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Lauren's List: Hidden Factors That Affect Your Weight

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - When we want to lose weight, we often consider two things: diet and exercise. But there's much more to it.

Today's "Lauren's List" shows you the hidden factors around you that could push that number on the scale one way or the other.

The Thermostat
Our delightfully warm and cozy homes and offices might be partly responsible for our less-delightful expanding waistlines, say researchers in a study published in the journal Cell. The scientists found that regular exposure to mildly cold weather-as would have been normal in the days before programmable thermostats-helps the human body regulate a healthy weight. The chilly air seems to increase metabolism by making the body work harder to cope with the changing conditions. Some proponents of "cold therapy" take daily ice baths or "shiver walks" but you don't have to be that extreme to see results, say the researchers. Just lowering your thermostat by a few degrees or turning the shower briefly to cold can help. Here's more on the science of how being cold is good for weight loss.

Your Altitude
There's a reason that Colorado is the both the slimmest and the steepest state in the nation. The altitude at which you live is strongly correlated with your weight, with each gain in altitude corresponding with a drop in weight, according to a study done by the U.S. Air Force.

Amount Of Antibiotics
The more antibiotics a person takes during their lifetime, particularly during early childhood, the greater their risk of becoming obese, according to an NYU study. Researchers speculate that it has to do with killing healthy gut bacteria, decimating your microbiome along with the bad bugs, as good bacteria has been shown to help prevent weight gain.

Owning A Pet
Owning a pet, particularly a dog, slashes the human companion's risk of obesity, says the American Heart Association. Why? Dogs need to be walked daily and are often quite persistent, encouraging their owners to walk as well. But it's not just the extra exercise, especially since 40 percent of dog owners confess to not walking their dog on a regular basis. The researchers add that petting an animal greatly reduces stress and depression, two other known risk factors for weight gain.

Of course, every body type is different, so tell me the factors you know affect your weight.

Chat with me on Facebook  ( or Twitter (@LaurenPastrana).

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