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Back to Basics! Unravelling the Real Reasons Why We Put on Weight!

Back to Basics! Unravelling the Real Reasons Why We Put on Weight!


Unable to see any difference after weeks of eating only salad, soup and protein bars? Tired of sweating it out in the gym but not able to see any difference in inches? Wondering why some people do not put on weight despite binge eating?
Unable to see any difference after weeks of eating only salad, soup and protein bars? Tired of sweating it out in the gym but not able to see any difference in inches? Wondering why some people do not put on weight despite binge eating?
The reasons are simple. Obesity is a complex disease, and a lot of factors influence it. The causes of obesity vary from person to person, and simply eating right and exercising more for obesity control is usually not enough.

A multitude of factors – genetic, environmental and psychological, can contribute to weight gain. Few of these factors are internal – we are born with them. However, other causes of obesity also exist in our environment.

It would be helpful for us to delve deep into the common causes of obesity.

  1. Genetic: There is a 70% chance you would suffer from obesity if either of your parents did. Our genes determine the appetite, processing of food, and the amount of fat we store.
    A deficiency of a hormone in the body that signals the brain to stop eating when you are full may also contribute to obesity. With this deficiency, you would eat a lot more in every meal and gradually gain weight. Other genetic variations also influence our appetite.
  2. Lack of Physical Activity: Sedentary lifestyles are causing a decrease in physical movement. If we don’t burn the calories we consume, excess fat gets stored in the body. There is a strong connection between physical inactivity and obesity in many people.
    Doctors advise you to do at least some physical activity daily for 30 minutes. It can include weight loss workouts like cardio exercises or strength exercises based on your body’s composition.
    Once you start exercising, slowly increase the intensity of exercise. This is because the longer you exercise, the more efficient your body becomes at burning calories, progressively burning fewer calories with the same amount of physical activity.
    If you don’t see any results, you can talk to a specialist and consider other options like weight loss treatments and diet for obesity.
  3. Lack of Sleep: Many of us don’t know about the strong connection between sleep and weight. As per National Sleep Foundation’s guidelines, adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep every day.
    People who sleep less than this may gain some weight over time. When you’re sleep-deprived, your brain produces more ghrelin (hunger hormone) and less leptin (a hormone that tells the brain to stop eating once it is full). In this case, you eat more than your body requires, which gradually leads to weight gain and obesity.
    The link between obesity and sleep is well documented, and we should aim to sleep at least 7-8 hours a day to effectively manage obesity.
  4. Environment & Food: Many aspects of our environment and lifestyle also contribute to weight gain and the development of obesity. There is the constant and easy availability of unhealthy, high-fat and high-sugar foods and it can be tempting to try out the large number of options that exist.
    Moreover, very often, healthier options are costly, and we stick to junk. There is no specific diet for obesity, and you have to consciously choose to eat healthy food in moderation. We need to understand the role of diet and exercise in weight management.
    To add to it, our work nowadays is usually sedentary, and during the day we are confined to our work-desk and laptop, giving us hardly any opportunity to move around. We also usually stay in high-rise apartments, and there are fewer open spaces for us to exercise.
    We can follow some useful lifestyle management tips and make simple changes in our environment to manage this factor of obesity.
  5. Psychological Factors: In most cases, psychological factors like stress, anxiety, and negative feelings have a huge impact on obesity. Some people eat more when they are tired, angry or stressed. They tend to eat excess food and have a reduced will to exercise. , which itself has a connection with weight gain.
    People can sometimes find comfort in food when they have negative feelings, and it becomes hard to stop binge eating. During obesity treatment, behavioural therapy may have a positive impact on the management of obesity, especially when one’s psychological state is a major influence.
  6. Medications: Weight gain is also a common side effect of certain medicines. Antidepressants, mood stabilisers, antihistamines, SSRIs, sulfonylureas and insulin are among the medications that are known to cause weight gain. While visiting an obesity treatment centre, tell your doctor about all the medications you are on.
  7. Diseases: Some diseases have a direct and indirect connection with weight gain. Health conditions like depression, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Prader-Willi syndrome, Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, and osteoarthritis (OA) may affect weight.

You need to consult a doctor to know if you suffer from any of the above and understand what factors are causing your weight gain.

In conclusion, to effectively treat and manage obesity, you need to consult a doctor and understand what your reason for gaining weight is. If you are dealing with obesity, consult a specialist.


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