Stress & weight gain


For women over the age of forty, a lifetime of activity, stress and the menopause can mean a decrease in the metabolism and an increase in the production of body fat.

We investigated how and why women over forty feel less energetic, are more susceptible to stress and find that they are constantly in a battle of the bulge. Read the outcome of this report below.

The menopause and the metabolism
As women go through the menopause many hormonal changes will occur within the body, including a dramatic reductions in estrogen, serotin and leptin. The first two changes listed may result in women craving, and consequently consuming more carbohydrates than they have done in the past - which in turn can aid unwanted weight gain.

A reduction of leptin (a protein which tells the brain that the stomach is full) can leave many women vulnerable to overeating or even binge eating.

As we age the metabolism (the bodies calorie burner) naturally slows down. This coupled with hormonal changes can mean that weight gain is inevitable - especially if our eating habits haven't changed from our teens or early twenties.

Feeling the stress and strain
Once women start to overeat and gain unwanted weight it is hard to reverse this situation. As the cycle of overeating and weight gain continue another hormonal change may start to occur - an increase in cortisol. Cortisol as an appetite trigger. Once its production starts to increase it becomes ever easier for this self-perpetuating situation to escalate into even more weight gain.

Unusually high levels of cortisol can result in chronic stress, fatigue and a sense of overpowering mental strain.

Breaking the chains of depression
Thankfully there are a number of tried and tested ways we can overcome this situation. Some solutions revolve around exercise, while others 'stress' the importance of fun and above all laughter!

Exercise prescription to boost a flagging metabolism
In order to increase the metabolism you must perform two types of exercise. 1. Resistance training and 2. Aerobic training.

Strictly speaking aerobic exercise doesn't directly increase the metabolism, but due to its capacity to burn lots of excess calories and body fat, we thought it justified to include it within the explanation.

Resistance exercise, or weight training, on the other hand is one of the best ways of developing a lean, toned body and increasing the body calorie burning potential.

Working against an added resistance that's heavier than our normal everyday activities of walking, shopping, driving etc, the body and its muscles start to change, develop and become stronger. This strength tends to show in signs of toning in the areas of the body being used. If this occurs, and the body's fat level will start to decrease, and what was once a declining metabolism will now plateau or even increase. The result is than weight loss, weight control and a fitter, happy you.

Useful links
Resistance training hints and tips
Get fitter and burn more calories
Check my ideal weight
How many calories do I need?

Other solutions
One great way of relieving stress is to laugh :-). Laughing reduces cortisol while increasing the release of endorpins (the brains natural 'high' and relaxant hormone). Laughing aloud also increases the immune systems capacity to fight of illness and disease by increasing the production of protecting white cells. Another benefit to laughing is that it can burn as many calories as cycling and jogging!

Tip: Aim to laugh for at least 10 minutes each day.

Additional information
Health questionnaire - Am I ready for exercise?
Exercise can help beat depression
Develop a sense of well-being
Learn to relax



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All information on this website is for information only. offers no medical advice or information. Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise