Top 10 Causes of Weight Gain

10 Causes of Weight Gain
Although we gain weight when we eat more than what we burn, this isn’t always true. Weight gain is much more complicated and there are many factors that can impact your weight. Often times, it is a combination of things as opposed to just one factor. Before you can find the best solutions to help you lose weight, it is helpful to identify the causes of weight gain:

1. Unhealthy Diet – One of the main culprits of weight gain is the food you eat. Research has shown that weight gain has more to do with the foods you eat than how much exercise a person gets. Even if you don’t exercise much, eating a healthy diet and watching the calories you eat will still allow you to maintain a healthy weight.

Avoid eating unhealthy foods include any fatty, junk, fried, processed, and sugary food. A major contributor to weight gain is an ingredient found in many sweets called fructose corn syrup, which your body uses more like a fat than it does for energy. Eating foods that contain a lot of sugar will cause you to gain weight because sugar is converted into fat if not burned off as fuel through exercise. Also, avoid drinking alcohol, soft drinks and any beverages with high sugar and carbohydrate contents. Not only do they raise blood glucose, but they are a contributor to weight gain.

Starving yourself is also part of an unhealthy diet and can actually do the opposite of what you intend. When you skip meals and starve yourself, your metabolism slows down. It can also cause you to overeat the next time you sit down for a meal.

2. Lack of Exercise – Besides eating healthy, exercise is crucial in sustaining or losing weight. Lack of exercise is one of the major causes of obesity and increases your susceptibility to many health problems such as heart diseases and diabetes. By exercising, you can boost your entire immune system.

3. Stress – In a society that demands so much, stress is very common in our lives. However, when you’re stressed out about your family or your career, you could be putting yourself at risk to extra pounds. When we’re stressed, we release hormones such as cortisol, a stress hormone, and epinephrine, which encourages fat formation. When you’re physically or emotionally stressed, your body secretes cortisol as a response. Cortisol is associated with overeating and craving high-calorie foods. If your body produces too much cortisol, it can lead to weight gain.

In addition to increasing cortisol levels, stress can cause people to overeat. Many people turn to food as a way to overcome stress. However, food is only a temporary fix and can cause damage in the long run. When you’re stressed, you may find it harder to eat healthily and resort to emotional eating, which is eating to feed emotional feelings rather than a growling stomach. Even when you aren’t hungry, you may find yourself eating high-calorie foods. We often crave unhealthy comfort food, such as ice cream and cake, to quench our emotional feelings while sacrificing our weight.

4. Lack of Sleep – Due to our busy lives, not getting enough sleep is quite common. However, staying up that extra hour at night instead of turning in to sleep can cause more harm than you may imagine. Studies show that people who sleep less than 6 hours weighed more than people who slept 7-8 hours a night. The asleep deficit of 2-3 hours a night can make quite an impact on your weight. Your body functions at its best when you are well-rested. When you are sleep deprived, your body experiences physiological stress and you may turn to food as a coping mechanism. When we have inadequate sleep, it affects our levels of leptin and ghrelin, which are hormones that regulate our hunger and appetite. Lack of sleep drives down leptin levels, causing us to not feel satisfied after we eat. Meanwhile, it also drives up ghrelin levels, which stimulates our appetite and causes us to crave more food, especially high carbohydrate, calorie-dense foods. The two combined can lead to overeating and weight gain.

In addition, when you don’t get enough sleep, it can slow your metabolism of carbohydrates. This leads to higher levels of blood sugar, which can increase insulin resistance. A high level of insulin can prevent cells from breaking down fat, and lead to greater body-fat storage and weight gain.

5. Medications – Although medications can be a great help, some have side effects that cause you to put on weight. Some medications may affect appetite while some may affect metabolism. Experts say that steroids, antidepressants, diabetes medications, heartburn medications, oral contraceptives, antiseizure medications, and high blood pressure medications are some of the more common ones that may cause weight gain. Taking these medications may cause you to gain as much as 10 pounds per month. However, every drug works differently and not all drugs have the same side effects on everyone.

6. Depression - People who suffer mental health disorders, such as depression, are more likely to gain weight than people who do not. Some people turn to food, especially comfort food high in sugar and fat content, to make themselves feel better. In addition, if you are depressed and taking antidepressant medication, it may contribute to your weight gain. Weight gain is a side effect of many antidepressants.

