Hormones, Stress, and Weight Gain

By on April 14, 2015
hormones, stress and weight gain and estrogen

You have nearly a dozen hormones acting on you at any one time. It’s no wonder if you feel “off” sometimes. The hormone that gets your attention first is often estrogen. When it begins to fluctuate (either up or down) it can cause weight gain in places where you hadn’t had problems before.

At some point your estrogen is likely to cause you to have a harder time losing it than you may have had in the past. 

A lack of estrogen (and in some cases estrogen-dominance because cortisol’s blocking progesterone) will cause you to deposit extra calories (I’ve seen it happen with women who don’t give into junk too) around your middle.

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You’re not immune to bat wings and back fat but you’re most prone to belly fat if you’re stressed. This turns out to be a two-for-one: you’re stressed about your stressor and about the weight gain.

Under stress you’re producing more cortisol: too much for too long. It causes you to have cravings that result in insulin and you’re more likely to store those craving calories as belly fat. 

The common denominator in all things hormonal for women? Stress. 

Focus on the triangle of stress management strategies for the real solution to the problem.

  1. Decrease your exposure to things that stress you. Include everything: people, food, and environment. Junk food is a stressor. Your body has to process that garbage. Too few calories is a stressor. Your body likes to function on more. 
  2. Increase things that have the opposite effect on you as stress. We often forget that stress has a counter-part. Several in fact. Oxytocin is increased with kissing and hugging. Serotonin and dopamine are increased with friendships, talking, laughing, outdoors, and light exercise. Each of these hormones can put you in a good mood – more able to deal with stress. 
  3. Change your thoughts on stress – If your attitude is “bring it on” you’ll live longer. If you instead think of stress as “bad for health” then you’re likely to have more stress, and fat, to show for it.

Focus on what you want to attract. The limitations you defend you get to keep.


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Debra Atkinson, MS, CSCS Founder & Barely Boomer @ Voice for Fitness

About Debra Atkinson

Debra Atkinson, MS, CSCS is America’s Boomer Fitness Expert, speaker, and author of Navigating Fitness After 50: Your GPS For Choosing Programs and Professionals You Can Trust. After 30years in the fitness industry Debra committed to making sure women have good choices, real answers and putting an end to the diet and exercise confusion. Her new book, The After 50 Fitness Formula for Females based on her women’s coaching workshops is due out in 2016. Visit Debra at www.voiceforfitness.com.

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Hormones, Stress, and Weight Gain