Factors that affect your weight (Hint: it’s not just food and fitness)

Factors that affect your weight

(Hint: it’s not just food and fitness)


People assume that if you eat well and train consistently you’re guaranteed results if weight loss/maintenance is your goal. BUT the human body is a complex machine, and there are a number of things that could throw a spanner in the works for your progress…

  1. Stress

Stress 100% has an effect on our weight. When you’re stressed cortisol (stress hormones) levels increase.  This lowers our insulin sensitivity, which means our sugar levels drop and our appetite is stimulated – stress eating isn’t just psychological.  This causes weight to be stored around our midsection.  It’s impossible to tell someone to ‘just not stress as much’. But small changes, such as 5 minute mindfulness or meditation, switching to decaf tea and coffee, and doing our best to leave work at work or chatting to friends to vent will work wonders.

  1. Genetics

‘You got it from yo’ Mama’

Your genes can store information on how much and where to store body fat, and scientific studies have proven that there is a link between genetics and obesity.  If one or both of your parents is overweight, there is statistically a higher risk of passing it on to you. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept your fate if that isn’t what you want – a healthy lifestyle should be your #1 goal, no matter what your DNA says.


  1. Age

Everyone has heard about middle age spread.  As we get older, our metabolism slows down and hormone levels rise and fall. It’s important to remember that change is always going to happen in our bodies (male and female) no matter what our fitness levels are, so understanding the reasons why can help us embrace aging with a positive mind set.


  1. Illness and Medical Conditions

We all know that when we’re under the weather, we don’t work at 100% efficiency. If we’re sick or recovering from illness, our body is in a catabolic state, which means that it’s using more energy than normal to heal itself.  If you feel up to it, some light yoga or meditation is a great way to help your body recover.

Thyroid issues can also affect your weight.  Your thyroid affects your metabolism, so if it’s over or underactive, you may put on or even lose weight without changing anything in your diet.  There are so many conditions that can affect weight gain or loss, so if you find that you’re having unexplained issues with your weight, it’s best to talk to your GP about your concerns.

  1. Medication

Medical conditions and medication go hand in hand.  When it comes to medication it’s tough, because not everybody reacts the same way.  Some medications, can cause food cravings, water retention (bloating), decreased metabolism, increased storage of body fat, or rapid weight loss.  Some can just make it even tougher to lose weight, such as antidepressants, birth control or steroids. If you have any symptoms, the important thing is to keep taking your medication until told otherwise by a doctor.

6. Hormones

This is a big deal – especially for females.  With constant fluctuations in hormone levels, your weight is guaranteed to go up and down. You may even feel weaker or stronger, depending on where you are in your cycle – so your routine workouts may feel impossible at times.  Downloading a tracker app, such as Fitr can help you log your energy levels and strength at different points of your cycle.

As women get older, and menopause begins, you may notice your body shape changes overnight – this due to a change (again) in your hormone levels and is completely normal, and a change in your training routine can help.


  1. Lack of Sleep

People under estimate the poor of a full night’s sleep. Anything under 6 hours causes problems in all areas. Cravings are up because you are not able to function properly. Carbohydrates are normally to craving everyone is reaching for. Quick fix- chocolate, coffee sugar.

Your brain function is lowered. Not able to think or concentrate. Fatigue sets in and you have ZERO energy to exercise after work. So when you go to bed, put the phone away, try and have your room as dark as possible to block out artificial light outside, and give yourself 10-15 mins before bed to relax, chill and remind your body that it’s time to power down for the night.


  1. Shift work

Scientists say that shift work takes 5 years off your life it also effects your waist line. Eating at different hours every other day. Breakfast can vary 10pm at night to 8am in the morning. Eating from a canteen that is not running properly over the 24hrs. Vending machines at the ready when energy dips over the midnight hours.


The moral of this month’s blog is: even if you are doing everything right in the gym and with your food you may not see the results you expect – but that is completely normal. Keeping a diary of your sleep, monthly cycle and stress levels may help you find what triggers negative reactions in the body – there may be a hidden trigger you might not have even noticed.