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Why People Gain Weight

June 17, 2012

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overweight man measuring his stomach, why we gain weight

Weight gain is normally an unwanted side effect of overeating, insufficient physical activity, slow metabolism, excess stress, health problems, and consumption of medications. It is rare that anyone is happy about gaining weight. Rather most people are trying to lose weight. Weight gain can be attributed to eating an unhealthy diet, not getting enough exercise, having too much stress, or even to health problems.   To find out why you’re gaining eight take a look at your lifestyle to find the areas where you can improve your life and stop unwanted weight gain.

Unhealthy Diet- Consuming more calories than you expend a day can pack on the pounds. Eating a diet high in fat, sugar and salt can lead to weight gain. Unfortunately, unhealthy fast foods, chips, soda, cookies, and candy are loaded with fat sugar and calories. Our society encourages the consumption of these foods, which has lead to an obese population. Cutting out these sources of extra calories can reverse weight gain. Swap high calorie foods with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, which are loaded with essential nutrients, fiber and are much lower in calories.


Lack of Exercise- In the older days, when technology hadn’t produced TV’s, Xbox, play station, the internet or even the car yet, people were much more active. Kids played outside, running around, playing games, where as now they sit ion their butts, watching TV or playing video games. Even as adults we spend too many hours in front of the computer or TV. The lack of physical activity has caused an increase in the overall population’s weight. A sedentary lifestyle not only at home but also at work, in an office or sitting at a desk can lead to weight gain.


Slow Metabolism- Base metabolism, the speed at which the body burns calories is determined genetically, however thing such as diet and exercise can change its rate. A higher metabolism burns more calories than a slow metabolism, meaning that a slow metabolism can lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. Someone with increased body mass with a high percentage of body fat has a slower metabolism than someone with a high percentage of muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories on a daily basis than fat, so to stop weight gain from a slow metabolism build muscle and lose weight.

Stress- We encounter stress on a daily basis and everyone responds to it differently. However, internally the body responds by releasing hormones such as cortisol, which triggers a “fight or flight response”. Cortisol slows the metabolism, affects blood sugar and increases fat accumulation around the mid section. A change in blood sugar levels can increase ones cravings for fatty and sugary, comfort foods. Stress also increases the likelihood for emotional eating, even when not hungry.

Health Conditions-If you eat right, exercise and use relaxation techniques to minimize stress then weight gain maybe related to a medical condition. Some of the medical conditions that cause weight gain include diabetes, underactive thyroid, depression, or Cushing’s syndrome. Each of these conditions affects the metabolism and decreases blood sugar leading to cravings.   Medications can also affect weight gain including anti seizure drugs, medications for chronic pain, asthma inhalers with steroids, anti depressants psychotropic drugs, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.