Most of the time, when we consider what is affecting our weight loss journey, our minds go straight towards diet and exercise. Which although these factors do affect our journey, they are not the only ones that do so. How often do you really catch yourself considering family history and genes? Race or ethnicity? Age? Sex? Sleep? Stress? Medications or medical conditions? Hmm, hardly ever are we right? Well we are here to tell you that your weight loss journey can be affected by a variety of different reasons and we’re going to tell you how.
Family History and Genes
Genes play a pretty big role when it comes to our weight loss journey, as being overweight and obesity tends to run in families. Your chances of being overweight are greater if one or both of your parents are overweight or have obesity. Your genes can also affect the amount of fat you store in your body and where on your body you carry the extra fat… crazy right! If you are struggling to shift some weight, we might give you permission to go yell at one of your parents.
So you have probably heard that age can affect your weight loss and this is mainly due to your metabolism slowing down. As we age our muscle starts to turn into fat, which results in a slower metabolism, allowing additional weight to be put on. Women, specifically around menopause, end up having a significant decrease in estrogen levels, which leads to a change in fat distribution, causing more fat to build up in the abdomen area. Being a woman just has so many perks… doesn’t it!?!
To put this simply, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body needs more energy, which usually results in you reaching for excess amounts of food to provide the fuel your body needs. A lack of sleep also affects your hormones, which can promote weight gain and insulin resistance. Want to know a super crazy fact? As little as two days of sleep deprivation is enough to cause hormonal changes and prompt weight gain and insulin resistance! Good news? No one can ever lecture you again for having some extra shuteye!
Now with this specific topic we need to remind everyone that everyone’s body is different, therefore if you have gained an unusual amount of weight since commencing a new medication, we recommend you consult with your doctor.
From general knowledge, there are some specific medications, such as antidepressants, that cause water retention, bloating and carb cravings. Some medications just make it more difficult to lose weight, such as the contraceptive pill. Other medications that could be affecting your weight loss include diabetic medication, steroids, antipsychotics and antihypertensive.
On the other hand, some medications can suppress your appetite, which causes unintentional weight loss. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, bring it up with your doctor.
An individual’s sex may affect where they store body fat and how much of it they store. For example, In the United States, obesity is more dominant in Hispanic women than in Hispanic men. Women usually store fat in their hips and buttocks (Baby got back!), whilst men usually store fat in their abdomen. Unfortunately we cannot change our genetic makeup of being male or female, so this one we will just have to embrace.
You may have not thought about it before but your social, religious or ethnic group culture may also be affecting your weight loss journey due to the lifestyle and shared eating habits you have adopted. For example, I come from both Italian and English backgrounds… and both sides love to eat.
When I am with my Italian family for a birthday it is comfort foods such as rich pastas and fatty meats, and then dessert is always multiple cups of coffee and cake. Whilst Christmas with my English side is always HUGE portions of roasts, with every carbohydrate side you can imagine.
Looking at my social culture, my friends and I love going out for tapas and cocktails. Crazy burgers have also become a massive interest for our group. So as you can see… all of these cultures aren’t exactly going to positively affect my weight loss journey, but they sure worth it to me!
We should all know this one by now. Getting too little water can negatively affect your weight, along side tons of important bodily functions. When you don’t drink enough water your body is not going to work correctly. You will have issues with digestion, lubrication of the eyes and joints and temperature regulation, just to name a few.
A lot of the time, people actually confuse thirst signals with hunger signals and eat instead of drinking, causing weight gain (me, I am people). Therefore let’s make a pact you beautiful, capable people. We need to ensure we drink 3 liters of water each and every day. If you aren’t a huge fan of water, throw in some chopped up fruit for a natural, delicious flavour.
Want more? Here are our Top Tips to Help Achieve Your Health Goals.