Four non-dietary factors that can impact your weight

Certainly! Weight gain can be influenced by various non-dietary factors. Here are a few you may not have considered:

4 non-diet factors that can affect your weight
4 non-diet factors that can affect your weight

Experts often advocate that weight loss is simply about balancing calories in versus calories out. However, this approach doesn’t always hold true for everyone. Some individuals find breaking through a weight loss plateau by increasing their calorie intake, shifting from processed “diet” foods to whole, nutrient-rich options, and adjusting their meal balance and timing.

4 non-diet factors that can affect your weight

Interestingly, stress and lack of sleep can hinder weight loss efforts, as supported by various studies. Additionally, emerging research suggests that several other lifestyle and environmental factors impact metabolism and weight management.

Here are four lesser-known factors to consider, along with tips to address them.

Shift Work

Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder discovered that individuals working night shifts burn fewer calories over a 24-hour period compared to those on a regular schedule. This variance can result in weight gain even without an increase in calorie intake. Essentially, disrupting your body’s circadian rhythm can cause your usual diet to suddenly become excessive due to a slowdown in metabolism.

Combatting this issue involves opting for nutrient-rich foods that enhance satiety, elevate metabolic rate, and regulate hunger. These include fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, nuts, ginger, hot peppers, and staying well-hydrated with water.

Criticism of weight

Researchers from University College London discovered that individuals who faced weight discrimination or “fat shaming” over a four-year period tended to gain weight, while those who did not experienced weight loss. Similarly, a study conducted at Renison University College, University of Waterloo, found that over five months, women with critical loved ones regarding their weight tended to gain even more pounds.

To combat this, while you may not have control over the type or amount of support you receive from others, there are effective strategies to improve your personal mindset. For instance, practicing mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress, lower hunger hormones, and prevent weight gain.

Environmental chemicals

While it may seem unconventional for a nutrition professor to delve into the study of flame retardants, one such expert at the University of New Hampshire has found that these substances, present in items ranging from furniture to carpet padding and electronics, can provoke metabolic and liver issues leading to insulin resistance, a significant contributor to obesity. The researcher notes that the average person carries around 300 man-made chemicals in their body, with their potential effects only beginning to be understood.

To address this concern, while it’s impossible to completely eliminate exposure to synthetic substances, you can take steps to minimize it. Natural alternatives are increasingly available across various shopping categories, including cosmetics, cleaning supplies, toys, and household goods.


It’s commonly understood that our body type often mirrors that of our parents, but recent research suggests that the composition of bacteria residing in our digestive systems is also influenced by genetics. This discovery is significant as mounting evidence indicates a strong correlation between gut bacteria and weight regulation.

While you can’t alter your genetic makeup, there’s extensive research on how to cultivate beneficial gut bacteria. The primary strategy involves avoiding artificial and processed foods while prioritizing a diverse range of whole, plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and lentils.