20 January 2009

Most of us know that weight gain is caused by food, fried foods, giant portions, decadent desserts, alcohol, sugary soft drinks and etc. And there's little question why the pounds pile up when you take in more calories than you burn in physical activity. Well, you must know that extra calories may not be the only cause of weight gain.
Here are five factors that can cause weight gain you may not expected:

1. Lack of Sleep
When you don't get enough sleep, your body experiences physiological stress and, biochemically, you store fat more efficiently.

When you're tired, you also don't handle stress as well, so you may reach for food as a coping mechanism. You may be taking in extra calories from late-night snacking. Some people think eating might help them get back to sleep, but all it really does is add more calories to their daily total.

Symptoms that you may not be getting enough rest include fatigue, low energy levels, nodding off easily and feeling irritable. Strive to get eight hours of sleep each night.

2. Stress
Stress affects our mood and emotions. Financial pressures, triggers a biochemical process where our bodies go into survival mode. Our bodies store fuel, slow down metabolism and dump out chemicals [cortisol, leptin and other hormones] which are more likely to cause obesity in the abdominal region. Many people reach for food to help ease the stress. But, of course, this doesn't work in the long run.

3. Medications
What are those medications :
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antiseizure medications
  • Diabetes medications
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Heartburn medications
  • Steroids
Some prescription drugs used to treat depression, mood disorders, seizures, migraines, blood pressure and diabetes can cause weight gain. Some steroids, hormone replacement therapy and even oral contraceptives may also cause gradual weight creep. Your medicine cabinet might be the cause of your weight gain if you've gained 5 or more pounds in a month without a change in your lifestyle.

In the case of antidepressants, weight gain may not even be related to the action of the drug feeling better can also result in a heartier appetite. Some drugs can cause fluid retention that shows up on the scale as weight gain, but is not fat, and is usually easily corrected.

4. Medical Condition
Hypothyroidism is the most common medical condition that causes weight gain is. A deficiency of thyroid hormone can decrease metabolism, causing appetite loss and weight gain. What is hypothyroidism.symptoms? feeling fatigued, lethargic, swelling, hoarse voice, intolerance to cold, sleeping too much or headaches.

Much rarer is a condition known as Cushing's syndrome a disorder caused by an excess of the hormone cortisol that can also result in weight gain.

5. Menopause
Women reach menopause at a range of ages, but most are in midlife and are often less physically active than when they were younger. Along with aging comes a natural slowing of metabolism. At the same time, hormonal changes can trigger hunger, depression, and poor sleep.

It is multifactoral. When women go through menopause, they lose estrogen, causing their shapes to changeusually a loss of hip and thigh weight. And they start to gain more in the middle. Estrogen favors fat deposition in the lower body, and when you lose this hormone, fat is more likely to be deposited in the midsection (much like men). This spare tire around the middle has been not so affectionately called the "menopot."

Exercise helps offset bone loss that can come with menopause. A combination of exercise and a healthy, calorie-controlled diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is the answer to thwarting menopausal weight gain.


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