Weight gain has become an issue of concern today for obvious reasons. Many researchers believe this is related to having a poor body image, which is made worse by constant media exposure to slim models, celebrities, and athletes (Source)
That aside, unhealthy weight gain has also been associated with a lot of health diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol level) just to mention a few. Hence, the urgent need for weight loss.
In this article we will be taking you through the rudiments, starting from what causes weight gain to how to achieve good results in your quest for weight loss.
We are looking into the cause of weight gain first because it has been proven that what helps in weight loss is knowing why you add weight first.
By taking away the root cause of weight gain therein lies the solution you have been looking for.
What causes my weight gain?
Many a time ladies complain about not eating regularly but they still find themselves adding weight. This can be termed unintentional weight gain.
Unintentional weight gain also known as unplanned weight gain can be described as putting on weight without necessarily increasing your consumption of food or liquid and without decreasing your activity.
A lot of women realise that they fall into this category of people who do not want to add weight but they do nevertheless.
A lot of factors could be responsible, you will see soon.
The role of your body in weight gain
One key point to note here is that there are a lot of factors responsible for weight gain most especially in women.
That’s the more reason why a blanket approach cannot be used to decide which method or which weight loss pill is better for weight loss.
It all depends on what is responsible for the weight gain.
Before going further there is an urgent need to state that the use of weight loss pills is not encouraged.
This is because studies have shown that the majority of the companies producing these pills are not being regulated which therefore classifies a lot of these pills as unsafe for human consumption.
It is best to consult your physician before using any weight loss pill.
As we have earlier mentioned there is a need to consider what’s responsible for your weight gain.
If you don’t, even after losing weight due to dieting or any other method you choose to use, such weight loss is regained back in even multiple folds. This is called yoyo dieting.
An important reason why you need to understand how your body works is that you get to know how fast your body breaks down certain foods, what food to eat at a particular time and when to avoid junk. (Source)
When your body does not burn out all the calories you consume in a day, the remaining are likely to be stored in your adipose tissue which would result in weight gain. (Source)
So, ensuring you eat as much as your body can burn in a day is key to preventing weight gain.
Furthermore, although several animal studies have linked eating at night to increased weight. However, human studies show that eating beyond your daily calorie needs leads to weight gain, unrelated to what time of the day you eat. (Source)
What’s usually the cause of weight gain may also be more than just overeating or lack of exercise.
It could also be a result of hormone imbalance. Studies have shown that there are about 10 hormones implicated in weight gain in women.
How to lose weight fast
A lot of people are in dire need of fast weight loss, they engage in dieting and use supplements that yield no results.
Truth be told, there is no shortcut to weight loss but a sustainable diet change. This has proven to be truly helpful over the years.
The saying “you are what you eat” is not far from the truth when we look into the main cause of weight gain in the majority which makes a sustainable diet change plan very helpful in the long run.
Let’s quickly delve into the reasons for weight gain, you may also find vital information for yourself there.
Reasons for weight gain in women
The reasons for weight gain in women are quite numerous, ranging from hormonal imbalance to diet and lifestyle, not excluding genetics. Some people may never be slim and this is simply because of their genetic makeup.
We will just be looking into some of the reasons here.
Women often eat more to support the growth of the baby. They put on weight as the baby grows. (Source)
2. Hormonal changes
As a woman enters into the menopausal stage of their life, there is usually a depletion in a hormone called estrogen (this hormone plays a very crucial role in menstruation and ovulation). (Source)
A decrease in estrogen can cause women to experience weight gain around their abdominal region and the hips. (Source)
Periodic weight gain occurs too during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Women may experience water retention and bloat around the time. (Source)
Changes in the level of estrogen and Progesterone (pregnancy hormone) during menstruation also cause weight gain. (Source)
4. Fluid retention
Weight gain may also be due to the accumulation of fluid in some parts of the body, this is called oedema, which can cause your limbs, hands, feet, face or abdomen to look swollen.
People with heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease or taking certain meds such as corticosteroids, antidepressants, antipsychotics and birth control pills may experience weight gain. (Source)
5. Eating too many highly processed foods
Such as cereals and fast foods have been linked to weight gain and subsequently rising rates of obesity in the United States and the world. (Source)
Highly processed foods are typically packed with calories with no essential nutrients such as protein and fibre (such as fruits and vegetables).
