Nobody likes to gain weight. When the waistband of your favourite jeans starts to feel a bit too tight or the weighing scale proves that you have gained a light despite your efforts to stay in shape, the frustration can be devastating. After all, you exercise regularly and you also have a balanced diet. So, where did you go wrong?
Nowhere. The ugly truth is that sometimes, despite all our efforts, we cannot prevent weight gain. A lot of people assume that healthy lifestyle choices are all it needs to stay lean and fit. But sometimes weight gain is nothing but a side effect; our bodies trying to tell us something isn’t all right by reacting to factors we can’t control. It could be hormonal, a medication side effect, or something else.
So let’s take a look at 6 health issues that could be the reason you cannot achieve your ideal weight—and also find out if they are fix-able.
The number factor, depression and anti-depressants related weight gain is more common than you and I would like to believe. Our competitive hectic lifestyle leads to stress and resentment, and this often results in dissatisfaction and discontentment. As is obvious, depression soon follows and can cause a person to gain up to 5-7 kg with continued gradual accumulation over the years. If you aren’t on medication, then too depression can be the culprit behind the weight gain. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people who feel sad and lonely gain weight more quickly than those who report fewer depression-related symptoms. Why? They are more susceptible to binge eating comfort foods and have lesser motivation to stick to their fitness plans.
So, how to fix it? If anti-depressants are the reason behind weight gain, talk to your doctor and discuss weaning off of the drugs. Or, you could discuss about alternative; medications with different salt components can react to weight gain/loss differently. And if your recent weight gain is adding to your woes, your psychologist will be more than happy to prescribe a different medication. If the culprit isn’t anti-depressants, you need to find a support group that gets you motivated to pay closer attention to your diet and exercise, while it is also a great way to get some social support which can help with the depression too. “Holistic ways to deal with the underlying feelings causing the depression is the only way to find a solution that doesn’t result in unexplainable weight gain. Its best to seek therapy and natural medication to treat the problem”, states Dr. Reema Vohra, a psychologist and homeopathic practitioner.
2. Side Effect of Medications
Many medicines state that weight gain is one of the side effects. Birth control pills, corticosteroids, pain killers, beta-blockers, hormonal therapy and medication for neuropathic pain can all result in undesirable weight gain. Even some migraine and heartburn medications can lead to increased appetite and hence weight gain.
So, how to fix it? If you suspect that your current medication could be the reason behind your recent unexplainable weight gain, the first thing to do is discuss the same with your doctor. He or she will be better able to tell you why this is happening – some may affect appetite; some may affect metabolism. If your medication is truly affecting your waistline, your doctor may be able to find an alternative treatment that won’t have that particular side effect.
3. Digestive Issues
Believe it or not, digestive problems can result in unwarranted weight gain. Slow gut could be the culprit here, along with a low fiber diet, low intake of water, low levels of healthy bacteria in your gut or even some kinds of medications.
So, how to fix it? If you often are constipated, you should try probiotics to help your digestive tract work properly. Staying hydrated is the key, along with a diet chock-full of fiber-rich foods. But you can also try drinking a fiber powder mixed with water. It may even grab fat globules in your intestinal tract as it scrubs out waste. If you’re still having trouble, check with your doctor to rule out a range of disorders, including hypothyroidism or a neurological issue.
4. Nutritional Deficiency
They say your diet should always be balanced and healthy. But many crash diets are anything but that. And as a result, your body could be dealing with deficiency of certain nutrients that are a must for a healthy metabolism. Being low in vitamin D, magnesium, or iron can compromise your immune system, sap your energy levels, or alter your metabolism in ways that make it harder to take healthy-lifestyle steps. You could feel low on energy and find yourself craving for caffeine, sweets, and simple carbs. Or find that you feel too run down or weak to exercise.
So, how to fix it? First and foremost, check with a doctor if you are dealing with nutritional deficiencies. If so, try supplements and a diet rich in natural vitamins and minerals. You can try to boost your iron levels by eating red meat and spinach and increase magnesium by adding Brazil nuts or almonds to your diet. It’s important to know that it could take awhile to find your right dose of vitamin D as it’s nearly impossible to consume enough milk or get enough sunlight to compensate for low vitamin D. If you take too much, you can get kidney stones. You need to have your blood tested every three months, so your doctor can make adjustments to the dose for you. Adding an iron supplement is a little less tricky—but it’s still wise to let your doctor rule out hypothyroidism or other conditions that might cause insulin resistance, and thus weight gain, before you start taking supplements.
5. The Process of Aging
Now you cannot help growing older. And as we all know, with age comes a sluggish metabolism. We don’t burn as many calories at 40 or 50 as we used to burn at 20. So the only way to lose that weight is to get more exercise and less high calorie food to keep metabolism going. Some studies show that exercise might be even more important than the diet for long-term weight maintenance.
So, how to fix it? When it comes to weight, not all calories are equal. If your metabolism is slowing down as a result of aging, you need to concentrate on not only how much you eat, but also what you eat. Eating lean protein will cause your body to burn calories more efficiently. On the other hand, carbs are something your body tends to burn more slowly and even store more readily. Choosing low-fat proteins and reducing carbs are good ways to help avoid unnecessary pounds. When working out, try to add some weight training to your fitness routine (at least twice a week) as aging also results in muscle loss, which can increase weight gain. Cardio and strength training must work hand-in-hand to help you out here; preventing muscle loss will keep your metabolism higher and help you stay in shape.
6. Undiagnosed Diseases
Certain diseases and disorders can result in weight gain beyond your control. More often than not, an underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism) is the main culprit behind that unexplained weight gain. It could also be hormonal imbalances and blood sugar imbalances which are to blame. Many musculoskeletal conditions, including plantar fasciitis, but also osteoarthritis and knee or hip pain, can result in unintentional weight gain. For example: Plantar fasciitis certainly can force you to cut back on your activity enough to cause weight gain. Weight gain accompanied by high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and changes in your skin tone and quality, including purple or silvery stretch marks on your abdomen and ruddy cheeks, could be a sign that your body isn’t processing nutrients the way it should, due to a cortisol-producing tumor on one of your adrenal glands. The syndrome affects only about 15 in every million adults annually, and is called Cushing’s Syndrome.
So, how to fix it? If you suspect you are gaining weight which can’t be attributed to your eating habits, medications, or lack of exercise, see a doctor to find out the underlying cause. A few tests—including a blood test and urinalysis, to get an accurate check will give your doctor the first clues to any undiagnosed medical condition. The following treatment should bring relief to some extent. Modify your exercise program to ensure that you can get some physical activity despite the disease. For example, if you have musculoskeletal disorders, swap biking or swimming in place of weight-bearing exercise. Talk to an expert who can design an appropriate program for your specific needs.
So, now you know that weight gain isn’t always a result of poor lifestyle choices. If you are health conscious and flexible enough to alter your diet and fitness routine to counter the above mentioned issues, there is no reason why you cannot shed that weight to be your ideal weight once more!
However, another probable cause can be lack of sleep. Read more: Could Lack Of Sleep Be The Real Reason You are Gaining Weight