Tag Archives: Overweight

Weight Gain OH! Not Again

weightHave you ever stood in front of a mirror and said Why ME? I don’t even eat sweets…. Well…sweets are not the only culprit which change your hour glass shape to a spherical one. Knowing the causes of weight gain might help you in coping with it…

No one likes the needle of the weighing scale to inch up on a regular basis. But it does for most of us. Biggest culprit is the way we live our lives – Our lifestyle. Changes in life style due to rapid urbanization have contributed to the rise in weight gain. Significant lifestyle changes such as desk jobs, an increase in the number of hours devoted to television viewing, inclusion of convenience foods, frequent eating out are some of the factors which can be accounted for the bulging waistline.

Is urbanization the sole offender? Before you start blaming India Shining let’s take a look at our genes. Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic cause. It is believed that obesity is a hereditary condition.  Most researchers put forward an argument that family members tend to share similar lifestyles and diets that may contribute to obesity. But numerous studies have refuted environment / lifestyle as the only cause. In one such study done by Department of Psychiatry, Philadelphia twins who were brought up apart were studied and it was concluded that their BMI were closer to each other. In this case, the person’s genetic makeup had more influence on development of obesity than environment in the adoptive family home.

Weight gain can also be as a result of energy imbalance where energy intake has been more than the energy use over a period of many years. This involves consuming excess calories than required or not using the ingested calories by doing physical activity. Physical activity plays a key role in energy balance because it uses up calories consumed.

Apart from these, psychological factors may also influence eating habits. Some people tend to overindulge in food, as a response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness or anger. They may also overeat as a way of dealing with stress or depression.

Some rare illnesses can cause gain in weight. These include hypothyroidism (diminished activity of thyroid gland), Cushing’s syndrome and certain neurological problems that can lead to overeating. Certain drugs such as steroids and antidepressants may also lead to weight gain.

Though comparatively lesser in proportion Eating Disorders like binge eating, night eating syndrome have also been mentioned as a cause of weight gain. It takes a combination of things to develop eating disorder — including a person’s genes, emotions and experience. Biological abnormalities can contribute to binge eating. For example, the hypothalamus (the hunger centre of brain) may not be sending correct messages about hunger and fullness. Depression and eating disorders are strongly linked. Low self-esteem, loneliness, and body dissatisfaction may also contribute to eating disorders.

Binge eating is characterized by compulsive overeating in which people consume huge amounts of food while feeling out of control to stop. Binge eaters often eat even when they are not hungry.  Those suffering with night eating syndrome consume more than half of their daily calories in the latter half of the day and even arise from sleep to eat.  These disorders are completely treatable with psychological help and motivation.

Now, maybe, you would have found out why that devilish needle is going up all the time. No… Not a problem. For those who have still not been able to decipher the reason of weight gain can blame it on their slow BMR. (Read more on BMR in subsequent write ups)

Image Courtesy: Akarakingdoms


Weight loss Quick Fixes

It is rightly said that there are no short cuts to weight loss. But certain tips can come handy in losing weight as well as crossing the dreaded weight plateau. Do try these and share your experiences….

Eat Slowly: Stretch your meals to, at least, 20 minutes or longer. Our stomach, mouth and brain are all connected and it takes 20 minutes of eating before the stomach signals our brain that I am done. If you tend to eat very fast try to concentrate on chewing; it will help you in slowing down.

Water: Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is important for our health and it will also help in losing weight. Water is necessary for the metabolism of your stored fat. Also, we sometimes perceive thirst as hunger. So whenever you feel hungry have a glass of water, wait for 5 minutes….still hungry, grab a fruit or a munchy salad.

Add herbs and spices: Some of us feel that cutting down on fat can rob the food of its taste. Add the flavor back with herbs and spices like vinegar, garlic, cilantro, thyme, asparagus, etc. Experiment with different herbs and spices until you get the flavour right.

Increase your intake of fiber rich foods. They will help fill you up faster and for longer time. Fiber also helps in lowering the glycemic index of foods.

Never skip a meal, especially breakfast. The first meal of the day starts our metabolism, it then speeds up for about eight hours and then starts slowing down. If you skip breakfast the metabolism will not speeden until lunch time. Doing this you miss out on 3-4 hours of fat burning time.

Metabolism also slows down whenever hunger sets in. Stay full with healthy, nonfattening foods and your metabolism will continue to burn the stored fat as fast as your body will allow.

Exercise is probably the most important key to increasing your metabolism and burning off excess fat. Research shows that you burn more stored fat for energy when you do aerobic exercises on an empty stomach than on a full stomach. Research also shows that you burn more stored fat when you exercise late in the day rather than in the morning. Thus, the best time to exercise to lose weight by burning your stored fat is in the late afternoon/early evening before dinner. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise in the evening will not only burn stored fat but it will also increase your metabolism.

Be positive: The more positive your self-esteem, the better you feel about yourself, the faster and easier it will be for you to lose weight. Negative emotions will also interfere with your weight loss program. It is difficult to stay motivated to lose weight when you feel bad. Overeating often accompanies negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, fear, guilt and anger. If this is true for you, begin a stress management program including some exercise and relaxation exercises.

It is bad being at the wrong side of your weighing scale…. trying not to be at the right side is worse even. So keep trying and you will definitely reach your goal.