by Fiora Stevens on March 21, 2013
Losing weight or even staying at your current healthy weight can be hard. But you might unintentionally be making it harder for yourself! Read on for five surprising things that are likely disrupting your weight loss effort and even causing you to gain more weight.
#1 Not Getting Enough Sleep
A 2010 review of medical literature related to sleep deprivation and weight gain noted a number of studies that have linked too little or too much sleep with an increased risk of obesity.
The reasons for this relationship are many, but they range from metabolic disruption to increased insulin sensitivity to increased appetite due to the production of hormones like leptin and ghrelin.
#2 Being Stressed Out
Juggling a three-foot-long to-do list with work responsibilities, family life, social activities, and trying to remember to pay the bills on time can take a huge toll on your health overall. Notably, being stressed tends to trigger the production of the hormones leptin and cortisol, which promote abdominal weight gain as well as hunger and food cravings.
#3 Your Choice of Friends
A 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that individuals had a 57% greater chance of becoming obese if they had a friend who became obese in a similar time frame.
While follow-up studies have called the causality of this relationship into question, it is useful to think about the activities and attitudes that friend groups share. For example, if you’re friends with people who enjoy going to the gym, you’ll probably be more likely to do so. But if your friends prefer to watch the game with beers and chips, you’ll probably indulge in that lifestyle instead.
#4 Not Eating Enough
Many diets proclaim calorie restriction to be the alpha and omega of weight loss. And to an extent, this is certainly true: in general, you lose weight when your body uses more calories in a day than it takes in through food.
However, tipping the balance too far towards calorie restriction means that your body will try to compensate for the lack of calorie intake by slowing down your whole metabolism (speed at which you burn calories).
#5 Breathing Polluted Air
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to breathe in smoggy air, you’ll know it does terrible things to your lungs and respiratory system as a whole. But breathing polluted air can also have an effect on your metabolism. Fine particulate pollution, in particular, has been studied in mice, and the results may inspire you to invest in a high-quality air purifier!
Researchers have found that mice who were chronically exposed to fine particulate air pollution developed insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, inflammation and oxidative stress, and changes to the very cellular structures that help your body turn food into usable energy.
Is your weight loss effort being stymied by any of these five factors?