Reasons You Gained Weight that Have Nothing to Do with Food from 15 Reasons You Gained Weight that Have Nothing to Do with Food

15 Reasons You Gained Weight that Have Nothing to Do with Food

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Reasons You Gained Weight that Have Nothing to Do with Food

More than one-third – 34.9 percent or 78.6 million – of adults in the country are obese, according to the Journal of American Medicine, and there is no indication of the trend changing. People think that weight gain is all about eating more and not exercising enough, but this is a huge misconception, Dr. Christopher Still, director of the of the Geisinger Health System Obesity Institute, says. There are many other factors that lead to extra inches around the waist no matter how hard you try to keep them off.

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Lean muscle loss

Losing lean body mass, especially in women, is a big secondary cause for weight gain, Dr. Still says. Lean body mass determines the number of calories we burn a day, he adds. Losing muscle slows down the body’s natural calorie-burning ability “That’s why we need to eat less [as we age].” The best way to prevent muscle loss is by staying physically active.

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Slower metabolism

Metabolism is the process through which the body converts what a person eats into energy. “By large most men and women have normal metabolism,” Dr. Still says. As people age, gaining weight becomes easier and losing it harder because the process tends to slow down, but gradually. Adjusting to certain new routines can speed it up. “The only safe way to boost your metabolism is to maintain lean body mass,” Still says.

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Lack of sleep

Sleep deprivation causes stress on the body, Dr. Still says. It sparks a vicious cycle where you are left feeling tired, slowing your metabolism, and playing tricks with your hormones. Little sleep affects the fat cells. Their ability to react properly to insulin (the hormone that regulates energy storage) decreases by 30 percent. Such chronic disruption could cause weight gain, type 2 diabetes and other health problems, according to a study. In storage mode, fat cells remove fatty acids and lipids from the circulation where they can damage other tissues.

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You are taking medication

An estimated 5 to 10 percent of obesity in the U.S. is related to medication, Dr. Still says. Anti-depressants are a big group of pills with weight gain being a common side effect, he adds. “It’s important for people to talk to their doctors to make sure they are not at risk.” Maybe the dosage can be reduced to minimize the side effects. Anti-psychotics and birth control pills are also often associated with weight gain, Dr. Hes says.

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Thyroid problems

One of the most common signs of a thyroid not working right is gained weight. “This is such a huge problem, especially in women,” Prudence Hall, MD, from The Hall Center, says. This may be caused by an underactive thyroid which has significantly slowed down your metabolism. Having trouble losing a few pounds can also be a sign of hypothyroidism. Thyroid problems rarely go undiagnosed in kids, Dyan Hes, MD, Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics and Obesity Expert, says. “They get screened as newborns and then every few months.”

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Hormones are out of balance

Hormones control every aspect of weight loss. When they are out of whack, no matter how hard you  try and how strictly you follow a healthy regimen, the extra pounds will not drop. High estrogen may be one reason, according to research. Another is low testosterone – when its levels are low, an increase of body fat may follow, studies show, even if you work out on a regular basis.

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Genetics

Obesity can be due to a person’s genetics. The risk is two to eight times higher for a person with a family history as opposed to a person with no family history of obesity,” according to research. “There are about 200 genes that are linked to weight gain, Dr. Hes says. “Even if you test people for them, there is nothing we can offer them,” she adds. The only treatment is healthy diet and exercise, and possibly weight loss surgery.

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Stress

A lot of people who are overstressed experience change in habits such as eating more, which can result in weight changes. The extra pounds people gain under stress are usually stored as abdominal fat because the adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone, make you hungry for carbs and fat. One of the biggest stressors is work; learn a few tips to handle it. 

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You are less active

The price of leading an inactive lifestyle is high and it comes in the form of physical pain and obesity. You are literally sitting yourself to death. Sitting more than 11 hours a day increases risk of premature death by 40 percent. Every extra hour of sitting increases the risk of diabetes by 22 percent, according to research. In a study on weight gain and loss, where every aspect of diet and exercise was controlled in a lab, the researchers added 1,000 calories to all of the subjects’ daily diets. No one was allowed to exercise, but some people gained weight. Those who maintained their weight did so by unintentionally moving more throughout the day. 

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Gut bacteria

A recent study suggests that consuming probiotics promotes weight loss and reduces Body Mass Index (BMI). Other research also shows that bacteria can have an impact on weight by a variety of factors. But this has not been proven beyond a doubt. “There is no proof that bacteria cause obesity,” Dr. Hessays. “It could be due to the antibiotics [used to treat the infection],” she adds. There is a lot of research in the field, but one thing is sure: The bacteria in the gut play a significant role in digestive and immune health.

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You have obstructive sleep apnea

This is a big problem, Dr. Still says, because people don’t get any REM sleep due to stress. REM sleep is actually when you get rest. In a way, you’re not getting any quality sleep at all because you wake up of all the time and don’t get any rest. REM is thought to be involved in the process of storing memories, learning, and balancing your mood, according to the National Institutes of Health. Lack of REM sleep has also been linked to certain health conditions, including migraines.

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Certain illnesses

Weight gain can be a symptom of a serious condition. Obesity affects every organ system, Dr. Still says. “Fatty liver disease, for example, is the No. 1 reason people need a liver transplant,” he adds. There is no good treatment other than weight loss. In kids, Dr. Hes, says, there are 10-15 syndromes associated with obesity. Prader-Willi syndrome, she points out, leads to kids developing a voracious appetite, which leads to chronic overeating and obesity.

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AD-36 virus

Recent studies have shown a possible correlation between obesity and Adv36 viral infections. The adenovirus-36 (Adv36) is an infectious common human cold virus. Animals infected with it show increase in body weight and physiological changes, increased glucose absorption and decreased secretion of leptin, which is known as the satiety hormone, and cholesterol. Experiments with monkeys, the closest animal model to humans, showed that 100 percent of the ones infected with the virus gained weight.

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Pollution

This is very theoretical, Dr. Hes says. It may lead to inflammation in the body, which is the problem, she adds. Research shows that inflammation plays a role in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. When the immune system is overactive, it leads to pain, tiredness and damaged blood vessels. A study showed that exposing laboratory rats to polluted air from Beijing, China, resulted in significant weight gain compared to those rats who breathed filtered air. 

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Your workout program is wrong

Staying physically active is crucial to losing extra pounds and maintaining a healthy weight. However, you need to know what you’re doing. You have to include cardio and aerobic exercises to burn calories. Isolation movements and strength training alone will not help. In fact, they can lead to weight gain because you are gaining muscle but not burning fat. “You build muscle faster than you lose fat,” Dr. Jayson B. Calton, Board Certified Micronutrient Specialist, says.  

15 Reasons You Gained Weight that Have Nothing to Do with Food