Weight gain is the main issue in today’s society. Hundreds of millions of people complain about it every day but many of them do not seem to find a proper way out of it. Extra pounds affect people both on the inside and out. They can trigger the occurrence of anxiety and depression. Some issues related to weight gain may appear as superficial. Not fitting in the favorite pair of jeans anymore does not sound like much of a problem. Even so, this minor factor is a sign of weight gain.

It is an unpleasant problem that needs to be solved in time otherwise there exists the risk of developing more severe medical conditions. In most cases, if not dealt with at the right moment, weight gain can lead to obesity and, even worse, diabetes and cancer.

Luckily, there are many ways in which one can improve his health and lose weight. There are many pieces of advice in this regard, some more trustable and applicable than others. Nonetheless, if one suffers from obesity, it is for the best to leave aside tips found on the internet and seek a specialist’s advice. The patient will be able to lose pounds efficiently and avoid further complications if he chooses to establish a proper dietary plan together with a nutritionist

Overview on Weight Gain

Weight gain is an increase in body weight. People acknowledge the phenomenon as an increase in fat deposits, but weight gain is somehow more complicated than just that. It can also mean additional muscle mass or excess fluids, water in particular. Obesity occurs when there is an accumulation of body fat. In most cases, weight gain due to fat is the onset of obesity and also strongly related to other medical issues that affect the inner organs.

Weight gain happens gradually and depends on a variety of factors that affect it in time and not immediately. Calories are regarded as the primary culprit. Still, what most people fail to notice is that calories affect the body weight only if one excessively consumes foods rich in simple carbohydrates or saturated fats that contain more calories than the body needs. The extra calories are stored as fat deposits that the body uses every time it needs energy whenever it is not available from other sources such as glucose. Food plays a significant role in the weight gain process. Often times, people cannot help themselves and eat more than they need. The body cannot handle the food fast enough to avoid fat deposit occurrence. The following are some of the reasons why people gain weight. Not all are related to food.[1]

  1. Water retention

Oedema, commonly known as fluid retention, does not increase body weight by means of calorie accumulation, as water is calorie-free. The impact it has on the body is easily noticeable. Every time the body retains water, certain body parts become swollen. The fluid usually accumulates in the ankles area or the stomach, especially in the case of women during their periods. Weight gain is a minor consequence of fluid retention and hides more complicated issues such as heart or kidney problems. There are some ways in which one can reduce the water retention symptoms:

  • Cut down the salt consumption
  • Regular exercise
  • Daily movement if one works in an environment that requires him to stand still for extended periods
  • Avoid extreme temperatures, high ones in particular
  1. Stress

Many times, people complain that they have either gained or lost weight following exposure to stressful situations. The individuals are different from one another. These differences trigger various responses to depression and anxiety. Depression, in particular, is responsible for weight gain. When suffering from it, most people cease to pay attention to their outer appearance and find solace in food. This, combined with an absence of physical movement leads to weight gain. Moreover, the human being is constantly aware of his position in society and its connection to a beautiful body aspect. The weight gain can make one even more depressed which can, in turn, cause more extra pounds.

There are also individuals who link their emotional stability to various foods. Specialists advise people to find some distraction when they feel the necessary need to eat when the stomach is already full. Physical exercise, new hobbies or one’s friends are the best picks. One should address an expert if he finds it difficult to cope with high emotions.

  1. Tiredness

Studies suggest that tired people are more prone to gain weight than people who rest well and sleep sufficiently during the night. Experts state that this is the consequence of a chemical imbalance at the nervous system level. More research projects are to be conducted in order to reach a final conclusion. Still, up until the present moment, there has been developed a theory according to which sleep-deprived people have reduced leptin levels. Leptin is a chemical compound that sends the brain information in regards to stomach’s fullness.

Individuals who are always tired register lower leptin levels and feel a need to consume more food than needed. In addition, a lack of sleep influences the ghrelin quantity( the hunger-stimulating hormone) by increasing it and the urge to eat at the same time. People who sleep less and feel tired because of it are more likely to consume fast food or beverages packed with sugar as a means to compensate for the low energy levels.

  1. Ageing

People usually become less active as they grow older. At the same time, they lose muscles that are very efficient calorie burners in young people. Muscles require more energy than most organs. A decrease in muscle mass automatically means fewer calories burnt. Muscles constitute a significant part of the body’s structure so when they become inefficient the body remains with extra calories. They are turned into fat deposits, unless there is some kind of physical activity that requires the energy they produce. Age should not stop one from exercising and doing any type of activity that puts the muscles to good use.

