Why Am I Gaining Weight? The Top Ten Reasons for Weight Gain
Seemingly unexplainable weight gain can be a frustrating experience for women who seek to lose weight in order to maintain or improve their good health. Weight gain can lead to serious health problems, such as being overweight, which in turn is associated with heart disease and stroke - both of which are among the leading killers of women. But what are the main causes behind weight gain, and what guidelines can women who are unsure as to why they’re gaining weight follow in order to establish a healthy weight loss program? Our top ten causes of unexplained weight gain has the answers you’ve been looking for.
Top Ten Causes of Weight Gain
- Diet. The quality of your diet plays a major factor in weight gain. If your diet consists of a high intake of calories, particularly from fast foods that are high in fat, as well as drinks which have a high caloric count. Instead, you should limit your intake of these foods, and consume a healthy diet that contains many fruits and vegetables, whole grains as well as lean meats, such as chicken or turkey. Also, be sure to read nutrition labels carefully.
- Physical inactivity. When weight loss is your goal, exercise is a key element in improving your health. Women who are inactive are more likely than those who exercise regularly to carry excess body fat. Physical fitness can not only help to prevent becoming overweight, but it also reduces your risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease. Physical exercise does not have to be difficult and can be easily incorporated into your everyday life; for example, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, or use an exercise bike while watching TV. If you’re a little more active, try a dance class such as ballet or salsa, which will help not only help to prevent weight gain but also teach you a new and exciting skill.
- Genetics. A woman’s risk of developing obesity increases if either one or both of her parents are obese. In addition, genetics affects an individual’s appetite, as well as the amount of fat and muscle that comprise her body. Genetics can also affect a person’s basal metabolic rate, and the amount of calories a person’s body burns while in an inactive state.
- Age. Weight gain is a natural part of the aging process for women, as well as men; this is because as we age, we lose muscle which is converted to fat. This increase in fat deposition is in turn linked to an increased risk of what are known as metabolic diseases, such as type II diabetes and hypertension. Aging also leads to a decline in metabolism, which leads to an increased likelihood of a woman gaining weight.
- Gender. There is a link between gender and weight gain. Women use less calories daily than men do, making weight gain a greater problem for women. Also, women biologically have a higher average body fat content compared with men. A healthy woman of normal weight has a body fat content of 25% while a healthy man of normal weight has a body fat content of 15%.
- Psychological Factors. Weight gain is often linked to emotional problems; many women are emotional eaters, meaning that they overeat during periods in their life when they are experiencing stress or depression.
- Pregnancy. During pregnancy, it is essential to gain weight in order to provide enough nourishment for your growing baby. Therefore, it is natural and healthy to gain weight while pregnant. Even women who are overweight or underweight should gain weight during pregnancy; overweight women should gain at least 15 pounds while pregnant, while underweight women should gain on average 10 to 15 pounds more than the 25 to 35 pounds prescribed for the normal weight women, depending on how underweight they are.
- Medications. Often a little known fact, certain types of medication can lead to unexplained weight gain in women. Such medications which can it make it difficult to lose weight include antidepressants and corticosteroids, which often result in weight gain. Also, studies have found that birth control pills lead to an average weight increase of 5 pounds due to increased fluid retention.
- Illness. Disease and illness can result in weight gain, because they often hinder the individual’s ability to exercise on a regular basis.
- Quitting Smoking. Smokers may gain up to 8 pounds after quitting. However, the health benefits of quitting smoking, such as improved respiratory and lung health, far outweigh this weight gain. In order to keep your mind of smoking, drink plenty of fluids, making sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol, and keep healthy snacks at hand, such as unbuttered popcorn, carrot sticks and fresh fruit.