Weight Gain… OH! Not Again

3 minutes

Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and said Why ME? I don’t even eat sweets…. Well…sweets are not the only culprit which changes your hourglass shape to a spherical one. Knowing the causes of weight gain might help you in coping with it…

No one likes the needle of the weighing scale to inch up on a regular basis. But it does for most of us. The biggest culprit is the way we live our lives – Our lifestyle. Changes in lifestyle due to rapid urbanization have contributed to the rise in weight gain. Significant lifestyle changes such as desk jobs, an increase in the number of hours devoted to television viewing, the inclusion of convenience foods, frequent eating out are some of the factors which can be accounted for by the bulging waistline.

Is urbanization the sole offender? Before you start blaming India Shining let’s take a look at our genes. Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic cause. It is believed that obesity is a hereditary condition.  Most researchers put forward an argument that family members tend to share similar lifestyles and diets that may contribute to obesity. But numerous studies have refuted environment / lifestyle as the only cause. In one such study done by the Department of Psychiatry, Philadelphia twins who were brought up apart were studied and it was concluded that their BMI were closer to each other. In this case, the person’s genetic makeup had more influence on the development of obesity than an environment in the adoptive family home.

Weight gain can also be as a result of energy imbalance where energy intake has been more than energy use over a period of many years. This involves consuming excess calories than required or not using the ingested calories by doing physical activity. Physical activity plays a key role in energy balance because it uses up calories consumed.

Apart from these, psychological factors may also influence eating habits. Some people tend to overindulge in food, as a response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness or anger. They may also overeat as a way of dealing with stress or depression.

Some rare illnesses can cause a gain in weight. These include hypothyroidism (diminished activity of thyroid gland), Cushing’s syndrome and certain neurological problems that can lead to overeating. Certain drugs such as steroids and antidepressants may also lead to weight gain.

Though comparatively lesser in proportion Eating Disorders like binge eating, night eating syndrome have also been mentioned as a cause of weight gain. It takes a combination of things to develop an eating disorder — including a person’s genes, emotions and experience. Biological abnormalities can contribute to binge eating. For example, the hypothalamus (the hunger centre of the brain) may not be sending correct messages about hunger and fullness. Depression and eating disorders are strongly linked. Low self-esteem, loneliness, and body dissatisfaction may also contribute to eating disorders.

Binge eating is characterized by compulsive overeating in which people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control to stop. Binge eaters often eat even when they are not hungry.  Those suffering from night eating syndrome consume more than half of their daily calories in the latter half of the day and even arise from sleep to eat.  These disorders are completely treatable with psychological help and motivation.

Now, maybe, you would have found out why that devilish needle is going up all the time. No… Not a problem. For those who have still not been able to decipher the reason for weight gain can blame it on their slow BMR. (Read more on BMR in subsequent write-ups)

Image Courtesy: luxstorm by pixabay

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