In the discussions about weight gain and obesity, many people seem to think that it is purely a function of willpower.
I do agree that whether we gain weight (or not) is a result of behavior, in this case eating behavior. If we eat more than we burn, we gain weight. If we eat less and exercise, then we lose.
There are several factors that leads to obesity. Here are some of the factors that may lead us to obesity or overweight:
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Many of the foods that people eat are those higher in calories (particularly fatty and sugary foods), so-called energy-dense foods. Although your body gives you a feeling of fullness after eating enough (satiety), you can easily ignore this feeling if you are enjoying tasty foods.
Food portion sizes in general have increased. There has also been a tendency to eat out more over recent years. If you eat out, you are more likely to eat food that is more energy-dense than you would eat at home. The amount of processed foods and ready-made meals available has also increased in response to our busy lives. These are often foods that are more energy-dense as well. However, even healthy foods contain calories and can tip the energy balance if we eat too much of them.
What you drink is also important. Alcohol and sugary drinks contain a lot of calories. Even fresh fruit juices that you may think are healthy can make up a significant part of your daily calorie intake if you drink too much of them.
In short, many people are overweight or obese simply because they eat and drink more than their body needs.
YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Where does physical activities fit in to your current lifestyle? Fewer people these days have a jobs in which they are energetic. A lack of physical activities by many people is thought to be major cause of the increase in obesity in recent years.
Last but not least, genetics also holds responsibility in an individual who is obese or overweight. You are more likely to be obese if one of your parents is obese, or both of your parents are obese. This may partly be due to learning bad eating habits from your parents. But, some people actually inherit a tendency in their genes that makes them prone to overeat. So, for some people, part of the problem is genetic.
However, if you do inherit obese gene from your parents, it does not necessary means that it is inevitable that you will become obese too. Other factor related to genetic and over-eating is appetite. You need to control you appetite power, ways to resist it, be strict on what you eat, and do some regular physical activities.
MEDICAL PROBLEMS AND CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS
Very few obese people have a ‘medical’ cause for their obesity. For example, conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome and an underactive thyroid are rare causes of weight gain. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may also be overweight.
Some medicines such as steroids, some antidepressants, some treatments for epilepsy and diabetes, and the contraceptive injection may contribute to weight gain. If you give up smoking, your appetite may increase and, as a result, you may put on weight. People with low mood or depression may also have a tendency to eat more energy-dense ‘comfort’ foods and so gain weight.
Do you eat whenever you feel anxious? Is food one of the few things that makes you feel better? For many people, food is more than just nutrition. Eating is something to do when you’re bored, anxious or avoiding-dealing with emotions.
For many of us, raised from different background of families, learned that you maybe punished for not finishing our food, possibly comforted with food, rewarded with food, or even a guilty feeling if we didn’t eat what was made just for us. As we got older, this pattern of using food as the comforter becomes a habit and harder to break. This will eventually put us into a pattern of food is a cure for many emotional situations of life: stress, happy, boredom, anger, frustration, etc.
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