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How Hormones Can Affect Weight Gain In Women

Millions of women struggle with being overweight. According to 2009 data released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every four individuals is obese. Obesity is measured as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.

Much attention is given to diet pills, the newest workout routines, and the latest gadgets. With billions of dollars being spent by women every year, why are so many losing the battle of the bulge? The answer may be found in the tiny messengers within the body called hormones.

A hormone is a chemical that is released by an endocrine gland that sends out messages that affect other cells and organs. Hormones affect the body in several ways including:

  • Regulation of metabolism
  • Hunger cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Reproductive cycle
  • Immune system function

Hormones can either be a friend or foe when trying to lose weight. Many women today take on many more activities and responsibilities than previous generations. Today’s woman has to balance the duties of mom, spouse and work. If not handled properly hormone levels can get out of balance causing the body to pack on pounds.

How do Hormones Cause Weight Gain?

Stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and menopause cause the weight gain hormone cortisol to be released into the blood stream. Cortisol triggers appetite hormones in the body that make people crave food. Once these hormones are released into the brain and bloodstream it is difficult to fight off the cravings.

If prolonged levels of cortisol remain in the blood stream over time they can have serious negative effects that make it difficult to lose weight. These effects include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Increased visceral fat in the abdomen

Cortisol and its resulting symptoms can be controlled through exercise, diet and stress reduction. Stress management techniques such as meditation, prayer, listening to music, journaling and counseling have all been shown to reduce the cortisol levels in women.

Studies show that people who experience high levels of stress are not only more prone to weight gain but other medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

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