It seems more and more people these days are trying to lose weight.  Perhaps their finally realizing the health risks involved with being overweight.   Whatever the case may be, knowing what contributes to your weight gain is just as important as knowing what can help you lose it.

Healthy eating and exercise are key components in helping with your weight loss.  We all know that.  However, there are a number of other things that play a major role in maintaining a healthy weight.

Here are 8 factors that contribute to your weight:

  1. Muscle – Here’s a riddle for you: which weighs more, a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks.  Answer?  They BOTH weigh a ton.  So, when you hear someone telling you muscle weighs more than fat, some people may interpret this differently and take this to be a false statement if they translate it to a pound of muscle to a pound of fat.  However, if you were to look at a pound of muscle and a pound of fat side by side, the fat takes up more volume.  Why?  Muscle is denser than fat.  So to clarify, what is really meant is that muscle weighs more than the same volume of fat.  A pound of muscle needs about 50 to 150 calories a day to sustain itself so even at rest, muscle will help you burn calories.
  2. Bone Density – Bone density is the amount of minerals contained in a volume of bone.   Everyone’s frame size is different but every person can attribute a small portion of their weight to their bone density.  It accounts for approximately 15% of a persons body weight.  Some people have greater bone density than others due to the excess stress they may put on it such as weight lifting or from just being overweight.  Of course, greater bone density decreases the chance of you getting osteoporosis so if you’re curious about your bone density, simply go see your physician and they can conduct tests.
  3. Gender – So, what’s the relationship between gender and weight?  Men generally have more muscle, less fat, and heavier bones than women.  So, the unfortunate truth is that men can eat more than women without gaining weight.  With more muscle mass, men tend to burn calories at a higher rate when at rest.  Testosterone is the key factor in muscle growth.  Since men have more testosterone than women, they are able to have larger muscles which results in a larger difference in body composition.
  4. Activities – This should come as no surprise.  Being active plays a major role in weight loss.  We’re not talking about weight lifting or aerobics.  We’re simply talking about moving about.  Walk.  Run.  Skip.  It doesn’t matter so long as you keep your body moving.   The key element here is your heart rate.  The higher/faster your heart rate, the more calories you’re likely to burn.  You want to be burning the same or more calories than you consume to stay at a healthy weight.  So ask yourself.  Are you active?  Remember, the more physically active you are, the more you benefits you get.  Increasing your activity increases muscle strength, and metabolism, all which help with weight control.
  5. Life Events – Pregnancy, stress, smoking (quitting), relationships, family, and a whole other list of life events can affect your weight.  Your body responds to your emotions, your thoughts, and your physical activities.  If your stressed at work, you may develop high blood pressure or if you drink too much, you’ll end up with a hangover.  Depending on the event itself, people will either eat more, become sedentary, or simply lose their appetite.  The key here is to balance yourself and if need be, see your physician or a professional to help you cope with your problem.
  6. Environment – Your environment can easily be a factor affecting your weight.  For example, if you have to get to the second or third floor of a building, you’ll have the option to take the stairs, elevator, or even an escalator if one is available.
  7. Stress – Mentioned in life events but worth mentioning as a separate factor, stress can be affect you in a lot of ways including your body, behavior, and mood.  Your behavior may directly affect your eating habit which may cause you to eat more or not at all.  That’s why many people experience either weight loss or weight gain during stressful periods in their life.
  8. Food Portions – Whether you have will power or not, portion size appears to contribute to some people’s weight.  Some research has shown people to eat 30% more when served with larger portions.

Of course there are other contributing factors that indirectly affect your weight but these are the eight factors that affect it the most.