7. Age – As we get older, our metabolism begins to slow down and we don’t burn as many calories as we used to when we were younger. Many of us lose muscle and if we don’t do anything about it, such as lifting weights to maintain muscle mass, we are likely to gain weight. Thus, in order to keep our metabolism going, we need to exercise more and consume less food.

8. Hypothyroidism (Medical condition) –This is the result of a deficiency in the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and is the most common medical condition that causes weight gain. The thyroid is a small gland at the base of our throat and produces hormones that regulate our metabolism, which helps us to control our weight. The lack of thyroid hormone decreases our metabolism, causing a loss of appetite and weight gain.

9. Cushing’s Syndrome (Medical condition) - Unlike hypothyroidism, this disorder is much rarer. Cushing’s syndrome is caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol and can also lead to weight gain. Excess cortisol slows our metabolism and causes fat to accumulate in the face, abdomen, and upper back. However, other areas of the body, such as the arms and legs, will remain slender.

Cortisol is the same hormone that’s released when you’re stressed, and thus, your body reacts in a similar way that it would to stress by storing energy and gaining weight. However, weight gain caused by Cushing’s Syndrome can’t be controlled with exercise and a healthy diet. Instead, in order to manage excess weight caused by this disorder, you need to go see a doctor. Once the cause of the production of excess cortisol is identified, your doctor can prescribe specific treatment for you.

10. Menopause (Women only) – When women go through menopause, they lose estrogen and their bodies begin to change shape. When you lose estrogen, there is a redistribution of weight in your body, where you’re more likely to increase fat around your abdomen rather than your lower body, such as the hip and thigh areas. Estrogen is crucial for many life-sustaining functions and because your ovaries produce less estrogen after menopause, your body looks for other areas that can produce estrogen. Since fat cells can produce estrogen, the body converts calories into fat.

Menopause weight gain is completely normal for women and it is often expected. Research has shown that about 90% of menopausal women gain weight between the ages of 35-55. Although not impossible, losing weight for menopausal women is much more difficult simply because it has to do with the fluctuations in hormones. If you’re fighting menopause weight gain, it is necessary to address any hormone imbalance. Hormones have an impact on your appetite, metabolism and fat storage.

Top 10 Causes of Weight Gain


Top 10 Causes of Weight Gain

10 Causes of Weight Gain
Although we gain weight when we eat more than what we burn, this isn’t always true. Weight gain is much more complicated and there are many factors that can impact your weight. Often times, it is a combination of things as opposed to just one factor. Before you can find the best solutions to help you lose weight, it is helpful to identify the causes of weight gain:

1. Unhealthy Diet – One of the main culprits of weight gain is the food you eat. Research has shown that weight gain has more to do with the foods you eat than how much exercise a person gets. Even if you don’t exercise much, eating a healthy diet and watching the calories you eat will still allow you to maintain a healthy weight.

Avoid eating unhealthy foods include any fatty, junk, fried, processed, and sugary food. A major contributor to weight gain is an ingredient found in many sweets called fructose corn syrup, which your body uses more like a fat than it does for energy. Eating foods that contain a lot of sugar will cause you to gain weight because sugar is converted into fat if not burned off as fuel through exercise. Also, avoid drinking alcohol, soft drinks and any beverages with high sugar and carbohydrate contents. Not only do they raise blood glucose, but they are a contributor to weight gain.

Starving yourself is also part of an unhealthy diet and can actually do the opposite of what you intend. When you skip meals and starve yourself, your metabolism slows down. It can also cause you to overeat the next time you sit down for a meal.

2. Lack of Exercise – Besides eating healthy, exercise is crucial in sustaining or losing weight. Lack of exercise is one of the major causes of obesity and increases your susceptibility to many health problems such as heart diseases and diabetes. By exercising, you can boost your entire immune system.

3. Stress – In a society that demands so much, stress is very common in our lives. However, when you’re stressed out about your family or your career, you could be putting yourself at risk to extra pounds. When we’re stressed, we release hormones such as cortisol, a stress hormone, and epinephrine, which encourages fat formation. When you’re physically or emotionally stressed, your body secretes cortisol as a response. Cortisol is associated with overeating and craving high-calorie foods. If your body produces too much cortisol, it can lead to weight gain.

