If you participate in making New Year’s Resolutions, it’s a better than 50% chance that losing weight is on your list. We thought it just might be time for us to take a look at some of the reasons your weight loss program may not be working for you. Our friends at AARP Magazine have come up with five unexpected reasons your diet could be failing you.
So, you have done the right things – reduced your calorie intake, began or increased your exercise program, and maybe ventured in to a cleanse or two. So possibly you can blame it on a slowing metabolism and shifting hormones, though truthfully, haven't you always suspected there's more to it than that?
We have, too, which is why we parsed the scientific literature to see if there might be other reasons so many people over 50 can't seem to lose the extra pounds. We found five possible culprits — but thankfully, we also found a few simple ways to increase your odds of losing weight.
Maybe it's your meds
Almost half of Americans took at least one prescription medication in the past 30 days, and a side effect of many of those medicines is significant weight gain. Antihistamines, for instance, target a receptor involved with both allergies and appetite; suppressing the receptor's activity can make you hungrier. Other drug classes that can cause weight gain include antidepressants, beta-blockers, diabetes medications, corticosteroids and antipsychotic drugs. Don't quit taking medications you need. Instead, ask your doc for options.
Are you sleeping enough?
Lack of sleep can do more than make you cranky; it could also be thwarting your best weight-loss efforts. In one recent study, adults who got just 41/2 hours of sleep for four nights straight ate significantly more than they usually did. About a third of Americans get less than six hours of shut-eye a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — and about a third are obese.
Aim to get seven or eight hours every night and stick to a schedule in which you go to bed and get up at the same times each day — even on the weekends. That helps regulate sleep-wake cycles and other body rhythms, including your appetite.
Your gut could be the cause
Bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract do a world of good. Now new research suggests that gut bacteria may also help regulate your weight. In one recent study, germ-free mice got fatter when researchers populated their guts with bugs from obese people, but identical mice eating the same diet stayed lean if they received bacteria from thin people. "There are a lot of different pathways for bacteria to cause obesity, and we're trying to figure out which are important," says Rob Knight, director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California, San Diego. Among the possibilities: Certain strains of bacteria may help regulate inflammation, fat metabolism and appetite.
Your house might be too comfortable
Any livestock farmer will tell you that animals fatten up faster at temperatures in the thermoneutral zone - not too hot and not too cold. Humans aren't too different striving for thermoneutral while we’re indoors where we spend 90% of our time. Researchers recently discovered that as temperatures dip, white fat starts behaving like brown fat — a specialized type of fat that burns calories rather than stores them. "We'd studied white fat for years before simply asking if there was a difference between how it functioned in summer and winter," says Philip A. Kern, M.D., director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Kentucky, Lexington. So reducing the temp at night can boost fat-metabolic activity.
Have you been sick lately?
A certain strain of the common cold called human adenovirus 36 could be making you fat as well as sick. Signs of adenovirus 36 show up more often in people who are obese than in those who are thin. "We've found that 30 percent of obese people have been infected, but only 11 percent of lean people have," says Richard Atkinson, M.D., emeritus professor of medicine and nutritional sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The virus appears to flood cells with glucose while turning on an enzyme that converts sugar to fat. Based on animal findings, Atkinson speculates that the virus could boost weight by as much as 12 to 15 percent.
Dean and Draper
We wish you great success in your weight loss efforts and hope that some of these tips are helpful. When you have questions about insurance, we’re here to give you straight answers. Contact us.
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