Why Do We Gain Weight?

In a broad sense an answer to the question ”Why do we gain weight?” can be given in one word – lifestyle. In a narrow one, excess-weight-contributory factors are high calorie consumption, lack of training, other unhealthy habits and genetics.

Theoretically and practically none of these factors is the only one responsible for excess weight; they are intertwined and complementary. None of the factors as well is permanent in terms of an unhealthy weight gaining effect produced. That is why, when you hear or keep saying something like ”I’m fat because all my relatives are fat” or ”I’m fat because I just cannot lose weight”, just know that even the genetic factor is manageable and all the efforts focused on all aspects involved can bring weight to its ”healthy” figures, as none of us is born to be fat and heavy.

How Much of Your Weight Is Genetic

Studies focused on the DNA-based weight drivers (e.g., Leptin, Ghrelin, FTO gene) have shown that there is biology behind weight. Thus, low levels of Leptin, the chemical commonly known as ”obesity hormone”, are the signals which the brain ”understands” as starvation, so it tries to prevent it with more food taken in. Increased levels of Ghrelin, hormone released during a prolonged lack of restful sleep, result in extreme hunger, which inevitably leads to weight gain. Mutations in FTO gene are also associated with increased cravings for high-fat foods.

The same studies, however, have also shown that all chemicals associated with excess weight (eight have been already identified and over 30 are marked as candidate genes) are responsible for less than 5% of all obesity cases, which is certainly encouraging.

Calorie Consumption without Subsequent Expenditures

High calorie consumption without subsequent physical expenditures remains the major cause of excess weight. Your levels of Leptin may be sufficiently high and those of Ghrelin sufficiently low but you may still gain weight: 1) if the foods consumed bring more calories than your body actually needs to turn them into energy, and 2) if you know nothing about regularly done physical exercises. In addition, if you add those with unhealthy habits more or less related with the aforementioned factors, you are more likely to gain weight turning your appearance into an unprepossessing one.

With time overall weight control, if you have one, is getting harder to maintain. Decline of all physical abilities starts around the age of 30 and continues throughout the rest of life. As a result, a decreased metabolic rate brought simultaneously contributes to weight gain, as we are no longer able to work, exercise and lose weight the same way as we used to be able before. In other words, the entire matter is not only about that little room for all those extra calories consumed and lack of regular training, but about overall inability to tackle physical changes that we have to face from that moment on.

Bottom Line

Making general comments, we can say that although the problem of excess weight may have a genetic component, the percentage of its occurrence is minimal and can be correlated with introducing changes into the lifestyle (e.g., more sound sleep not to increase the levels of Ghrelin). If no change, however, is able to help, studies conducted on developing drugs that can cope with the problem like appetite suppressants and fat burners have never stopped. As for the majority of cases that result from unhealthy diet and lack of exercises, efforts for the person’s part have to be made. Nobody says it is easy but not impossible. After all, at the very beginning you can always use weight loss medicines as a complementary part of your weight loss program.