Weight loss has been the hottest topic discussed ever and it still remains the most popular topic. It is overwhelming to know that more than 35.7% adults are overweight worldwide and about 6.3% of overweight persons are obese. Obesity and overweight are the main factors contributing to life-threatening disorders like blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, arthritis, fatty liver problems and much more. It goes without saying that overweight lowers one’s self esteem apart from causing various medical issues.
This article deals with the various factors that cause weight gain and the ways of treating weight loss medically and managing it through home remedies and life-style modifications. According to the data given by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive/Kidney diseases are obese and both men and women are equally obese worldwide. You may be surprised to know that one out of every 5 children below age 6 are obese and this occurs primarily due to wrong lifestyle and food habits.
Understand Obesity and Overweight :
A person having BMI (Body Mass Index) of more than 30 is considered to be obese. Excess volumes of body fat would be present in such people. A person having more body weight than his limits is considered to be overweight. Body weight can come from his bones, muscles or fat and in this case weight is equally distributed in the body. BMI of an overweight person would stand below 30.
Weight Loss Symptoms :
- It is easy to identify overweight by simply checking your BMI.
- Needless to say, that your trousers may not be fitting you as before if you have gained weight and you may need larger size.
- You would have bulging stomach and extra fat build-up around your waist.
- Further many people may have symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty in walking (due to arthritis) and sleeping problems due to overweight.
- And weight gain does not happen overnight but is a process that happens gradually.
Causes Of Overweight :
Various factors contribute for weight gain and let us discuss them in separate headings.
Medical Factors :
- Hypothyroidism – If the thyroid gland cannot produce enough hormones to check the metabolism you are said to have under-active thyroid or hypothyroidism. This disorder can occur in any age but is more common in aged women than men. Thyroid hormone normally secretes enough amounts of thyroid stimulating the metabolism of the body to burn fat and regulating calories. But due to some reason when the gland fails to produce enough hormones you may become overweight in spite of following dieting and exercising. Your doctor may prescribe suitable hormone replacement pills for regulating the function of thyroid gland.
- Diabetes Mellitus – People who are diabetic and taking insulin are more prone to gain weight than others. Taking insulin for long-term helps in managing blood sugar level but at the same time it can make you hungrier forcing you to take additional snacks.
- Intake of Steroids – Corticosteroids are prescribed commonly for many conditions like arthritis and asthma which when used for long-term can cause weight gain. The more you depend on steroid drugs the more is the chance for putting weight since these medications will make you more hungry by affecting specific brain areas stimulating appetite forcing you to eat more than your need.
- Cushing Syndrome – Cushing syndrome is a rare disorder that produces excess amounts of cortisol hormone leading to weight gain. This occurs largely for people who are in steroid treatment for long-term and in some cases due to tumor development in specific areas inducing hormone secretion. Cortisol can cause excess of weight gain and obesity related problems.
- Fluid Retention – Edema or fluid retention can cause swelling in various parts of the body. Fluid gets accumulated in certain parts like face, ankles and stomach leading to overweight. Fluid retention can also cause serious problems in heart and kidney and it is necessary for you to check with your GP if you have fluid retention.
- Medications – Excess of weight can occur due to side effect of many drugs including steroids, insulin and certain anti-psychotic drugs. People who are taking antidepressant drugs for long can become overweight in due course. It is believed that certain types of oral contraceptives can cause weight gain and fluid retention.
Non-Medical Reasons :
- Age – As one grows older he/she becomes less active losing muscle mass largely. This can also slow down the metabolism rate making them physically inactive leading to weight gain.
- Stress – Increasing stress can sometimes cause weight gain. Many people are prone to eat more during emotional distress adding more fat to their body. Likewise, depressed mood can make one to find solace in food causing overweight. Mood does not affect every person in the same way. Some people may lose weight due to depression and others may gain weight.
- Deprivation Of Sleep – Not having enough sleep during night can contribute for weight gain. Sleeping problems can make you hungry easy by stimulating hunger hormone. Sleep-deprivation can cause fatigue which in turn reduces one’s physical activity leading to overweight.
- Wrong Diet Habit – Eating fatty and fried items and late night snaking can definitely cause increase in weight. Many of us don’t know what to eat and how to eat. We are ready to spend hundreds of dollars at parlor and clothing but hesitate to buy fresh vegetables and fruits that keep us healthy.
- Watching Television and Eating – Often we end up eating more while watching TV programs and favorite movies. Moreover your mind is not tuned to produce digestive hormones since it is preoccupied with television. Hence necessary digestive enzymes are not produced leading to building of fat. Likewise eating large food portions has become a routine for many people. Fast foods give you more calories and fats than you expect building more and more fat blocks in the body.
- Sedentary lifestyle – Younger generation spend hours together with computer, laptops and television without knowing that it can lead to weight gain and obesity. Nowadays people don’t even go for shopping making their best choices online thereby not giving opportunity for moving around. Calories are not burnt fully in this sedentary life-style causing increase in weight. Modern technology has made mankind lazy and physically inactive causing various health problems. Extended working hours does not permit some people to go for gym and spend time for aerobics.
- Family History – Genes are one of the causes of overweight. The chance of becoming obese is doubly increased if either or both of your parents are overweight.
Your GP would request for a series of tests to check the cause of weight gain which includes laboratory tests like blood culture and thyroid hormone test. If any other symptoms are present suitable functional tests would be ordered. He would also make nutritional assessment to find out if there is any deficiency of essential nutrients.
