Obesity is one of the most prevalent lifestyle disorders in the world. There are more than 2 billion adults who are overweight and 600 million obese adults worldwide. In fact, in America, 41.9% of people suffer from Obesity. Obesity and excess weight sound similar, but it’s not. Obesity means excessive weight gain that can lead to other health problems. BMI (Body Mass Index) higher than 30 means you are obese and a BMI greater than 25 means you have excess weight and are thus Overweight.
Reasons for weight gain
There are several reasons that make you gain weight intentionally or unintentionally. There are many factors that influence weight gain, but these are the ones that have a significant effect on the body:
- Stress: When you are stressed out for a long time, the body produces Cortisol – ‘the stress hormone’ to counter and control stress. This hormone also increases your appetite. That’s why, when you are stressed, you want to eat something and that helps pacify you.
- Not getting enough sleep: Not getting enough sleep or insomnia can make you hungry for a late-night snack. You can find yourself hungrier if you are working night shifts. Insomnia can lead to imbalances in the levels of cortisol and insulin hormones, which makes it hard to convert calories into energy rather it is stored as fat in the body, making you gain weight.
- Pregnancy: This is one of the main reasons for unwanted weight gain in females. During pregnancy, you get cravings and need to eat more fruits and vegetables to make sure your baby has a healthy weight and to support its growth. So, you gain weight as you eat a lot more than otherwise.
- Hormonal changes: This is also one of the factors that makes you gain weight unintentionally. Mostly this happens to women during menopause, as their estrogen levels decrease it can cause weight gain around their abdominal region and hips. Other than menopause, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) may also lead to unexpected weight gain. It can happen to men too due to hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and increased aldosterone production.
- Medications: Corticosteroids, antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, birth control pills, steroids, etc. are some medications that can lead to weight gain. And if you suffer from a chronic disease, you can’t skip the meds. So, to avoid weight gain and unnecessary complications ask the doctor if there is an alternative you can switch to.
- Quit smoking: When you quit smoking your body gains weight. It may be as little as 5lbs or more than 20lbs. Because without nicotine you feel hungrier, your metabolism decreases, food starts to taste better, and you might drink more alcohol, leading to excess weight gain.
- Diabetes: If you have diabetes, chances are that you gain weight because in diabetes you need to eat more to avoid lower blood sugar levels and you feel more tempted to eat more foods. And insulin keeps storing the extra calories as fats in the body. Talk to your doctor so that you can have a balanced diet, exercise, and medication so that you can manage your weight.
- Availability of Junk food: Junk foods are easily available at convenience stores, stalls, shops, etc., and by making them cheap and tasty people easily feel enticed to eat them rather than healthy fruits and vegetables. Advertisements by fast-food giants make these foods look great and delicious. People who cannot control their cravings start eating more, resulting in weight gain.
- Congestive Heart failure: In this condition, your heart does not pump hard enough. It can lead to a sudden weight gain of 2-3 pounds in a day or more than 5 pounds a week or worse. You can also experience swollen feet and ankles, a faster pulse, heavy breathing, high blood pressure, memory loss, and confusion. You should note these symptoms so that you can talk to the doctor and get the necessary treatment on time.
- Genetics: This is the most underrated factor, but it is one of the most significant reasons behind your weight gain. Your genes decide what kind of body structure and metabolism you have. Although it’s not the only factor in your weight gain, the influence of this factor cannot be ignored.
Symptoms of weight gain
The main symptom of obesity or excessive weight gain is that you see excessive swelling in your arms and legs and your body in general. Other symptoms are as follows:
- Skin sensitivity
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Heart palpitations
- Changes in vision
- Abdominal discomfort
- Excessive fat around the waist
- Snoring or having trouble sleeping
- Mood swings like depression, stress, anxiety, etc.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should visit a doctor, these might be signs of a serious underlying condition.
There are tips that you should follow to avoid weight gain and obesity, like:
- Have a regular workout routine. It makes you active and helps to utilize the extra calories as energy for the body.
- Consume less junk food. It may taste yummy but it’s bad for your health in the long run.
- Decrease your intake of processed sugars. It makes the insulin hormone resistant to high sugar levels. That can lead to diabetes.
- Avoid getting stressed and depressed. Do meditation and deep breathing techniques for a healthy mental health routine.
- Eat more fruit and vegetables. They have more fiber and are low in calories and give more energy and have less fat.
- Use GI (Glycemic Index) as a scale to measure how quickly a food raises your blood sugar levels. Always choose the low glycemic index to keep the blood sugar levels within range. That helps you to manage your weight.
- Talk to a dietitian or a nutritionist to get a balanced diet. So that you can maintain your weight and keep yourself healthy.
- Your weight gain is in your hands. You can decide what you want to eat or why. If you avoid certain foods, you can maintain a healthy weight. If you have gained a lot of weight already, don’t lose hope you can still make it back to your healthy self. There are treatments available like diet control and exercise. If that doesn’t work out for you, surgery is the option you can choose.
Want to know more about the prevention or treatment of Obesity? Call us at 347-868-1060 and talk to our bariatric experts.