  1. Underactive thyroid

The thyroid hormones are essential in regulating the metabolism which plays a huge role in body weight maintenance. Thyroid, like any other organ, is sensitive to certain factors that can affect it and cause an imbalance at the thyroid hormone levels. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland cannot produce enough hormones as to stimulate the metabolism. Weight gain is the natural result of a slowed down metabolism. Hypothyroidism does not depend on sex or age. Men and women alike can suffer from it. Still, women are more prone to its influence.

Other factors that affect the body weight are insufficient physical activity, high salt amounts in the foods one usually eat, time of the day when the meal is consumed and even the country of origin. It is best to address weight gain in its early stages as there are higher chances to lose the extra pounds more quickly.[2]

Weight loss tips

Every person that has gained even four pounds will want to lose them as fast as possible. Patients suffering from obesity are required to do so in order to avoid further complications. In this situation, it is advisable to consult a doctor and follow a treatment in accordance with the patient’s health status and medical problems. Most of the tips and advice to lose weight that one finds on the internet, in magazine or specialty books can be safely used by every healthy individual who wants to go back to a normal body weight. Here are some of the easiest ways to lose fat without a nutritionist’s help.[3]

  1. Reduce sugar intake

Sweets are a major concern in regards to weight gain both in children and adults. The sugar found in their composition plays a significant role in this process, and many consumers are aware of its adverse effects. Unfortunately, only a few of them decide to cut back on sugar and choose healthier alternatives. What makes sugar so damaging to the body? The answer is simple. Sugars are simple carbohydrates. What is particularly striking about simple carbs is that the body directly absorbs them.

There is no need to break them down because their structure is so simple they do not need complex processes in order to be digested. Once they enter the bloodstream, and they do so right after being ingested, they provide the body with immediate energy. In most cases, there is a simple carbohydrate excessive consumption which means they contain more energy than the body needs following their use. The extra energy is stored as fat deposits. The body uses the fat-based energy when its other sources are depleted.

A decreased sugar and carbohydrate intake can work wonders on one’s body weight. When there are no extra calories, there is nothing to be stored either so the body does not gain weight anymore. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grain products are a healthier alternative to simple carbs. They take longer to be broken down and provide energy for extended periods. This way, the stomach feels full for more than usual, so there is no desire to eat again soon.

  1. Eat more proteins

Nutritionists state that a healthy diet is comprised of all macronutrients, namely the proteins, carbohydrates and fats, equally distributed during each meal. It is easily understandable how this simple action can reduce both the sugar and fat intake as not to consume more from a group and leave the other two aside. Of all macronutrients, proteins seem to be the most beneficial for body weight maintenance. This is not only because the muscles that are important energy consumers use proteins as a fuel. Proteins also boost metabolism and encourage fat burn. Also, a diet rich in proteins makes one feel full especially when the compounds are animal-based.

Plant based proteins are just as efficient as meat or cheese and many people associate them with a positive image. A diet comprised of vitamins, minerals and fibers leads to weight loss. Combining these nutrients with proteins can prove to be viable not only in the weight loss process but also as a way to prevent extra pounds occurrence in the future.

  1. Drink more water

Water is beneficial for the body in general and not only when it faces weight gain. Many of the beverages ones consume daily are packed with sugar, additives and more often than not they leave people thirstier than they were before drinking them. This leads to a desire to consume even more. Water is to energy drinks what complex carbohydrates are the simple ones: a healthier alternative that benefits both the body and mind.

Water has zero calories and little to no sodium so one can drink it at any time. There is a belief that regular water consumption is related to fluid retention. Still, by increasing the water amount, one helps the body flush out excess weight the retention caused. Water is also efficient in boosting the metabolism. People usually mix it with lemon when they try to lose weight. The resulting liquid has various health benefits aside from supporting a healthy body weight. Some of them include toxin removal, a better bowel movement and easier feces evacuation.

  1. Drink green tea

Green tea is actually marvelous In terms of health-related benefits. It has high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and numerous research projects suggested that it plays an active role in decreasing the risk of cancer. Many nutritionists regard it as the healthiest beverage known to man. Studies show that, aside from its action on the cancer cells, green tea is great for boosting the metabolism. An increased metabolic rate is synonymous with fat burning and weight loss. It is understandable why more and more people have included it in their daily rituals.

