The average adult should get more than 8 hours of sleep per night. Those who don’t, are more likely to struggle with their weight. But why? There’s no concrete answer to this questions but some researchers believe that lack of sleep may be connected to lower levels of leptin in the system, which is the chemical that signals your body that it’s full during meals. There’s also evidence that lack of sleep leads to an increase in ghrelin, the chemical that signals your body that it’s hungry. Sleepiness can lead to mindless eating, overeating, and weight gain.
- Lack of Exercise
Just like poor diet, lack of exercise can easily lead to excessive weight gain. The average adult should perform 30 minutes of activity at least three times per week. Your exercise regime doesn’t need to be extreme or intense. Simply waking walks, lifting light weights, or participating in yoga and pilates classes is enough to rev up your metabolism and help maintain a healthy weight. Pairing this with a balanced diet may even lead to weight loss and will certainly improve your overall health and well-being.
Certain medications have the unpleasant side effect of weight gain. The problem is, if your body needs a specific medication to treat a serious medical condition, you likely can’t stop taking it an effort to drop unwanted pounds. Common medications associated with weight gain include drugs that treat diabetes, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressants, and medications used to treat epilepsy. Some types for battling weight gain caused by medication is portion control, limiting your snacks, and incorporate more fiber into your diet.
Some causes of weight gain are within your control, while others are more difficult to combat. Understanding why you’re gaining weight or struggling to lose will help you find a solution that works for you.
Article Submitted By Community Writer