6. You overeat sugary food
Regular consumption of sugary foods and beverages such as candy, cakes, soda, energy drinks, ice cream, iced tea and sweetened coffee drinks can easily increase your waistline. (Source)
Sugar intake is not only linked to weight gain but also chronic diseases like diabetes (type 2) and heart diseases. (Source) So, you should reduce your intake of it.
7. A sedentary lifestyle has also been associated with weight gain and obesity.
Sitting down in one position for too long is not good no matter what you may be doing (Source)
So as a working mum or single lady, you should try to stand for a while (maybe an hour) after long hours spent sitting.
8. Lack of sleep could also be responsible for your weight gain.
A lot of studies have proven this. Sleep deprivation increases levels of ghrelin and decreases levels of leptin.
Ghrelin is a hormone that makes us feel hungry while leptin is a hormone that makes us feel full.
This is supported by various studies that have shown that sleep-deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. (Source)
Sleep deprivation also makes you crave foods that are higher in sugar and fat, due to their high-calorie content.
9. You do not include enough whole foods
Examples of whole foods include non-starchy vegetables, cereals, fruits, nuts, oatmeal etc. This kind of food does not lead to weight gain. (Source)
10. You may have an undiagnosed medical condition:
Although many lifestyle factors are responsible for weight gain, certain medical conditions may also play a role.
While some people feel that they lose weight when they stress themselves out, studies have proven that the reverse is the case in most people.
This is because there is high production of the hormone called cortisol which has been associated with weight gain and obesity. (Source)
High levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase hunger and your desire for highly palatable, calorie-dense foods, which can cause weight gain. (Source)
See more reasons for weight gain here
What is the best diet for Weight Loss?
There are a lot of weight loss diet plan programs all around the globe today. Losing weight is big business.
In 2015, it was estimated that weight loss programs, products and other therapies generated more than 150 billion dollars in the U.S and Europe combined (Source)
Unfortunately, weight loss diets have a disappointing track record.
In one study, three years after participants conclude their weight loss program, only 12% had kept off at least 75% of the weight they had lost while 40% had gained back more weight than they originally had lost (Source)
See other studies here.
Research has shown that rather than achieving weight loss, most people who frequently diet end up gaining weight in the long run.
This is most common in people without obesity (Source)
One factor that contributes to regain in people with less weight is an increase in appetite hormones such as ghrelin (hunger-inducing hormone).
The body boosts the production of this hunger-inducing hormone when there is a loss of fat and muscle (Source)
However, the good news is that instead of dieting, there are still better alternatives which have proven to yield good results in preventing reverse weight gain.
Best Methods to Stop Weight Gain
1. Forget about dieting
Focus on eating in a way that optimises your health.
Choose nourishing foods that make you satisfied and allow you to maintain a good energy level so you can be at your best.
Eat mindfully. Slowing down, appreciating the eating experience, and listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues can improve your relationship with food and lead to weight loss (Source)
2. Exercise regularly
Research suggests that at least 30 minutes of daily physical exercise is particularly beneficial for weight maintenance (Source)
It is best to engage in a kind of exercise you would enjoy doing in the long run.
3. Accept that your “ideal” weight might not be possible
BMI is a measure of your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in metres. It is often used to help people determine their healthy weight range.
However, researchers have challenged its usefulness for predicting health risks (Source)
It’s important to note that you can be healthy even if you are not at your ideal weight.
Although many diet plans promise to help you achieve your “dream body”, the truth is that some people aren’t cut out to be very slim.
Accepting and loving yourself the way you are now is the first best gift you can ever give yourself, you feel better. You are also able to achieve results in life and health-wise.
There is a lot of controversy with regards to eating before going to bed. While some believe it causes weight gain others feel it doesn’t.
Both parties have a valid argument. The former insist it causes weight gain because the body’s metabolic process slows while we sleep leading to fat deposits. (Source)
However, studies performed on humans indicate that it is not the time you eat but how much you eat that matters. (Source)
It is also noteworthy to study your body mechanism and find out what works for you, by doing this, you will feel better and live a more healthy life.
While you cannot fully control your body’s performance of its duties, you can work on your eating habits and lifestyle.
Unless there is an underlying health condition responsible for your weight gain, controlling your weight is definitely within your ability.