by The Healthy Back Institute
Nobody wants to hear that the middle-aged spread is in their future, but sometimes, as the Magic 8 Ball says, “all signs point to yes.”
The good news is that once you’re aware of the signs, and how they make you get fat, you can circumvent them entirely, for a slimmer, trimmer you!
Will I Get Fat? These 10 Signs Say “Yes”
10. You’re a Festive Holiday Person
Love a good glass of eggnog and a full holiday meal with all the ‘fixins? Are big family gatherings with free-flowing cocktails (and family drama to boot) your ‘thang’? This – the food, the drinks and the rise in stress hormones — is a recipe for weight gain.
That’s why more than half of the weight you gain over the entire year takes place during the 6-week holiday season. [i]
9. You’re Unemployed
If you’ve recently lost your job, you’re significantly more likely to gain weight than those who remain continuously employed. [ii] There are several factors at play here: you may be less active, having lost your main “activity,” you may be depressed and turning to pizza and ice cream (i.e. emotional eating), you may be bored, sitting around at home and simply eating more by proxy, whereas before you barely had time to grab a cup of coffee, let alone lunch.
You may also be struggling financially, and have less “wiggle room” on your food choices.
8. You’re Married
During the first two years of marriage, a woman’s risk of a small weight increase rises by 33 percent – and her risk of a large weight gain rises by 48 percent! [iii] Men don’t get off the hook either; they’re 28 percent more likely to gain weight (a small amount) after getting hitched.
Most likely, the gain comes from significant changes to your lifestyle and food choices, which are inevitable after such a major life change.
7. You’re Divorced
In the first two years following a divorce, women have a 22 percent increased risk of weight gain, and men have a similar 21 percent risk. [iv] Divorce is stressful … you’re probably not eating right, not sleeping and turning to comfort foods far too often, all culprits in weight gain.
6. You’re Quitting Smoking
Major weight gain is strongly related to quitting smoking, with nearly 10 percent of men and more than 13 percent of women gaining more than 28 pounds after quitting.
The good news? Not everyone who quits gains this much weight. In fact, the majority do not.
5. You’re Going Through One of These Negative Life Events
The stress and strife of tough times often pack on the pounds (although depending on how you deal with it, it can also lead to weight loss). Researchers looking at the role of life events in weight gain and loss found that the death of someone close to you increases your chance of weight gain by 50 percent, a relationship problem by 11 percent, stress by 6.4 percent, disability after injury by 4 percent, illness by 3.7 percent, and depression by just over 3 percent. [v]
4. You’re Going Through One of These Positive Life Events
Even good times can lead to weight gain! The same researchers mentioned above found pregnancy was most likely to result in weight gain (uh, yeah!), followed by feeling comfortable in your relationship, which raises your likelihood of weight gain by more than 14 percent! [vi]
3. You’re Not Sleeping Well
When you’re sleep deprived, it sets off a chain of weight-inducing effects: [vii]
–You eat more – about 300 calories more a day
–Your metabolism slows down to conserve energy
–The stress hormone cortisol rises, increasing your appetite
–Your body produces more of the “hunger” hormone ghrelin, which makes you want to eat more
–Your body produces less leptin, the “satiety” hormone that tells you you’re full
2. You’re Taking These Medications
Steroids, antidepressants, diabetes drugs, high blood pressure meds, heartburn drugs, antipsychotics and anti-seizure drugs are examples of medications that can make you gain weight, insidiously or more dramatically. Some medications cause weight gain by making you hungrier, others alter your insulin levels or alter the way your body stores fat.
1. You’re Stressed
Stress leads to increases in the stress hormone cortisol, which impacts fat storage, appetite, cravings for sugar and, ultimately, weight gain. Plus, when you’re stressed you’re more likely to overeat and binge on junk food, and skip the gym in favor of some couch time. If you’re chronically stressed, this can lead to ongoing weight gain that can be difficult to combat.
[i] Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec;58(12):378-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11206847
[ii] BMJ. 1992 February 29; 304(6826): 536–541. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1881409/
[iii] BBC News August 22, 2011, Research presented at the American Sociological Association Meeting, 2011 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14592168
[iv] BBC News August 22, 2011, Research presented at the American Sociological Association Meeting, 2011
[v] Psychol Health Med. 2009 Mar;14(2):239-49. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19235083
[vi] Psychol Health Med. 2009 Mar;14(2):239-49. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19235083
[vii] PsychCentral April 10, 2012