A question I get as often, or more often than any other, is “Well then, what does cause people to become fat?” Believe it or not, this question involves more than just a one-word response, such as “carbs” or “fat” or “junk” or “stress” or “calories.”
I’m finding it difficult to coax some people who really need a dense calorie supply in order to normalize their metabolic rate into eating common foods. It seems that many people who gravitate towards strange diets find a lot of comfort in the strangeness of their diet because there are a lot of people that eat “normal” and are obese and sick. Eating abnormally provides a feeling of security that, because you don’t eat like Uncle Diabetes, you therefore cannot ever have diabetes – as if food is the only factor, or even the primary factor, in diabetes… and it probably isn’t. Hence the frequency of hearing the “How do we get fat?” question when I recommend stocking the freezer with Haagen-Dazs.
For starters, there is no one macronutrient – be it carbohydrates, fat, or protein that causes us to become fat. One is not really better than the other. Although there are a few errors, Lyle McDonald lays out a pretty fair summary of the equality among macronutrients when it comes to fat storage in his very own article entitled How We Get Fat.
I thought I would share some common ways that people gain fat in the first place. Like anything intelligent, it won’t pin it all on one villain, but will take an honest look at what is a multifactorial process. Here are 10 of the biggest contributors to an increase in body fat…
1) Binge Eating
2) Chronic Stress
3) Lack of sleep
5) Erratic exercise patterns
Remember that this is just a list of contributing factors looked at in isolation, and there are dozens of others. The bigger picture that I want people to see is more the interaction with several factors at once, creating sort of a perfect storm for fat gain. And even when there is a perfect storm for fat gain, in my experience most people still gain their fat in brief periods of a month or two, while spending most of their lives perfectly weight stable whether retreating to some harsh diet or not. Hope it helps some to better understand their own personal fat fluctuation history. YOU can become weight stable. And you can probably do it eating just about whatever the hell you want. In other words, you don't have to drink 1 percent milk. You could drink whole if you wanted to.