The America Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study on the green tea’s manner of action. The specialists stated that green tea contains essential bioactive substances known as catechins. The compounds act directly on the metabolism-speeding brain chemical known as norepinephrine. Green tea extract was used in many of the experiments. Even so, green tea is just as efficient. Japan, one of its primary consumers, has extremely low obesity rates.[4]

  1. Eat foods rich in iron

Iron is an essential mineral for the blood’s structure. Without it, the oxygenation process cannot occur naturally, and this can lead to numerous complications. The body cannot get enough oxygen to the cells if there is an absence of this mineral, which means the metabolic rate is sure to slow down as a consequence. Iron is essential for the muscles as well. Lean, strong muscles are more efficient when one wants to lose weight as they require more energy. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives if one needs to increase the iron intake. Red meat, poultry, cereals or leafy vegetables are the most popular foods rich in iron that nutritionists recommend. People can find iron supplements in drug stores if they consider them more practical or productive.

  1. Avoid alcohol

Water is the best choice in terms of liquids whenever people want to lose extra weight. There are situations when one does not find water appropriate to be consumed together with certain foods so he turns to alcohol instead. Alcohol is one of the worst choices in terms of beverages. It contains certain compounds that affect the central nervous system. What they do is slow it down, so it has delayed responses to even the simplest tasks. By doing so, alcohol also slows down the metabolism. This makes it extremely damaging for the body weight especially when consumed with foods rich in carbohydrates or fats. A British study conducted on the subject of alcohol’s impact on weight gain showed how the beverage increased the risk of fat storage when it was added to a high-calorie meal. Less alcohol means a healthy body weight.

  1. Do cardio for at least thirty minutes a day

Any kind of activity that can increase the heart rate is beneficial in the process of weight loss. But why is it compulsory to do it for more than thirty minutes in a row, as specialist suggest? Physical exercise is best when performed for at least a half an hour because it heats up the muscles. They are more receptive to amino-acids, the building blocks of proteins, and become stronger. Lean and resistant muscles lead to a more efficient weight loss process so it is crucial that a workout, be it cardio or any other type, lasts for more than thirty minutes. The more muscles it involves, the more efficient a physical exercise is. Cardio exercises are good for weight loss because they include all muscles. Various trainers state that a cardio routine is a solution if one wants to burn as many calories as possible. Cardio kickboxing and boot-camo workouts are the most practical ones. The routine can be even better if it incorporates interval training. This means short cardio exercises high in intensity should alternate with slower activity.

  1. Yoga

Yoga is another type of exercise that involves both the body and mind. More appreciated by easterners, mainly because it is native to India, yoga has become increasingly more popular in the western society as well. People taking classes have confessed that yoga positions can sometimes be as intense as a cardio workout. One of the reasons may be that certain yoga exercises require extended periods to be correctly performed. Yoga is good for the mind as well as it induces a state of relaxation. Studies show that when the individual finds himself in a stressful situation, the body releases cortisol. The hormone slows down the metabolism and increases the appetite. People feel the need to eat when faced with stress. The downside of it is that the body can no longer efficiently use the calories so it stores them as fat. Yoga is successful in removing stress from one’s life even if it is just for a session. Frequent yoga practice leads to a positive mindset and helps the body remain in shape.

  1. Get more sleep

Tiredness as the result of insufficient sleep is one of the weight gain causes. Research projects indicate that sleep-deprived people register lower leptin and higher ghrelin levels. Leptin informs the brain that the stomach is full, while ghrelin accentuates the need to eat more. The imbalance that occurs is expected to lead to extra pounds. In addition, less sleep is related to a sensation of little energy so people are inclined to eat more s to compensate for it. Experts affirm that even thirty more minutes added to the usual sleep period induces a feeling of restfulness. More sleep also means a better metabolism.

  1. Eat breakfast daily

Nutritionists state that breakfast plays a significant role in the weight loss process. Studies show that about 80% of the people who eat breakfast every day are less prone to weight gain. The metabolism slows down during the night and needs a boost to start all over again the next day. High fiber cereals with milk are usually the best choice. Fresh or dried fruits can be added for a sweeter taste.[5][6]

The following are other ways to lose weight healthily and safely:

  • Be in motion most of the time: walk, stretch, move
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables as they are lower in calories than most foods
  • Increase the vitamin C intake by including lemon, tangerines or oranges in the diet; vitamin C increase the metabolic rate and helps the body burn fat faster
  • Add spices to everyday meals because they contain metabolism boosting compounds

Weight gain is unfortunately not something uncommon, many people experience its effects but seem unable to do something and solve the problem. Weight gain does not influence only people’s opinion on an overweight person but also the individual’s perception of himself. Even so, there are many ways to lose weight and regain mental stability. Most of them are safe and efficient for everyone to try. Nonetheless, it is for the best to seek a specialist’s advice, if one suffers from certain medical conditions. Weight gain is an entirely reversible process and can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and an optimistic attitude.

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