Are you experiencing trouble trying to zip up your jeans or skirts? Is the area around your waist looking rather unflattering? And your tummy is not faring any better either? Well, like most middle aged women, you’re probably also suffering from weight gain around the middle, and on your hips and thighs. And this weight gain, although quite natural, is not very healthy. Therefore, you need to focus on weight reduction immediately.
Now some women have ‘pear’ shaped body, and some have an ‘apple’ shaped body. The latter will find that they are gaining weight around the middle. And this happens generally after you hit your mid-thirties. Sometimes, you’ll even find you’re gaining weight after you hit menopause.
So in order to tackle this additional weight, you’ll first need to diagnose why you’re gaining weight! So let’s look into the causes for weight gain:
The obvious cause: calorie consumption and burn out!
Your weight is naturally determined by the amount of calories you consume and the amount that you ultimately burn. The ideal scenario is where you burn more calories than you consume. When that happens you do not gain weight, rather you lose it.
After all, the calories you consume are used to generate energy which you burn when you engage in any activity. Now say you continue to consume calories, but lead a sedentary life. Then your body is not burning the calorie that you’re consuming and that is sticking to you as fat.
The less obvious but more important cause: stress!
For this you’ll need a bit of an in-depth explanation. You might already know about the Fight/Flight response. As you know, at the beginning of civilization, man was always either hunting or being hunted. In order to protect himself and his kin, he had to constantly be on alert.
And the flight/fight response is the body’s clever way to deal with any sort of danger. The moment the mind perceives any threat, the body releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones provide the body with instant energy for about 10-15 minutes. And within that time you can either run away from the danger (the flight response) or face the danger head-on (the fight response).
It was incredibly helpful when man had to constantly be wary of wild animals and other dangers. And even now, the human body can respond with the flight/fight response whenever the need arises.
So how is this related to weight gain?
In modern times, people are constantly in a state of chronic stress. So your body cannot understand the difference between the stress of a real danger (life threatening) and the regular stress of life’s motions. Therefore, it simply reacts the way it always has, by releasing the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline.
Now ideally, you’re meant to burn out these hormones in your system by taking action – fighting or running away. But what are you going to run away from? It’s just the problems of life – missed appointments, traffic jam, late trains etc. So all the extra energy released in the body (so that you can take flight or fight) is never really put to use. And instead, this energy gets converted into forms of glucose and fat, which having nowhere to go, and are re-deposited in your body as fat.
Additionally, after release, the amount of cortisol in your body remains high for a period of time. It also increases your appetite, because your body is conditioned to think that you should re-fuel. And people who are in chronic stress will naturally constantly have high levels of cortisol in their blood. And they will naturally feel hungry almost constantly. Also, their body urges them to actually stock up on carbohydrates and fats – foods that the body thinks will help you to recuperate from the ‘stressful situation’. But your body doesn’t really need those, because you’re not actually facing any real danger where you must fight or take flight. All of these carbs simply become fat and get deposited in the body.
The bottom line is that constant stress leads to weight gain. And this weight is no good for you because it can lead to heart complications, diabetes etc.
Another important cause: menopause!
When you hit menopause, your body’s hormone system is already hay-wired. Add to that stress, slower metabolism due to aging and you naturally gain weight. Menopause not only contributes to weight gain, it also makes it extremely difficult to lose weight, especially fat around the middle! This is because during menopause your body’s production of estrogen falls. To counter that, your body produces estrogen-like compounds. And it utilizes the body fat to do so. Naturally, you find it very difficult to get rid of this stubborn fat because your body wants to hold on to it.
You can look up more on this aspect where menopause has been discussed in greater detail.
So that takes care of the reasons why you gain weight. You could be gaining weight for all of the above-mentioned reasons, because really, they are all inter-related. Your doctor will tell you more…
And now that you know all those details, you can actually work on getting rid of the fat. And the focus is on:
Make sure to look up the weight reduction means and measures for each. And once you arm yourself with those, you can work on the stubborn-most fat deposition in your body (even belly fat!). And this aids you to get rid of those added pounds so that you can lead a truly healthy life.