A healthy diet along with regular exercise should provide everything necessary to lose weight, but people often do things to support weight gain without even knowing it. Here are 6 surprising things that contribute to weight gain that you might be doing without realizing the consequences.
1. Food Allergies. Food allergies can lead to inflammation which can cause swelling and fluid retention. Many people who suffer from chronic weight problems have food allergies that they just aren’t aware of. If you think you may be one of these people, try eliminating common foods that trigger allergies like dairy, eggs, and gluten and see if you notice a difference from when you started.
2. Stress and Anxiety. Stress is the cause of a variety of health problems in the body. Not only does anxiety leave you reaching for comfort foods and low on energy, it also increases the production of a hormone called cortisol, which is linked to increased belly fat storage. When you are under stress, especially for long periods of time, your body triggers cortisol to release stored sugar from the liver and muscles into your blood. This leads to an increase in insulin levels, which inhibits fat burning and tells your body to store up that fat for later.
3. Not Enough Sleep. During routine sleep, your body does not only gets the rest it needs to functioning properly the next day, but it also balances important hormones involved in the regulation of mood, appetite, and metabolism. Try to get between seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Studies have shown that lack of sleep hinders the production of hormones in the body, resulting in a slower metabolic rate.
4. Environmental Contaminants and Toxins. Pollution may have more of an impact on your metabolism than you think. Recent studies published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition and the International Journal of Obesity have shown that chemicals commonly found in plastic (bisphenol A and others) may be associated with obesity because they interfere with hormone signaling. Pesticides that get into your diet may also affect hormone synthesis and metabolic rate. Check your environment for PVC plastic wrap, BPA-lined cans, and PBA-containing bottles and get rid of anything that is made with those compounds.
5. Medications. Some prescription, or even natural dietary supplements taken to control symptoms associated with depression, diabetes, and pregnancy can cause weight gain. Certain drugs that work as beta-blockers have been linked to weight gain as well as some birth control pills.
6. Diet Soda. Ever hear this one? I’ll take a Big Mac, large fries and a Diet Coke. Um…don’t bother trying to use diet soda to save calories. In the long run, these soft drinks do more harm to your waistline than good. Several studies have shown that people who drink diet soda have a greater chance of becoming obese. Why? Because diet soda triggers a response in the body that leaves you with a sweet tooth, cravings, and the need to take in more calories. Plus, the artificial sweeteners have been shown to have a negative effect on metabolic rate! Skip the diet soda and have iced tea, or water with a little fruit for a touch of sugar.