Understanding Weight Gain
With just over 60 percent of the American adult population struggling with being overweight and 34.9 percent suffering from obesity, weight gain is a topic of constant discussion and concern. For many people, the struggle with weight gain starts at a young age. Those who struggle with weight gain as children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Understanding the causes of weight gain, and learning how to manage your weight through healthy lifestyle habits can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight long-term.
What Causes Weight Gain?
Weight gain can happen to almost anyone. Physiologically, weight gain occurs when we accumulate more calories through our diet than we are capable of burning off through activity. The process of gaining weight is typically gradual, and may not be noticeable at first.
As we age, our metabolism tends to slow down. If we continue eating the same amount of food as we did when we were younger, our weight increases by between one to two pounds each year. Add to this our tendency to decrease activity as we age and move into more sedentary jobs, the end result is a gradual process of weight gain as we get older.
Factors that contribute to weight gain include:
- Environment: Being around other people who live unhealthy lifestyles, are inactive and follow a poor diet can contribute to weight gain.
- Genetics: Children born to parents who are obese are more likely to become obese as adults.
- Health: Certain physical and mental health conditions can make someone more susceptible to weight gain.
- Age: Hormonal changes and decreased energy levels with age sometimes contribute to weight gain.
- Medications: Many medications have the unwanted side effect of weight gain.
In addition to these primary factors, aspects of your lifestyle may be influencing your weight level. These lifestyle factors include:
- Your sleeping habits
- Working conditions (such as having a desk job that requires minimal activity)
- Following a diet high in fat and sugar
Controlling Weight Gain
Controlling your weight gain can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Eating a healthy and balanced diet while sticking to a daily schedule of physical activity can help. Weight loss surgery, such as gastric band, is another option and helps to limit stomach capacity, lowering food intake. Daily activity and exercise is still recommended, post-surgery, in order to get the best results. Even simpler options like mindful eating habits, staying hydrated and practicing proper posture can add up and be key to controlling weight gain.