HomeReader SubmissionsCheryl A. Major: 10 Factors Contributing to Weight Gain and Obesity

Cheryl A. Major: 10 Factors Contributing to Weight Gain and Obesity


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WESTFORD — The following column was submitted by member Cheryl Major for publication and distribution by WestfordCAT.

Obesity doesn’t just happen by itself. There are some external factors contributing to obesity. These factors can run the gamut from the consequences of your actions to things that are in fact out of your control. Understanding the cause of your weight gain or obesity is a great starting point so you can begin to craft an approach to manage your weight.

Your Gene Pool – Friend or Foe…

Research has shown there’s a strong genetic link to obesity. That is, whether you eat unhealthy quantities of food or not, you have a greater likelihood of being obese if your parents are obese. In the majority of cases, there’s no predetermination for obesity however. That is, what you eat plays a major a role in turning on your genetic disposition toward obesity or not.

Gas Station Treats 

Junk food is almost irresistible because it’s engineered to be so. It tastes so good. It also lasts longer on the shelves and is designed to be cheap. The processed food products that kill and/or damage our health and wellness are some of the sweetest things, and they are very inexpensive. The manufacturers need you, the consumer, to purchase what they’re creating in their food labs. As a result, they make their foods irresistible by loading them up with massive amounts of sweeteners and salt. Two of our favorite and most addictive ingredients! By doing this, they are promoting and encouraging overeating. The processed foods you’ll find in the stores today aren’t healthy, and they’re designed in a way that once you taste them, you’ll just keep wanting more and more. They’re designed to be addictive. This is especially true with sweeteners as they light up the pleasure centers in your brain.

Mainlining Junk Food

It’s very common for you to meet people who proclaim themselves “foodies.” Being a “foodie” really isn’t the problem. The real problem lies in the kind of foods they’re addicted to. Unfortunately, these foods are often high-fat junk foods that are excessively sweetened by the aforementioned sugar. By the way, there are more than sixty different names of sugar. These foods are usually compared to cannabis, nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, and any other commonly abused drugs you have heard of because they stimulate the reward centers in the brain. Junk food can turn some people into addicts, and these people may not be able to manage their eating behavior.

The Sweetest Stuff at Kid Height

This is a factor that contribute to obesity that’s not often discussed. Do you know the producers who manufacture junk food market their foods aggressively? In fact, some of the tactics they employ in marketing their products can, at times, be entirely unethical. These companies will develop well-drafted essays, articles, and advertisements on how their products are harmless. Unfortunately, children are their primary targets because they believe they’re not old enough to be conscious of what’s best for them. With their misleading claims, they find it easy to mislead many who are not going to do their own research or question the findings of a study.

It’s important to always question who funded a study. If the results of a study “revealed” high fructose corn syrup is the same as sugar and is safe and healthy for human consumption, and if the study were funded by The Sugar Association, that should give us all pause. We need to stop and question results from studies like that.


Insulin is a vital hormone, and it’s responsible for the regulation of energy storage among other functions. It acts as a type of key that unlocks the cells so glucose can get in and be used as energy. Insulin resistance occurs when the body no longer responds as it should to the release of insulin. Trying to get insulin to do its job, your pancreas secrets more and more; it’s almost like raising your voice when someone doesn’t hear you. If you do not make changes to your diet and behavior, the possibility your pancreas may become exhausted and just stop secreting insulin is real. When this happens, you have become diabetic.

The development of obesity has been closely linked to high insulin levels, prediabetes and the development of Type 2 Diabetes by a number of studies. Increasing fiber intake and reducing your intake of simple or refined carbohydrates, including sugars, is a simple way to lower your insulin. This needs to be a lifestyle change as opposed to a temporary diet. 

The Prescription Pad

Weight gain may be a side effect of a variety of prescription drugs. Antipsychotics and diabetes medications are examples. Weight gain has also been linked to antidepressant medications. These drugs can increase your appetite or slow your metabolic rate because they alter how your brain and body function over time.

What the Heck is Leptin…

Leptin is an important hormone that may be associated with obesity. Its job is to send a message to your brain via the vagus nerve that connects your gut and your brain that you’re full, and it’s time to stop eating. When you overeat and eat a diet high in sugar and processed foods, leptin’s message isn’t received or heard any longer. Your brain doesn’t get the message you’re full, so you continue to eat. Known as “leptin resistance”, this condition is very common for people eating a standard American diet and contributes to obesity.

How Tough is it to Find Good Food

Too much food does contribute to the development of obesity. Just look around you when you’re out driving, and you’ll quickly find junk food places and a drive-thru or two. Junk food is also displayed so it catches your attention, and it’s carefully situated. Note the candy bars and other sweet options at the checkout counters. The sugary cereals at kid eye level is not mistake either. It’s unfortunate and ironic that these unhealthy foods are easy to find and buy, while fresh fruit and vegetables and other real, healthy foods may not be as easily available. You will always find processed, packaged junk foods, candies, and sodas in convenience stores and in the stores at gas stations.

You May Crave This Stuff

These days, modern diets incorporate sugar and a lot of it. We know sugar isn’t good for us. It contributes to weight gain, and excessive consumption of sweeteners can change your body’s biochemistry and can negatively affect your hormones.  In the 1980’s the low fat no-fat craze had a huge negative effect on our food supply as processed food manufacturers discovered when they removed fat, much of the flavor left the food too. They replaced flavor by adding massive amounts of sugar and salt.

They Wouldn’t Mislead You, Would They?

There is a great deal of misinformation on health and nutrition out there in the world. The truth is often “sugarcoated” to suit a particular need. For example, in advertising high fructose corn syrup or HFCS is touted as being the same as sugar. It is not. For one thing, it is considerably sweeter than sugar. It’s also a cheap ingredient for the processed food companies to use, and it’s made from corn which is now largely genetically modified (GMO).

The results of scientific studies are taken out of context, and those scientific studies are sometimes misinterpreted or oversimplified by media outlets. In addition, for example, the sponsor of a study about sugar may be the Sugar Council. How objective and non-skewed do you think those results might be? It’s always important to question who funded any study you hear about.

 These are just a few of the factors contributing to obesity. I’m happy to discuss any of this with you at any time. You can email me here: Cheryl@ThinStrongHealthy dot com.

This article was originally published on my blog: https://ThinStrongHealthy.com

Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!

Cheryl A Major, CNWC

I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you! If you’re new to the world of creating better health, both mental and physical for yourself, please check out my training on how to get sugar out of your diet. Crack Your Sugar Habit is where to check it out. Learn how sugar, as yummy as it may taste to you now, affects your mental and physical health and how to go about reducing or eliminating it from your diet. 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter so you won’t miss my daily postings for health, wellness and mindset!

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