The most obvious of all obesity causes would be a higher calorie intake than is needed by the body. But people have not been counting calories for decades past and they still managed to maintain healthy weights. So what are the other obesity causes? And why is obesity only prevalent today?
Obesity is indeed a modern-day malady. What this means is that there is no one thing that causes obesity. Rather, obesity is a result of several aspects of the modern, so-called progressive, global culture that everyone tries to emulate without thinking of the far-reaching repercussions. Let’s take an in-depth look at the various ways in which our modern lifestyles contribute to the sickness of obesity in a vicious circle, and the other health-related causes of obesity.
Rat Race of Life
The body is a holistic organism. This cannot be emphasized enough. When you are stressed or emotionally messed up, it will manifest in your body as sickness or “dis-ease”. Most of us today are working for way longer than our job profile calls for so that we can impress the boss or earn enough to buy that big house in the Bahamas. Or we’re studying full-time so we can get those soul-sucking jobs that will allow us to buy the house in the Bahamas. Even if we are not directly involved in the rat race, we live with people who are. For example, housewives spend dawn to dusk catering to the needs of demanding husbands who work all the time and children who are hell-bent on cramming as many extra-curricular activities into their short lives. Is it any wonder then that we have lost complete touch with our bodies? Is it such a surprise when you think about this scenario that the whole world is getting fatter by the minute? And did you know that tribal cultures that have no contact with the modern world have almost zero problems with obesity? Here are some ways in which our “modern” lifestyles cause obesity.
- Most of us today spend far too much time working without giving our bodies and minds the break they need to rejuvenate and thus perform better. This means that our organs do not function as they should and we end up developing health conditions that can be one of the obesity causes.
- Too much work means too much stress. Stress is also one of the major obesity causes if it leads to compulsive eating or binge eating.
- Stress leads to sickness. Certain health conditions can be primary obesity causes.
- The more you work, the less time you have to buy fresh, whole foods and prepare your meals. This means more junk food, takeaway and processed, packaged foods. Again one of the major obesity causes as we shall see in a bit.
- Longer hours at work mean less sleep, which is another of the obesity causes.
- And who, pray tell, has the time or the inclination to exercise after a hellish day. Lack of exercise is another of the major obesity causes, as is obvious to anyone who takes a moment from a busy day to think about it.
- Most of us today are unhappy precisely while we are on the road pursuing happiness in the form of that house in the Bahamas. The unhappiness can be a trigger for over-eating. Many people feel empty inside because of their jobs and their relationships which are damaged because of their jobs. Again a trigger for overeating, which obviously causes obesity.
Watching too Much Television
There is a plethora of statistical data that links obesity and excessive TV viewing. Television has received a lot of flack over the decades for a number of reasons. And we can add “causes obesity” to its dismal track record. Indeed, there are few things more damaging than television when it comes to health in general. Here’s why it is one of the major obesity causes. Most people today get home from long, long days at work and turn on the TV to unwind. But this is actually one of the worst ways to relax since watching TV actually stimulates the brain to quite an extent, which is why the brain is distracted and unable to focus on other activities. Now here is why this causes obesity. Most people will watch TV while eating their meals. This is a common scenario and probably something that most people today can relate to. In fact, most of the younger generation cannot remember a time when the TV was not turned on during meal times. When the brain is focused on TV, it cannot process information about how much food is being eaten, whether the stomach is full or not, the tastes and texture of the food. This means that you will tend to eat a lot more while watching TV than your body needs and not be satisfied with what you do eat because you are not concentrating on the experience of your meal. Another reason that TV is bad for you and causes obesity is because it prevents you from having a good night’s sleep if watched before bed time, again a common scenario in most households. Erratic sleeping patterns or lack of sleep is another of the obesity causes that is rarely looked into.
P.S. – Note that when we talk about TV and obesity causes, it applies to entertainment viewed on desktops, laptops, tablets, Playstations and other what-have-you gadgets as well. Let’s not pin all the blame on the idiot box.
Increase in Sedentary Activities
Our lives today contribute to obesity causes. We wake up to our laptops and TVs for news and entertainment, commute in our comfy cars and park in designated spaces not far from our offices, work and socialize on our laptops and computers all day, everyday, unwind with video games and more TV, and go to bed to… well, to more TV in most cases. Most jobs today are desk jobs. You can now do everything online from dating to shopping. In fact, more and more services are becoming ‘online-only’ affairs so you have no choice but to stay in your seat for some things. Our lives are soooooo much more convenient now. And it’s great that we don’t have to stand in line to pay our bills anymore. But at what cost? The lack of physically demanding activities through our day just makes us more lethargic and causes obesity when combined with the rest of our unhealthy lifestyle.
