It may sometimes be difficult trying to lose weight through dieting, as some factors can militate against it. For those conscious of controlling their weight, attention should be given to stress levels, genetic factors and lifestyle amongst others as part of their diet programme. This is because watching weight demands more than controlling the food we eat. RALIAT YUSUF writes.
Everything from using a remote control to change TV channels to having the wrong sort of friends and stress levels can push us to add weight, say experts.
Far from the general belief that food is the major culprit of weight gain or controlling it, there are various factors that can affect a person trying to lose weight. Genetics, friends, life style and behavior can lead to excess weight and eventually obesity.
Gene is one factor that cannot be altered when the issue of weight gain is concerned. Scientific research has shown that genetics plays a role in obesity. Genes can directly cause obesity in rare genetic disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.
Bardet-Biedl syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects the brain and can cause multiple physical problems including a deterioration of the intellect and neurological functions. One of the symptoms of this syndrome is weight gain. Prader-Willi syndrome is another complex genetic condition that is characterised by weak muscle tone feeding difficulties, poor growth, and delayed development. Affected individuals develop an insatiable appetite, which leads to chronic overeating and obesity. These two syndromes though rare will naturally cause a person to be overweight no matter the amount of dieting and skipping of meals.
The kind of friends one associates with can go a long way in making one gain weight. While it is not a bad thing to mingle with friends, sometimes, they may encourage or lure a person into eating the wrong kinds of food. In some cases they could tease or discourage one from enrolling in a gym or doing exercises to check or manage weight.
Life style contributes in no small measure to one of the factors that make controlling weight difficult. For instance, some people are so used to the comfort of driving to the nearby mall or market instead of taking a walk in order to reduce weight. Also, over dependence or reliance on labour-saving devices can also be a problem. It makes it difficult to engage in physical activity and to eat a healthy diet thereby making it hard to control weight.
Some prescription and non-prescription medications can cause problem for somebody who is trying to lose weight. Medications such as anti-depressants used to treat chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and a host of other ailments apart from depression can make it difficult to cut down excessive weight. One thing that most antidepressants have in common is their effect on weight. These medications alter the levels of brain neurotransmitters which, possibly, affect the motivation to eat.
Birth control pills are also known to cause weight gain, because the hormones in these pills cause water retention which can lead to an increase in weight, although the weight gain may not be due to body fat.
Prednisone is a steroid based medication that’s used to treat inflammation. Very short term use usually doesn’t lead to significant weight gain, but if it’s used for longer than a week, weight gain can occur. Studies have revealed that long-term stress is a major cause of weight gain and a key factor in the failure of many weight loss and diet plans.
Referred to as toxic weight by experts, when you are stressed, the body is flooded with stress hormones which stimulate the fat cells deep inside the abdomen to expand and encourage more fat storage. Simply put, these stress hormones react with a fight or flight response. Those little bursts of energy come from the release of stress hormones, say health researchers. Being in this state for a long period of time is considered chronic stress and the long-term effects of the stress hormones can affect weight and health, spoiling diet plans.
Stress level affects metabolism, which is a major factor in weight loss. Too much stress can slow it down and actually cause weight gain. People experiencing chronic stress are said to have powerful cravings for sugary foods and fatty or salty snacks, which is counter-productive to any weight loss or diet plan. This includes emotional eating as well because most people have their comfort foods.