The Major Causes of Weight Gain
We eat more calories than our body needs in a day, so the excess gets stored as fat. Our human bodies are designed in such a way that when in times it was harder to get food, our bodies could be prepared by having stored extra calories in times of plenty in the form of fat. Now, with the ease with which we get food, a lot of people tend to overeat. This is a severe problem that causes a huge number of people to become overweight or obese.
Genetics play a factor as well by setting basic parameters on the metabolic efficiency of your body. We find that many times, people who are overweight actually have very efficient metabolisms – meaning that their body needs less calories per day than others to operate and they store the excess calories as fat. Also, you have a greater risk of being obese if one of your parents are obese – and an even greater risk if both parents are obese.
Your metabolic rate. Besides genetics, your metabolic rate depends on how active you are. It is said that every ten years past our mid-twenties we lose about 10% of our metabolic rate. This probably does not have to do completely with age, however, but instead with how active we are. The more active we are, the more muscle mass we can retain (or even build), and in turn the more fit we are because muscle tissue is metabolically active, whereas fat is not. On the other hand, if we lead a basically sedentary life, we are much more likely to be able to gain weight as we lose muscle mass.
Eating patterns. Peoples eating habits make a huge difference in determining their weight. When foods high in fat or sugars are favored, this of course can cause a lot of weight gain. Also, how you serve the food. For example, do you put the portions on everyones plate or do you bring it all to the table and serve it family style, where everyone can take as much as they want?
Portion size is one of the main reasons people eat too much. Also, how have you learned to eat? If you are a fast eater, you may not even realize the cues your stomach gives you, indicating that it is full.
Larger portion sizes. Over time, larger portions of food have become the norm, especially at many restaurants. Weight has also gone up because of this.
Exercise or the lack thereof. Exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle and to maintaining a healthy weight. When you exercise, especially when you include strength training in your workouts, you gain muscle mass and raise your metabolism and in turn the muscle helps to burn more fat. In turn, you will weigh less and you will look leaner and firmer because muscle takes up less space than fat. Plus, strength training helps reduce the risk of accidental injury, improves your bone density, helps with digestion and helps in lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
As you can see, even if your genes make it easier to gain weight than other people, diet and exercise are the two main factors that affect your health and weight. Regular exercise is essential to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight and so is what you eat, how you eat and how much you eat.
Learn portion control. This is usually a huge factor for most people because they do not realize how much they are actually eating. A portion of food the size of your fist is generally all that should be eaten at one time, because that is the size of your stomach as well.
Eating several small meals a day, rather than two or three big ones, will help you to be able to eat less and also not be hungry in the early days of forming this habit. Another vitally important thing is to never skip breakfast, because this sets up your metabolism for the day. If you do not eat breakfast, your body will go into defense mode and store more fat because it will think you are starving.
Try slowing down your eating as well if you have the habit of eating fast. This way you can feel the signals from your stomach when you have had enough, before you stuff yourself full. When you have done that, you know for sure you have eaten too much. In reality, on a scale of 1 to 10 being the fullest, we should feel right in the middle, around a 5) when were finished eating. It takes some practice, but you can learn this trick and you will feel so much better knowing you did not stuff yourself to the maximum capacity.
Another thing to watch of course is your intake of fatty and sugary foods. We all need nutrients, including healthy fats, to keep us balanced. But eating a lot of junk food and sugary drinks will attribute greatly to us gaining more weight. Processed foods do not generally have a lot of nutrients in them, or any at all, and they are high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
In todays busy lifestyles, we may not realize how often we are eating these foods. If you are one who is always ordering take out for work, or going out to dinner as well, this is not going to keep you healthy because you do not have the control as to what is being put in your food (except special ordering at a restaurant) and it is much harder to make sure you are eating the right kinds of things and getting all of your nutrients. Going out to eat is fine every once in a while, but be sensible in what you are choosing. And you do not have to clear your plate of the large servings you will most likely be given.
Should I Go On A Diet?
When most people think of losing weight, they think of going on a diet. Many times this means finding some fad diet thats popular at the current time, and trying to follow all of its crazy rules and recipes, like lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. But honestly, who enjoys these things? Do you like cutting out entire food groups such as carbohydrates or drinking crazy concoctions that simply do not taste very good and do not fill you up?
Its doubtful that anyone does. Yes, there are other diet plans out there that have a lot of merit to them. And if a diet is the way you want to go, then researching the different ones out there is very advisable so that you can find a reasonable, sensible diet plan that is not going to harm you or make you go crazy with hunger, causing you to fail in the end anyway.