Do you have a body bugbear an area with which you’re never happy, no matter how toned you are otherwise? Well, experts say there may be a scientific reason behind it be it a muffin top, chunky ankles, or bingo wings. For research shows excess weight may gather in certain areas, regardless of how much you diet or exercise, as a result of hormone imbalances.
‘Our metabolism is complex. There are lots of reasons people are different shapes, but hormones are key,’ explains Saffron Whitehead, a professor of physiology at St George’s Hospital in London.
Hormone Imbalances and Weight Gain Remedy
‘Lifestyle, diet, and genetics play a part,’ adds Max Tomlinson, a nutritionist and the author of Target Your Fat Spots. ‘The good news is, there are lots you can do to redress the balance by changing hormone levels.’ Here, experts reveal the surprising causes of carrying a bit extra — and how to lose it.
THE CULPRIT: Cortisol: Our bodies evolved to react to danger by producing the stress hormone cortisol, to trigger the release of energy for the ‘fight or flight’ response. ‘We are constantly under stress,’ says Dr. Marilyn Glenville, a nutritionist specializing in women’s health. ‘Our excess cortisol sparks the release of energy in the form of fat and glucose. ‘This is redeposited as fat around your middle, near the liver. We think this is so it can quickly change back into energy if needed.’
WHAT CAN YOU DO? ‘Reduce stress — for example, with meditation or by listening to relaxing music,’ says Dr. Glenville. ‘Eat little and often to keep blood sugar levels stable, as fluctuations can trigger cortisol release.’ Eat foods with a low glycemic load, such as apples, wholegrain bread, or cashews, which slowly release energy. And avoid running for 45 minutes or more — this can, in fact, trigger cortisol production.
THE CULPRIT: Oestrogen: Too much estrogen can cause fat to build in the bottom and thighs. Those fat cells manufacture more estrogen, and, in turn, more fat is stored. Drinking too much alcohol means the liver can’t clear estrogen from the blood.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?: Soya supplements may reduce estrogen production, as they mimic estrogen, stopping the real thing from binding with cells. But ‘as we know so little about this’, Professor Whitehead warns against taking large amounts. ‘Nutrients in cruciferous veg such as broccoli regulate liver enzymes,’ says Dr. Glenville. Limit processed meat and coffee, too, as these stress the liver. via daily mail