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What makes women grow fat

By | March 7th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Patrick gerenge

There are two main reasons for weight gain after childbirth, which if not kept in check could easily lead to obesity.

First, if the child is not delivered normally, the mother is deprived of normal activities and exercises after delivery, and the uterus does not shrink as it should. If she delivers normally, she could gain weight steadily if she is fed on fatty and starchy foods under the erroneous notion that a "rich diet" will compensate for the weakness caused by labour. In the same breath, some mothers rest more than is necessary after delivery. Exercising after delivery is important as it aids in contracting the uterus to its normal size.

Second, women who use contraceptive devices such as oral contraceptives on a regular basis also tend to become obese. This is due to the effect of hormones contained in those drugs.

Other contributing factors

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Menopause: Hormonal imbalances during menopause could easily lead to obesity even among women who had maintained a normal weight. However, obesity caused by hormone pills is a little more difficult to get rid of unlike other forms.

Mind over body psychological factors such as feeling unwanted could lead some women to developing severe complexes. Because they lose interest in every activity, which could otherwise provide a pleasant diversion, such women resort to eating whenever they feel tensed. In most cases, they over indulge in foods that please the palate — such as snacks — and which eventually add bulk to the body.

Overeating or binging: This could result from a malfunction of the appetite system and several glands (especially the thyroid gland). A deficiency in the hormones secreted by this gland results in the speedy division of cells thereby causing obesity. Sometimes a deficiency in the sex hormones secreted by the ovaries during menopause also results in obesity.

Food addiction: Different people are addicted to different food types such as carbohydrates (like rice or wheat), spicy foods, sweets or fast food. As in any other addiction, the more one eats, the more they relish the food and the craving increases progressively. Eventually, it reaches a stage when withdrawing or controlling it becomes extremely difficult thus leading to obesity. In a bid to quit the addiction, some people seek substitutes in form of food, which could be high in calories, such as sweets and chocolate. These only add weight.

Tips towards a leaner body

Regular exercise increases your resting energy expenditure and fat oxidation thereby contributing to negative energy balance, which helps preserve lean body mass.

Engage in physical activities that you enjoy and perform them a minimum of three times a week.

Do not imitate others. Seek professional advice and engage in what seems sensible to you.

Accept that losing weight is going to be a long-term process. Do not be fooled by misconceptions of rapid weight loss, which more often than not, is regained in a very short while.

If you find it difficult to lose weight, do not despair. It may be healthier to maintain a weight slightly above your recommended weight than to lose and regain the extra weight in an endless and stressful cycle.

Eating should be a pleasurable experience and the best way to lose weight is to choose a healthy diet that you enjoy and can afford. Always include green vegetables and fruits.

Eat only when you are genuinely hungry and not because it is lunch or dinnertime. Reduce your portions to reasonable amounts.

The writer is a fitness and nutrition consultant at the Redcourt Hotel’s Health [email protected]


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