Believe it or not, one of the major obesity causes is overeating due to boredom. Although there are a million things to do all day, not all of them are truly satisfying. And the end of the day can bring a sense of ‘OK, now what?’ Rather than take the time and immense mental effort to actually answer this question, most of us prefer to eat. And eat some more. Which, obviously, causes obesity.
More Fast Food, Junk Food, and Processed Food in Our Diets
There is a lot of food out there that is processed to a point where it is unrecognizable from the original plant or meat that it came from. Everything comes in packaged form today, from our milk and water to our beans and meat. All this stuff needs to keep until it’s sold, which is achieved with the help of massive doses of chemicals and preservatives which are one of the major obesity causes. Nutrition 101 – Fresh foods are best, and processed foods and junk food lack the nutrition needed by the body to function properly. Which means that you end up with a higher calorie intake when you eat processed foods since (a) it is not very nutritious and your body craves more food to fill that nutritional gap thus being one of the obesity causes, and (b) there are chemicals in processed food and even junk food that are addictive in nature and make you want more of the same rubbish thus being another of the obesity causes. Now we all eat junk food or processed food once in awhile. And why wouldn’t you? It’s delicious. But when it becomes a way of life – which is true for a huge percentage of the population – it causes obesity in addition to a host of other health problems.
Lack of Exercise
It’s not rocket science that not exercising causes obesity. Especially if you live an unhealthy lifestyle. Exercise burns calories. And most of us today have a higher calorie intake than our bodies can use. The extra calories get stored as fat. As we have already seen, our lifestyles today are not designed to burn off a few extra calories here and there. Exercise not only burns the extra calories it also increases your metabolism, promotes better sleep, helps you manage stress, and lifts the spirits. All this can contribute to preventing obesity. And a lack of it causes obesity.
Lack of Sleep
Sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours a night causes obesity. There is a truckload and a half of research that proves that people who sleep at least 7 hours a night are less likely to suffer from obesity. Even weight loss experts and studies on weight management prove that sufficient sleep is integral to losing weight and keeping it off. Sleep allows your body to recover from the rigors of the day. This means that if you do not sleep well, your body will not be in optimal working condition and all your organs will get sluggish. Lack of sleep also causes dehydration and causes stomach acids to build up dramatically. All these factors can contribute to weight gain and a higher calorie intake, and as we know these are major obesity causes.
Yes, indeed. There are certain pharmaceutical medications like antidepressants, for example, that contribute to obesity causes.
OK, this is not something you will find in a diet book but it is nevertheless one of the most powerful and under-estimated obesity causes today. Have you seen those hoardings or adverts splashed across newspapers that show skinny people looking all happy and content while posing with pizzas, burgers, fries and cokes? We are constantly being fed these images that show us happy, smiling people eating junk food but looking thin. We’re being sold happiness. Let’s face it – most of us are not happy. And seeing these adverts makes us want the happiness that we see in them. But think about it realistically. How in the name of all that is healthy are you going to be happy if you eat junk that is bad for you, filled with all kinds of chemicals that make you crave more of the same junk, and make you obese so that you ruin your health? But we buy it anyway because we are bombarded with these images and ideas that subconsciously take root and make our decisions for us, even though deep down we know better.
What About Genetics?
Ah, this one’s a biggie. Many people who are very obese will shrug and say ‘oh, it’s in my genes; there’s nothing I can do about it.’ Really? Are you that powerless over your own body? Blaming obesity on genetics is often just an excuse for most people. It makes us act like victims and gives us the go-ahead to gorge and treat our bodies like trash compactors. While it is true that genetics can be one of the obesity causes, you ALWAYS have a choice and can choose at any time in your life to actively change your habits so that you can heal the damage caused by genetics and maintain a healthy weight. It will definitely be challenging and you will have to commit to long-term eating and lifestyle solutions, but it is not impossible.
Several psychological problems can be obesity causes. For example, depression can cause overeating in an attempt to numb the pain or sadness, which can be one of the obesity causes. Physical ailments like hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome can also be obesity causes.
Other Causes of Obesity
- Smoking and even secondhand smoke have often been stated to be one of obesity causes. However, there is not much evidence to prove this.
- The older you get, the less you need to eat, Your metabolism slows down with age and you have to adjust your calorie intake accordingly. Most of us will eat the same way our whole lives. This causes obesity.