Causes of Weight Gain / Obesity

Image by (Joenomias) Menno de Jong from Pixabay

2400 years ago Hippocrates (father of modern medicine) emphatically declared “All diseases start in the Gut”. What he really meant was, People, get diseases due to eating too much food, eating the wrong kinds of food, or indulging in both. At that time, there were no X-Rays, MRIs, Citi scans, or any kind of technological innovation that we now see being commonly used in clinics and hospitals almost everywhere in the world. What he had at his disposal was his immense ability to observe, identify, analyze and make conclusions based purely on observation, reason, and logic. As his quote suggests, he came to the simple yet powerful conclusion; what one chooses to put in his/her mouth is primarily responsible for one’s state of health (Good or Bad). 

Causes behind overweight/obesity:
Most overweight people are aware of the role unhealthy diet plays in accumulating excessive weight. However, to the extent, a particular class of food is responsible is not sufficiently understood by many. Most people are somewhat health-conscious and try to follow the latest diet fads, but they eventually get confused by the conflicting information presented in the news/media and go back to their old ways of eating.  This is one of the main reasons why even with so many types of diet plan out there, people continue to gain weight. 

Some of the main causes behind weight gain: 

1. Poor Diet
Not surprisingly, the number # 1 cause behind weight gain as well many other types of chronic diseases is related to the type of foods we choose to eat.

  • Oils
  • Oily / fried Foods 
  • Sugary Foods / desserts
  • Processed Foods 
  • Animal Products 

Most of the meals and snacks that people typically consume have some type of oil in them. The obvious culprits include fried foods such as french fries, fried chicken, donuts, Indian samosas/sweets, curries, etc. However, what we typically don’t realize that even the day-to-day items such as bread, pasta sauce, mayonnaise, salad dressings, potato chips, burgers, etc all have a significant amount of oils and other harmful preservatives in them. All of these adds up over a period of time in the form of weight gain. We have seen it many times, people often do most of the things right i.e eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, but they are still not able to lose much weight. When you look deeply you find that it comes down to the oils and sugars that they consume either at home, restaurant or at someone’s home. As soon as they are able to remove both, the weight starts to come off and many of their symptoms begin to improve as a bonus. We tell our clients not to get caught up in the perceived benefits of so-called healthy oils such as olive oil or coconut oil, they are Fads. If you really want benefit, have young coconuts once a while. If you don’t believe it, ask yourself this question. Have I lost weight or gotten better from my ailments since I began using these so-called healthy oils? 

2. Lack of Exercise
Along with diet, lack of exercise is an important element that can cause the weight to go up appreciably. The weight-loss math is pretty simple. If one doesn’t burn the calories (that are consumed daily), the body will store them as reserves. All these stored excess calories (over a period of time) add up in the form of weight gain. As a guide, it takes about 30 minutes brisk walk to burn 100 calories. One Indian samosa (deep-fried snack) has about 350 calories. In order to burn the calories gained from eating just one of those samosas will take more than 1 1/2 hours of brisk walking.  

3. Unhealthy Lifestyle
Lifestyle choices play a key role in our health (or lack of). When we make choices that are not in harmony with the laws of nature, we are more likely to remain in ill health. Poor lifestyle choices such as eating at odd hours, not getting enough sleep, not going for bowel movements when the urge comes, eating while on electronics, watching too much news, unconsciously eating, gluttony (eating when not hungry), not chewing food enough, eating fast, etc are just some of the actions that can put tremendous stress on our body and adds to weight gain.

4. Medication Abuse
Another factor that can play a part in retaining excess weight is the use or as I like to call it, abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications. All medications come with side effects, just take a look at your medicine bottle. The list of side effects is so long that one wonders if their purpose is to help or cause more ailments. It is indeed ironic that the medications that are supposed to solve our health problems in fact make them much worse in the long run. There is a number of medications that cause the body to retain either fluids or fats and thus resulting in excess body weight. 

5. Stress
Science has proved the direct link between our gut and the brain. In other words, what we think and feel affects our digestive system (and vice versa). When we experience negative emotions such as sadness, depression, or even anger, our body releases stress hormones. These stress hormones slow down the flow of digestive enzymes that are needed by our stomach to break down foods into smaller particles. When the body is in a constant state of stress it likes to hold onto its FAT stores as it fares famine-like conditions (legacy of millions of years of evolution, when the food sources were scarce). 

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