What causes weight gain?

What causes weight gain?

A lot has been said about the modern lifestyle. The modern man is worried so much about diseases like cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease which are closely linked to modern lifestyle. Perhaps second to this is the concern about the rise of obesity and excess weight gain even here in Kenya. 

The question we should be asking is, what has changed?  What is causing this excess weight gain among us?  Does it all boil down to bad eating habits or are there other factors on the side? Research has shown that weight gain is not limited to just poor eating habits.  Here are some other factors.

Weight gain cause 1

1.      Birth control Pills: Have you ever wondered why a slim-figured young lady suddenly gains many pounds after getting married.  Some traditional thinkers have even accused such a girl with being careless and not looking after herself.  That is not always the case though.  In the family planning process, a woman can gain a lot of pounds.  Bari Nan Cohen of prevention.com maintains that there are certain weights that we can’t control.  Birth control pills are among many other pills that cause increase in weight. 

Dr. Robert Berkowitz from the University of Pennsylvania says that sometimes fluid retention may be misconstrued to mean weight gain.  “If someone is retaining a lot of water…they’d better get to their physician very quickly to make sure they don’t have heart or kidney failure.’  This he adds, is common among older women who when they push a fingertip into their skin it leaves a real indentation instead of springing back. Interestingly, I used to see this with my grandmother and I never understood why.  Now I know.

Weight gain cause 2

2.      Other prescription drugs: it is not just the birth control pills that cause weight gain.  Some anti-depressants, steroids, heart disease and breast cancer pills can also cause extra weight gain.  Dr. Steven D Wittlin was quoted in prevention.com as saying that some of the effects of these pills is that they affect metabolism.  Others make you feel better and thus make you to regain your lost appetite.  Personally, when I was on some steroids a while ago, I encountered this same phenomenon.

Weight gain cause 3

3.      Bad eating habits: In an earlier blog, we detailed the importance of observing our calorie intake because these very much determine our weight gain.  However, if you have what Kristen Dold and Ashley Mateo of WomensHealth call ‘calorie amnesia’ you may want to get a diary to help you keep check on your calorie intake at least fortnightly or so.  Bad eating habits could be learned or could be as a result of other underlying factors which we shall discuss such as stress, depression, or just anxiety.  Did you also know that skipping meals is not a good eating habit? Skipping meals slows your metabolism and thus boosts your hunger.  The body then goes to a storage mode and you are likely to overeat in the next meal and thus aiding in weight gain. Obviously binging and sitting around the TV can mean you are eating loads of junk and not exercising to lose the extra pound – the sedentary lifestyle depicted below.  Next time you are tempted to simply sit around the house, watch TV and do binging, remember that it could be the reason for your extra pound. Don’t also forget to check what is served on your plate.  For further reference, kindly visit our blog on calories needed by our bodies.

Weight gain cause 4

4.      Stress:

Stress has become so prevalent in our modern day living and it is subjecting so many people to medication and sometimes to bad eating habits.  Jarrod Breeze of WebMD suggests that stress could actually be one of the culprits for weight gain.  Why?  He attributes this to overeating due to excess pressure of life which is otherwise known as flight-response.  This is to say that once your body reaches a certain level of stress, it does what it feels it has to do which in most cases ends up being overeating.  The other thing we need to understand about stress is that when we are stressed, the stress hormone cortisol rises.  When it goes up, it can cause higher insulin levels, thus the blood sugar drops and this mean you get a craving for fatty and sugary foods.  So essentially, we go into a sort of cycle; “more stress=more cortisol= higher appetite for junk food=more belly fat” says Shawn M. Talboot, a nutritional biochemist quoted in WebMD.  To deal with stress, you can doing mild workouts that won’t raise your cortisol level too high, e.g. a brisk walk.  Get an accountability partner who helps you monitor what you eat.  This could be a friend or your spouse.  You can also seek therapy to deal with the stress.  Overall, this will reverse your bad eating habits as well as deal directly with your weight gain. Do not forget to catch up on that beauty sleep. 

Weight gain cause 5

5.      Poor Digestion: If you have persistent case of constipation, it is possible that you have a case of poor digestion and accumulation of toxins.  You may not have constipation but you could have poor bowel movement which could be a second indicator that you probably are having poor digestion.  This could essentially lead to weight gain.  Don’t worry, this can be taken care of by extra hydration; drink more than a liter of water a day for a start to cleanse the system. Aim for 2litres daily.  Fiber is another solution.  This means you need to increase your vegetable, whole grain intake for more roughage and fiber.  You can also purchase some probiotics from your local chemist.  This should sort your situation, but if symptoms persist, seek medical advice. 

Weight gain cause 6

6.      Lack of Proper Nutrients:  Lack of proper nutrients for example magnesium, iron, Vitamin D, which help with the immune system might cause weight gain. Livestong.com adds that malabsorption of healthy nutrients could work either ways, increase or decrease of weight gain. To curb this problem, you can increase your intake of healthy carbs, and healthy iron like spinach and almonds.  An increase in Vitamin D intake might also be a good way to improve your nutrient absorption.  People who suffer gastrointestinal disorders may be required to take supplements like Vitamin D, folic acid, Iron, magnesium and calcium.  This is according to MayoClinic.com.  People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome are advised to take turmeric and herbal supplements like cat’s claw that sooth the intestines and improve the absorption of nutrients and reverses the weight gain or drop.

Weight gain cause 7

7.      Hypothyroidism: This is a condition where the body lacks sufficient thyroid  hormone.  James Norman of endocrineweb.com observes that the low production of this hormones easily means that people with this condition will have low metabolism because the hormone is associated with the running of the body’s metabolism. This comes with a lot of symptoms like constipation, abnormal menstrual cycles, hair loss, pale skin, fatigue, weight or trouble losing weight.  It is advisable to see a doctor if you suspect that you are suffering from these symptoms so that the doctor can eliminate hypothyroidism as a source of your weight gain.

Weight gain cause 8

8.      Emotional Eating:This is closely related to eating out of stress and it can also be linked to bad eating habits.   On a positive note, life is full of pleasant surprises and we love to celebrate these milestones and achievements.  Sadly though, some people celebrate way too many occasions and with the wrong food.  Your friend got a baby, and you jump into a celebration and this is not at all a bad thing.  I guess it is how much we consume in these celebratory events.  If you have a celebratory event every weekend and you overindulge in ice-cream, nyama-choma, chips, and loads of junkies, you are likely to be adding a pound or two each weak.  There is nothing wrong with learning to say no to some of these events.   My friend told me about her husband who after a hard work-out comes home and celebrates with a chicken drumstick!  Other people feast on the wrong food when they are feeling sad as we earlier saw above on stress eating. 

Overall and in conclusion, there are varying reasons why people gain weight. other reasons are pregnancy related weight gain and of course baby fat. {formation of fat cells during the first year of child birth} see also another great article on calories guide and how to eat healthy.

If you have tried diet and exercise and still find that the weight is clinging on, perhaps it’s time to consult with your gynecologist or with your regular doctor for a check up.  All the best in this wise move. Before i go, I would love you to read about this amazing plant {tribulus-terrestris} and the health benefits it contains. This product {organifi complete protein powder} is made from this super plant. As always, we love to hear from you. Kindly comment below and i will surely respond to you. 

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