I will be the first to tell you that weight isn't everything. It's just one of many ingredients that go into good health. But few things are more frustrating than throwing yourself into weight loss wholeheartedly only to find that your favorite jeans are just as tight as they used to be.
Here are 6 sneaky factors that can thwart weight loss efforts and leave you bursting out of your jeans unexpectedly:
#1: Refined carbohydrate.
Eating large amounts of refined carbs like cake, candy, cookies, soda, and white bread is associated elevated blood fats (triglycerides) and belly fat deposition . Carrying extra weight around the belly button is particularly inflammatory and associated with elevated risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and sleep apnea, among others conditions [2-5]!
#2: Inadequate sleep.
Many studies have demonstrated the relationship between chronic sleep deprivation and weight gain . Not getting enough zzzs boosts stress hormones, which disrupt hunger and appetite signals, boost cravings, and favors belly fat deposition .
#3: Chronic stress.
We’re only just beginning to unravel the damaging effects of stress on weight, and overall health. Much like sleep, being chronically stressed out bumps up stress hormones, leaving you hungry, and reaching for junky snacks more often .
#4: Low thyroid function.
Rapid weight gain can sometimes be a reflection of low thyroid activity. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the neck that produces hormones which regulate metabolism. When thyroid activity is low, metabolism drops, resulting in weight gain and fatigue. Low thyroid activity can also affect body temperature, digestion, muscle strength and fertility, and is often diagnosed through a simple blood test by your doctor.
#5: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS is one of the more common endocrine conditions in women of childbearing age, and can be an underlying cause of weight gain. Other symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycles, acne, insulin-resistance, and elevated blood lipids. Again, this is something that can be diagnosed by your doctor, often through a combination of blood tests and ultrasound.
#6: Gut bacteria.
This is a new addition to the list! Preliminary evidence indicates that alterations in gut microbiota may play a role in weight gain and obesity. Gut bacteria serves as a barrier to entry into the bloodstream and has been suggested to modulate gene expression, inflammation, and nutrient absorption. Obese individuals have been found an altered bacteroidetes to firmicutes ratio however it’s not clear if the chicken came before the egg . Stay tuned for more on this one!
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