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Risky times for a woman. When do women most often gain weight and why?

Every woman has her own explanation for gaining weight or failing to lose it. Sometimes the ‘alibis would fill a book. But the truth is that there are risky times in women’s lives, when they do actually gain weight more readily. So when are women most likely to gain weight? And what can be done about it?

Genetic predisposition

Not everything is genetic, but your genes account for about 40 percent of weight gain. The other 60 percent comes down to external causes. The distribution of body fat is also largely genetically determined. About 46 percent of women inherit their body’s ‘apple’ shape (gaining around the tummy), another 48 percent the ‘pear’ shape (gaining around the hips). So, your genes can make you predisposed to gaining weight, but this does not mean that you will necessarily be overweight. You just have to make more effort to keep your weight in check.

Higher education

A lot of women start gaining weight during their college studies. That comes down to their new-found freedom and self-determination, as well as the almost total loss of parental control over their lives. Add to that some exam stress, lots of study chores and time pressure. This quite often changes eating habits, and women eat less often (or poorly, like in fast-food outlets). Ahead of exams they are drawn toward sugary food, drinking more coffee and alcohol. There is nothing easier than to ‘insure’ yourself against it all, with a high-quality diet that doesn’t eat up your time, such as keto soups, with their ‘just add hot water’ mixture; or to make yourself a keto drink protein shake of virtually any flavour.

Work

Once women start going to work, that too can have a negative effect on eating habits. For many, starting a job is a kind of starting gun in a race to succeed; as soon as possible. They try to look good and to put more than 100% effort into their work. They tend not to be married yet, but are looking for a potential partner. This then is a time when, paradoxically, some women get very skinny, because they want to look good, and others put on weight because they eat irregularly, consuming unhealthy comfort foods to combat stress. In addition to chronic stress, there are hormonal changes that lead to weight gain.

Marriage and pregnancy

It may seem strange, but as soon as women get married and have a contented relationship, statistics show they generally tend to put on weight. The motivation to lose weight disappears because ‘we have our man’ and soon enough the first pregnancy comes along. Nutrition plays a crucial role throughout. A lot of women seem to feel that at this time they should be doubling up their portions, and the pounds pile on. After the birth of a child, many stay chubbier, given the effects of time pressure and stress. Breastfeeding is a godsend for many women because it helps get their weight down, but others find it has no such effect. Naturally enough, women should eat healthily and regularly during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but also keep active (regular longish walks with a stroller will do just fine).

Divorce and depression

Very often, women start gaining during a divorce. A lot of women develop quite a sweet tooth in stressful circumstances (especially if the divorce is due to infidelity), so putting on ten kilos in a short time is all too easy. The problem then is how to shed the excess. The stress of divorce can trigger depression; feeling down is often accompanied by weight going up. The ‘culprit’ can be antidepressants, which can make the woman gain five kilos in a month. There are other things to blame than just pills, but the fact is that a woman who feels depressed is more inclined to eat foods high in sugar or fat. During the depressive phase, any inclination to exercise flies right out of the window.

During the menstrual cycle 

This is generally the most common reason for gaining weight. The reading on the scales can fluctuate markedly even during an ‘ordinary’ menstrual cycle. Some women can gain three kilos during PMS! Yet, as confirmed by gynecologist Lauren Streicher of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, technically this is all down to temporary water retention. Once the period starts, drink plenty and the weight will just fall away. At fault in this case are hormones, specifically fluctuations in oestrogen levels. So, if you are in the tense premenstrual stage, don’t calm yourself down with ice cream and cupcakes, but drink a lot, eat proteins (try Greek yogurt or some of the KetoDiet foods that are supercharged with proteins) and keep your cravings at bay.

Menopause

When it comes to weight loss or gain, the menopause is clearly one of women’s greatest bugbears. Women are of course worse off than men in respect of the major hormonal changes, which affect not only the body, but mindset, too. Women often start putting on weight but lose muscle mass and their body shapes change. Metabolism slows down, and if women don’t move and watch what they eat, they start gaining. What seems worse than the weight gain itself is how the fat settles around the waist, in the intra-abdominal area. This is also risky in terms of cardiovascular disease onset. So what can be done? Step up your activity and adjust your diet. Reduce carbohydrates and add proteins. If you love bakery products, why not liven up your diet with protein bread.

 

Author: aši

Photo: KetoDiet, Depositphotos

 

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