In addition to increasing cortisol levels, stress can cause people to overeat. Many people turn to food as a way to overcome stress. However, food is only a temporary fix and can cause damage in the long run. When you’re stressed, you may find it harder to eat healthily and resort to emotional eating, which is eating to feed emotional feelings rather than a growling stomach. Even when you aren’t hungry, you may find yourself eating high-calorie foods. We often crave unhealthy comfort food, such as ice cream and cake, to quench our emotional feelings while sacrificing our weight.

4. Lack of Sleep – Due to our busy lives, not getting enough sleep is quite common. However, staying up that extra hour at night instead of turning in to sleep can cause more harm than you may imagine. Studies show that people who sleep less than 6 hours weighed more than people who slept 7-8 hours a night. The asleep deficit of 2-3 hours a night can make quite an impact on your weight. Your body functions at its best when you are well-rested. When you are sleep deprived, your body experiences physiological stress and you may turn to food as a coping mechanism. When we have inadequate sleep, it affects our levels of leptin and ghrelin, which are hormones that regulate our hunger and appetite. Lack of sleep drives down leptin levels, causing us to not feel satisfied after we eat. Meanwhile, it also drives up ghrelin levels, which stimulates our appetite and causes us to crave more food, especially high carbohydrate, calorie-dense foods. The two combined can lead to overeating and weight gain.

In addition, when you don’t get enough sleep, it can slow your metabolism of carbohydrates. This leads to higher levels of blood sugar, which can increase insulin resistance. A high level of insulin can prevent cells from breaking down fat, and lead to greater body-fat storage and weight gain.

5. Medications – Although medications can be a great help, some have side effects that cause you to put on weight. Some medications may affect appetite while some may affect metabolism. Experts say that steroids, antidepressants, diabetes medications, heartburn medications, oral contraceptives, antiseizure medications, and high blood pressure medications are some of the more common ones that may cause weight gain. Taking these medications may cause you to gain as much as 10 pounds per month. However, every drug works differently and not all drugs have the same side effects on everyone.

6. Depression - People who suffer mental health disorders, such as depression, are more likely to gain weight than people who do not. Some people turn to food, especially comfort food high in sugar and fat content, to make themselves feel better. In addition, if you are depressed and taking antidepressant medication, it may contribute to your weight gain. Weight gain is a side effect of many antidepressants.

7. Age – As we get older, our metabolism begins to slow down and we don’t burn as many calories as we used to when we were younger. Many of us lose muscle and if we don’t do anything about it, such as lifting weights to maintain muscle mass, we are likely to gain weight. Thus, in order to keep our metabolism going, we need to exercise more and consume less food.

8. Hypothyroidism (Medical condition) –This is the result of a deficiency in the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and is the most common medical condition that causes weight gain. The thyroid is a small gland at the base of our throat and produces hormones that regulate our metabolism, which helps us to control our weight. The lack of thyroid hormone decreases our metabolism, causing a loss of appetite and weight gain.

9. Cushing’s Syndrome (Medical condition) - Unlike hypothyroidism, this disorder is much rarer. Cushing’s syndrome is caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol and can also lead to weight gain. Excess cortisol slows our metabolism and causes fat to accumulate in the face, abdomen, and upper back. However, other areas of the body, such as the arms and legs, will remain slender.

Cortisol is the same hormone that’s released when you’re stressed, and thus, your body reacts in a similar way that it would to stress by storing energy and gaining weight. However, weight gain caused by Cushing’s Syndrome can’t be controlled with exercise and a healthy diet. Instead, in order to manage excess weight caused by this disorder, you need to go see a doctor. Once the cause of the production of excess cortisol is identified, your doctor can prescribe specific treatment for you.

10. Menopause (Women only) – When women go through menopause, they lose estrogen and their bodies begin to change shape. When you lose estrogen, there is a redistribution of weight in your body, where you’re more likely to increase fat around your abdomen rather than your lower body, such as the hip and thigh areas. Estrogen is crucial for many life-sustaining functions and because your ovaries produce less estrogen after menopause, your body looks for other areas that can produce estrogen. Since fat cells can produce estrogen, the body converts calories into fat.

Menopause weight gain is completely normal for women and it is often expected. Research has shown that about 90% of menopausal women gain weight between the ages of 35-55. Although not impossible, losing weight for menopausal women is much more difficult simply because it has to do with the fluctuations in hormones. If you’re fighting menopause weight gain, it is necessary to address any hormone imbalance. Hormones have an impact on your appetite, metabolism and fat storage.

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