Although many people think that it’s their eating habits alone which are the main culprit for their weight gain or obesity, the reality is far from this perception. Many times there are several additional factors that contribute to gradual weight gain over a period of time. Some of the most common causes are:
- Lack of Sleep – It is common knowledge that all of us function at our best after we have had good amount of rest. Furthermore, it has also been proved medically that lack of enough sleep can result in more efficient storage of fats inside the body. It is also difficult to follow a daily exercise regime if we are perpetually tired because of lack of sleep.
- Stress – Taking stress can make our bodies release hormones which are responsible for storage of abdominal fat and slowing down of our metabolism. Stress also enhances the body’s craving for high-carbohydrate food items because of its effect on increasing the serotonin levels inside the body. However, no direct connection between weight gain and stress has been established so far, other than the experiences of people who consume excess food while under stress (perhaps in order to feel better).
- Regular medications – It is common to see people taking regular medications for health ailments such as BP, migraine, diabetes, mood swings and depression. It is these medications only that result in obesity or weight gain. The same is observed in people who regularly consume oral contraceptives, steroids or undergo hormone replacement therapy. The effects of all such medications or treatments can be seen in increased appetite, changes in body’s insulin levels, high fat storage in the body, all of them resulting in overall weight gain.
- Hormone related issues – Menopause in case of women and andropause in case of men are often found to be the main reasons for weight loss among women and men respectively. During such phrases, the person experiences reduced metabolism, higher depression rate, poor sleep patterns and less physical activity, all of them negatively affect the amount of food consumed by the person.
- Medical conditions – People suffering from certain types of medical conditions like Cushing’s syndrome or hypothyroidism are prone to easy weight gain with the increase in body’s cortical production. Such medical conditions lead to reduction in body’s natural metabolic rate and more fatigue, resulting in burning of lesser amount of calories by the body.
- Meal timings – Eating meals at inappropriate times and other meal related habits like skipping meals (mostly breakfast), having dinner late at night, eating out regularly or indulging in over snacking are often found to be the common causes of weight gain. If looked at closely, it can be observed that more than our food timings, it is consuming more calories than required which is the actual cause of extra body weight.
- Processed food items with additives – The easily available high calorie processed foods, excess usage of artificial sweeteners, MSG, high fructose corn syrup and other types of food additives are all associated with consistent weight gain. As in the case of some of the earlier causes of weight gain, in this one too, it is actually the consumption of excess calories which is the main culprit.
- The place where we eat – Eating while working on the computer, while watching television, while driving or while reading can all lead to significant weight gain over a period of time, mainly owing to the mindless eating one can indulge in during such activities. Apart from the excess calories one might end up consuming, it can be a very messy affair as well.
- Emotional eating – This is a tendency which is commonly observed in people who have a habit of resorting to excess consumption of unwanted foods while facing emotional issues. The term emotional eater has in fact become a huge cultural phenomenon throughout the world. However, if looked at closely, the problem is actually not with the emotions but with excessive eating.
- Lower metabolic rate – Anyone having a faulty metabolic rate due to constant weight fluctuations, repetitive dieting or excessive feasting and fasting over the years, is often a victim of excess body weight. Please keep in mind that our body’s natural metabolic rate is very resilient as well as adaptable.
The reason why you normally end up eating more food than is required by your body is most likely because you have conditioned your body that way. You may be addicted to excess fat, salt and sugar in your daily diet. Over the years you might have developed some unhealthy eating habits, especially with regard to the sizes of meals you eat.
In order to counter such habits, it is important that you learn how to eat properly, all over again. This can be very hard as your brain might be conditioned into believing that your present eating habits are absolutely normal. What you need is slow and steady changes in your lifestyle, changes which you can sustain for longer periods of time.