Is It Your Fault You’re Fat?

Why living by the book still doesn't promise weight loss
Monday , 15 August 2011
Is It Your Fault You’re Fat?
Actress Penelope Cruz

You watch what you eat, you exercise regularly…so why can’t you lose weight? We reveal the hidden factors that help hold on to those love handles...

You know the drill. Eat healthily and do more exercise if you don’t want to get fat. But experts are no longer convinced that the so-called ‘Big Two’ are the only things to blame in the eternal battle against obesity. A new study says we’re missing other vital factors when it comes to being plumper than we should – and it’s little to do with eating too much pizza and skipping workouts. So, what is it that’s keeping us chunky? Star Style investigates...

Too little sleep
Want to lose weight? Spend more time in bed. Researchers say sleep deprivation results in reduced levels of leptin, a protein that regulates body fat, and increases in ghrelin, which stimulates food intake – in short, not sleeping for long enough will make you hungrier and increase your appetite. Gorgeous Penelope Cruz insists upon at least 12 hours sleep a night to keep her body looking fabulous – and it seems to be working!  How’s that for justifying a weekend lie in?

Pollutant power
Synthetic chemicals found in pesticides and some plastics – known as endocrine disruptors – that enter the body through the food chain interfere with our hormones. When levels go up, our BMI  increases. Some of these chemicals are said to work against male hormones, leading to higher levels of fat, so as pesticide usage increases, and people continue to microwave foods in unsuitable plastic based containers, so too have our waistlines.

Don't touch the A/C!
The temperature of your home and workplace makes a big difference to how your body stores fat. Evidence suggests that homes and offices that maintain a ‘comfortable’ temperature can contribute to weight gain, because the body doesn’t need to use up energy to keep warm or cool, so calories aren’t used up. So if you can bear it, don’t turn the air con down too much over the summer – your skinny jeans will thank you for it come October.

Pill - popping
Antidepressants, antihistamines, anticonvulsants, antidiabetics and the contraceptive pill have all been linked to weight gain. Those who take beta-blockers to control their blood pressure put on around 1.5kg because of their medication, while the average weight gain for women on the contraceptive pill is around 7.5kg.

Getting older
As men and women age, weight increases. Women tend to put on weight after 35 and after the menopause because of hormonal and metabolic changes. In men, extra weight is often the result of increased abdominal fat linked to conditions like diabetes. As if getting older wasn’t depressing enough, eh?

Your genes
Studies say that Body Mass Index (BMI) may be inherited, and the higher the parents BMI, the greater the number of offspring. If men and women with a greater BMI are more likely to have more children, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that there will be more kids out there with genes that predispose them to obesity.

In love with love handles
Now you really can start pointing the finger at your folks! Men and women with a higher BMI are more likely to pair with each other – a phenomenon known as ‘assortive mating.’ Since BMI is partly inherited, and the number of very thin people has stayed around the same over the past few decades, assortive mating seems to increase the average population weight.  Could it get any more depressing? Pass the biscuits