Sometimes, the simple mantra of ‘eat right and work out’ just doesn’t work when it comes to losing weight. In such cases, it is worth delving deeper and exploring other causes. Our weight is carefully regulated by hormones, our activity levels and what we eat, so we need to pay special attention to our metabolism.
Some people are naturally prone to gaining weight. For such individuals, a standard diet and exercise plan is just not enough. Here are five reasons beyond exercise and diet that explain why you’re having trouble losing weight.
1. Thyroid Dysfunction
When people approach doctors with weight gain and obesity issues, this is the very first cause that is investigated. Hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism significantly and cause you to gain weight. The only way to control weight gain is to control hypothyroidism with the right diagnosis and medication.1
2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PCOS is dreaded by many women, not just due to the stubborn weight it makes you put on but also the numerous other side effects such as acne, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), and even infertility. In this condition, the ovaries develop cysts, and these extra masses produce more female hormones than the body actually needs.
Treatment is through medication and careful monitoring. Specific aerobic exercises can help once you begin treatment.2
A depressed individual may not even realize that they are eating more than usual, working out much lesser and generally feeling a level of disconnect with their life. In such cases, sudden weight gain is common. If you notice someone refusing to be outdoors more often, engaging in unhealthy eating patterns or gaining weight suddenly, it is worth your while to get them the help they need.
It is understood that the serotonin hormone that influences our mood is low in depressed people. Thus, they find no motivation to eat well or work out, two of the very basic tenets of our existence.3
Quite curiously, antidepressants can also cause weight gain, as an antipsychotic medication. In fact, any medicine that works on the hormone levels in the brain is shown to be associated with some amount of weight gain. This can be controlled by following a regular diet and exercise pattern, but if the weight gain is making you uncomfortable, you can discuss options with your doctor. Do not quit any medication without sound medical advice.4
Lastly, if you are gaining weight for no apparent reason, it is worth getting your sugar levels tested. Diabetes isn’t the most obvious conclusion we jump to with weight gain, especially in younger individuals, but it is becoming more prevalent thanks to our lifestyle. It is understood that weight gain in diabetes happens due to poor sugar regulation due to falling insulin levels.
As a result, more blood sugar is deposited as fats. Making a few changes to our habits can help treat the condition in its root.5
There are some other causes for weight gain such as stopping an intense activity suddenly, eating more during pregnancy or when being treated for a serious medical condition, and even depending more often on meals cooked in a commercial kitchen, however healthy they may seem. Sit down and evaluate all of these causes before trying to determine why you may be gaining weight.
|↑1||Ravussin, Eric, Stephen Lillioja, William C. Knowler, Laurent Christin, Daniel Freymond, William GH Abbott, Vicky Boyce, Barbara V. Howard, and Clifton Bogardus. “Reduced rate of energy expenditure as a risk factor for body-weight gain.” New England Journal of Medicine 318, no. 8 (1988): 467-472.|
|↑2||Teede, Helena J., Anju E. Joham, Eldho Paul, Lisa J. Moran, Deborah Loxton, Damien Jolley, and Catherine Lombard. “Longitudinal weight gain in women identified with polycystic ovary syndrome: results of an observational study in young women.” Obesity 21, no. 8 (2013): 1526-1532.|
|↑3||Wurtman, Judith J. “Depression and weight gain: the serotonin connection.” Journal of affective disorders 29, no. 2 (1993): 183-192.|
|↑4||Ball, M. Patricia, Vanessa B. Coons, and Robert W. Buchanan. “A program for treating olanzapine-related weight gain.” Psychiatric Services 52, no. 7 (2001): 967-969.|
|↑5||Russell‐Jones, David, and Rehman Khan. “Insulin‐associated weight gain in diabetes–causes, effects and coping strategies.” Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism 9, no. 6 (2007): 799-812.|