Sometimes, we experience fluctuations in our weight, and it is common to gain weight over time. However, if weight gain occurs in a very short time for no clear reason, it could be a sign of underlying health conditions. Most people put on weight because they eat and drink more calories than they burn through everyday movement and body functions. Weight gain may also happen due to menopause and menopause, slow metabolism with age, being less physically active, water retention due to dehydration or excess salt, stress, depression and lack of sleep.
There are a variety of reasons why an individual may want to lose weight. Moderate reductions in weight may however be attained by simple lifestyle modifications. Lifestyle changes require willpower, dedication and perseverance. Since you can’t fully control the way your body works, you can learn how to control your eating habits and change your lifestyle. Except you are experiencing a serious medical issue, you can actually work to control your weight. It often takes hard work and a drastic lifestyle change, but many people do succeed in the long run despite.
What are the major causes of weight gain?
Obesity has a strong genetic component. There’s a higher probability for children of obese parents to become obese than children of lean parents. What you eat can however have a major effect on which genes are expressed and which are not.
2. Consumption of Junk Food
Junk food are heavily processed foods; containing often little more than refined ingredients mixed with additives. They are formulated to be cheap, last long on the shelf and taste so incredibly good that they are hard to resist. Junk food can cause addiction in susceptible individuals; making them look lose control over their eating behavior. This eating behavior- overeating,causes subsequent weight gain.
Insulin is a very important hormone that regulates energy storage and other body functions. One of the functions of insulin is to tell fat cells to store fat and to hold on to the fat they already carry. Most of the food trends these recent times promote insulin resistance in many overweight and obese individuals. When the insulin level is elevated, energy is stored in fat cells instead of being available for use.
4. Certain Medications
Some pharmaceutical drugs come with side effects including weight gain. Certain antidepressants have been linked to modest weight gain overtime. Other examples include diabetes medication and anti psychotics, which alter the function of your body and brain, reducing metabolic rate or increasing appetite.
5. Leptin Resistance
In addition to insulin, leptin is another hormone that plays an important role in obesity. It is produced by fat cells and its blood levels increase with higher fat mass. For this reason, leptin levels are especially high in people with obesity. In healthy people, high leptin levels are linked to reduced appetite. In the normal state, leptin should tell your brain how high your fat stores are.
Increased sugar content in modern diets does more harm than good. Sugar changes the hormones and biochemistry of your body when consumed in excess. This, in turn, contributes to weight gain.
Why is losing weight important?
You don’t have to lose hundreds of pounds to enjoy the physical health benefits of weight loss. If you are currently overweight or obese, you may be able to lose just a small amount of weight to improve your overall health. Studies have shown that a 5% to 10% decrease in your weight can change your health. The following are some health benefits of weight loss:
- It decreases your risk of diabetes
- May lower your blood pressure
- Leads to improved cholesterol levels
- Lowers your risk of heart disease
- Lowers risk of certain cancers
- Improved mobility
- Decreases joint pain
- Improves blood sugar levels
- Lowers your risk of stroke
- Reduced back pain
- Lowers your risk of osteoarthritis
- Decreased risk or improvement in symptoms ofsleep apnea
Weight loss strategies that work
Finding the ideal method of weight loss that works for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, and a number of trials with different foods and diets. While counting calories or similar restrictive methods may work for some people, others respond better to having more freedom in planning their weight loss programs. You don’t have to feel discouraged if a diet that worked for somebody else does not work for you. Ultimately, a diet is only right for you if it’s one you can stick with over time. You should know that there’s no easy way of losing weight, but there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
1. Cut down your calorie intake
When you start to cut down your calories, you may drop weight for the first few weeks. In some cases, you eat the same number of calories but you lose less weight or no weight at all. That’s because when you lose weight you’re losing water and lean tissue as well as fat, your metabolism slows, and your body changes in other ways. If you want to keep dropping weight each week, you need to continue cutting calories. To achieve sustained weight loss, you must avoid foods that are packed with calories but don’t make you feel full and replace them with foods that fill you up without being loaded with calories (like vegetables). A lot of people do not always eat simply to satisfy hunger. Sometimes, we eat for comfort or to relieve stress.
2. Cut carbs
When you eat a meal, carbohydrates from the food enter your bloodstream as glucose. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in check, your body always burns off this glucose before it burns off fat from a meal. If you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal, your body releases insulin to help with the influx of all this glucose into your blood. As well as regulating blood sugar levels, insulin also prevents your fat cells from releasing fat for the body and it creates more fat cells for storing everything that your body can’t burn off.
The result is that you gain weight and your body now requires more fuel to burn, so you eat more. If you must reduce your weight, then you must work on reducing carbs. Most low-carb diets suggest that you replace carbs with protein and fat, which could have some negative long-term effects on your health. If you do try a low-carb diet, you can reduce your risks and limit your intake of saturated and trans fats by choosing lean meats, fish and vegetarian sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and eating plenty of leafy green and non-starchy vegetables.
3. Cut fat
Contrary to common beliefs, not all fat is actually bad. Healthy or “good” fats can actually help to control your weight, as well as manage your moods and fight fatigue. Fats found in certain foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, soy milk, tofu, and fatty fish are unsaturated and can help fill you up, while adding a little tasty olive oil to a plate of vegetables, for example, can make it easier to eat healthy food and improve the overall quality of your diet. We often make the mistake of swapping fat for the empty calories of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
4. Try the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating good fats and good carbs along with large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil—and only modest amounts of meat and cheese. The Mediterranean diet is more than just about food, though. Regular physical activity and sharing meals with others are also major components that enhance healthy eating.
5. Control emotional eating
We don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. All too often, we turn to food when we’re stressed, bored or anxious, which can wreck any diet and pack on the pounds. Do you eat when you’re worried, bored, or lonely? Do you snack in front of the TV at the end of a stressful day? Recognizing your emotional eating triggers can make all the difference in your weight-loss efforts.
6. Cut down on sugar and refined carbs
Most of us consume unhealthy amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, and sweetened breakfast cereals. Replacing refined carbs with whole grains and eliminating sugary foods can go a long way in your weight loss goals. Sugar is hidden in foods as diverse as canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, and many reduced fat foods. Since your body gets all it needs from naturally occurring sugar in food, added sugar amounts to nothing but a lot of empty calories and unhealthy spikes in your blood glucose. Calories obtained from fructose (found in sugary beverages and processed foods) are more likely to add to fat around your belly. Cutting back on sugary foods will help you lose belly fat as well as a lower risk of diabetes.
7. Eat more of fruit, veggies, and fiber
High-fiber foods such as fruit, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are higher in volume and take longer to digest, making them filling; thus very effective for weight-loss. Fresh fruit and non-starchy vegetables will also help you keep shape.
Can weight loss be maintained?
It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But people who lose weight gradually and steadily are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss is more than just a diet, but an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits. Once you’ve achieved a healthy weight, rely on healthy eating and physical activity to help you keep the weight off over the long term. Losing weight is not easy, and it takes commitment. Whatever diet you use to lose weight in the first place, adopting these habits may help you to keep it off:
- Stay physically active.
- Keep a food log: this helps to keep you accountable and motivated.
- Eat breakfast every day: breakfast boosts metabolism and staves off hunger later in the day.
- Eat more fiber and less unhealthy fat
- Regularly check the scale, as it may help you to detect any small gains in weight, enabling you to promptly take corrective action before the problem worsens.
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