Primarily he would check the BMI after measuring your weight and height to find out whether you are overweight or obese. A person is said to be obese if his/her BMI is over 30. Next he would get complete medical history of the person concerned to know if he/she has any other medical disorder like hypertension or diabetes which contributes for weight gain.
Treatment For Weight-Loss :
Weight-loss treatments differ from one person to the other. There is no concrete single method to reduce weight. Usually combination of diet and exercise is the thumb-rule for weight reduction. In severe cases of obesity weight-loss medications would be prescribed. However they would have to be on dieting and exercising regimen to maintain the desired weight.
Weight-loss Program :
The success of this method lies in strictly adhering to the given diet in addition of doing regular exercises as suggested by your GP. Your doctor would devise a suitable individual program and give support to get the maximum desired result of weight-loss. Weight-loss program for obese people differ from that of plans for overweight people. Overweight people lie between the ranges of 25 to 29 of BMI whereas the BMI of obese person is above 30.
The agenda of this program begins in changing your life-style and following the dieting suggested by the nutritionist. Supplementary drugs would be given for some people to boost the weight-loss program initially. Diet for weight-loss will include plenty of protein and low carbohydrate and it does not include fat and fat related substances.
Set A Realistic Goal :
People who have joined weight-loss program are advised to set a realistic goal. It is impossible to achieve sudden weight loss by anyone within specific time-frame. You should focus on NOT GAINING WEIGHT anymore in the first month of the plan instead of losing weight. If you are in the pre-diabetic stage you will be happy to know that losing just 5% of your body weight will decrease the risk of getting diabetes by 50%. Practically it is difficult to lose weight and you need to be determined to reach the desired goal.
Life-Style Changes :
No weight-loss program can be successful without making changes in your lifestyle. You need to change your eating habits and follow the time schedule given by your nutritionists or dietitian before putting anything inside your mouth.
Know The Triggering Factors :
Firstly you can identify what exactly triggers you to eat something and remove those factors completely. For knowing this, you can write down the entire things that you are eating, where you are eating, and how often you eat etc. Triggering factors differ from one person to another. Some people get induced by passing through favorite places like restaurants and some others are attracted to particular items of food etc. There are people who get triggered by emotions and take up more food than normal.
Method Of Eating :
Next, you should be aware of what you are eating and how much calorie it has. Measure anything you eat from Day 1 and get help online to know the amount of calories of the food. It is good to chew the food properly so that it mixes with saliva before swallowing it. But in reality we don’t have the patience to chew it and instead we send in food as a whole into the stomach. Further you should avoid eating large meals at a stretch and give way for eating little food frequently. It is proved medically that taking little food many times a day is better than eating hefty meals twice or thrice a day. Your stomach will be comfortable in disposing off the items with ease if you could take little food.
Include plenty of fiber contents in your daily diet. Always keep fresh fruits handy so that whenever you feel hungry you can grab a fruit of your choice. You have to totally remove fat and fried items from your diet and replace them with vegetables and whole grains. And don’t forget to reward yourself for changing your food habits. You can choose your favorite clothing or go for a weekend movie etc as reward.
Checking Your Weight :
Do not attempt to check your weight every day after starting weight loss plan. You should be patient enough for at least couple of weeks before measuring the weight. Ensure that you are not deviating from the weight loss plan and strictly following the diet pattern so that you can reach the goal quickly.
Positive Thinking :
Join a support group or find out a friend who is with the same weight loss plan. Whenever you are going out finish your meal and go and keep some fruits in your bag so that you can avoid snacks outing. Go for yoga /meditation classes to reduce stress.
Drugs For Weight Loss :
Not each one of you who are overweight can take weight loss pills. It has to be decided by your GP whether you are suitable for taking them. Weight loss pills are recommended for people with multiple problems like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension due to overweight. Some of the popular drugs prescribed for weight loss include orlistat, Lorcaserin, Phentermine and Bupropion naltrexone. Some people take dietary supplements while losing weight but like weight loss pills, this can also cause side effects.
Bariatric surgery is strictly for people with severe obesity and for those who are not fit for dieting or exercising. You can discuss with your doctor/surgeon about the benefits and side effects of weight loss surgery before signing the papers. This surgery carries equal potential risks like many other operations and even after surgery you should carefully maintain to sustain the desired weight for life-long. Gastric bypass, lap banding and gastric sleeve are the major types of surgery done for weight loss. Complications like bleeding or infection or blood clot can occur after surgery and you need to be prepared for that too. You have to visit the clinic regularly and follow the instructions given by your dietician and doctor to get well.
Home Treatment (Remedies) For Weight Loss :
Anyone can achieve the desired weight loss goal by healthy diet alone. All you have to do is to consult a dietician/nutritionist for devising customized diet plan that matches your body and health condition. Keep fresh fruits in the table so that whenever you feel tempted you can take them liberally. You can practice strength training exercise at your gym instead of routine workouts in the treadmill or cycle. This in turn helps in building muscle mass which can boost up your metabolism burning more calories easily. Eating healthy diet and regular exercise can definitely give results but it may take time.
Educate your children from now on about the ill-effects of weight. Do not force them to eat. Make it a habit to visit restaurants once in a month only and restrict the intake of high-calorie foods and fat items. Children are becoming overweight and obese even at young ages and it is the duty of adults to educate them and prevent them from obesity.
To sum up, every person can be able to shed some pounds if he/she really follows the given diet regimen and exercise. Set realistic goals for weight loss that can be achieved within given time-frame. Think about the benefits you get by losing weight. Be optimistic. Weight-loss is not an elusive target if you are determined and continue to work towards goal.