For years, you’ve been told that weight loss is just a matter of eating less and moving more, right? But the truth is that it’s not that simple. And that’s an understatement! Keep reading; we’ll explain.
Even if you cut calories, exercise regularly, and lose weight, the results will likely not last. Studies show that more than 80% of people who lose weight will regain it after a year—and almost all will put those pounds back on within three years.
You may have also been told that weight care success is all about willpower. Nope. This mindset is naive and outdated. There are other important science-backed factors that can impact your weight care journey beyond that old idea of calories in, calories out. Such as:
Insufficient sleep (less than seven hours per night) is associated with weight gain and obesity, as well as conditions including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and depression, according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. So getting enough shut-eye isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a must-have. If you need ideas for better sleep health, check out this.
Let’s just call it like it is: Stress is a beast, and chronic psychological stress can fuel obesity. It also can elevate your cortisol levels, which can cause visceral fat accumulation in the body. This type of abdominal fat raises your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. That’s why it’s important to find ways of coping with stress and make those strategies part of your daily life. *Cue deep breathing*
What the heck are endocrine disruptors, you ask? They’re chemicals found in the environment, food, and everyday products that have been linked to health issues related to obesity, metabolic issues, and heart health. They disrupt hormonal communications in your body and can alter metabolism by interfering with your endocrine system’s signals. (OK, that was a mouthful.) Some examples of these bad guys: parabens, industrial solvents and lubricants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organophosphates, phthalates, and BPA. The best thing to do here is to be aware of them and avoid them in the items you buy when possible.
Some common pharmaceuticals have been linked to weight gain, including antipsychotics, antidepressants, MAOIs (mood regulators), corticosteroids, and certain HIV medications. They may cause side effects that reduce your metabolic rate or increase your appetite. However, everyone’s response to these medications is different—since it depends largely on genetics and any underlying risks for weight gain. If you’re worried this is affecting you, talk to your doctor before making any changes. Medication can still be part of your weight care plan. Check out more here.
If your parents struggled with their weight, there’s a chance that you may too. Does having a genetic predisposition to gaining weight mean you’re destined to be a certain size no matter what you do? Uh-uh. Your environment, lifestyle, and behavior changes can all make a difference. (Woop woop!)
Leptin is a hormone produced by your fat cells that helps control appetite—signaling when you’re full. The more fat cells you have, the more leptin is pumped out. Over time, this can lead to leptin resistance, which means your brain doesn’t respond to leptin’s signal that you’ve had enough to eat, leaving you unsatisfied after meals. This can create a vicious cycle of hunger and is thought to be a leading cause of obesity. Here’s the good news: Leptin resistance can improve through lifestyle changes, including eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and movement.
The bottom line:
Yes, pay attention to what you eat and include exercise in your day. But science shows that weight loss isn’t just about eating less and moving more. And from where we’re sitting, that’s a big silver lining. It means that there are lots of other strategies—like de-stressing and getting good sleep—that can help you reach your weight care goals.
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.