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Fat facts: how do women put on weight

How do women put on weight? How does it affect their overall health? The first of a two-part series. Explanation: Women gain weight in different parts of their bodies depending on their genetic disposition and on factors that precipitate weight gain.

brunch Updated: Mar 09, 2013 19:52 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times

Women gain weight in different parts of their bodies depending on their genetic disposition and on factors that precipitate weight gain.

What body shape are you?
The typical fat-gain areas for many women are the hips, arms and thighs, giving them what is termed a ‘pear-shape’. The other areas where many women accumulate fat are the chest and the abdomen. Such women have slim arms and legs, and are seen as ‘apple-shaped’. They also might have a family history of diabetes. Women have fat cells distributed across their entire body, but the reason the fat gain is more prevalent in certain areas (rather than others) is because the body can’t handle the excess fat in these areas.

Most women want to lose extra fat only from certain regions. So while they might be happy with an endowed chest, they would like to shed weight around their thighs. However, such spot reduction is almost impossible since the natural body shape is a function of genetics.

stressStress-related obesity

The weight gain that happens because of stress usually gets deposited around the stomach and abdomen.

Fat deposits around the belly can also be traced to the following reasons:
Childbirth or surgery: After pregnancy or after surgery, the muscle tissue loses some of its inherent strength. This can cause weight gain around the area where the surgery took place.
Sedentary lifestyle: Obesity owing to lack of exercise typically shows up in both men and women as weight gained on the abdomen, hips and thighs.
Unhealthy diet: Weight gained by eating many fattening foods manifests itself as the following symptoms:
Your skin can become darker.
Your hair will begin to thin out.
You may experience fatigue and breathlessness.
You may suffer from body aches.
Your skin may break out in pimples and sometimes, you may grow extra hair on the chin or face.
You will put on more weight on your abdomen as compared to the hips and thighs.

Steroid trap
Weight gain caused by the intake of steroids typically has some tell-tale signs. The person may look bloated, even though the weight gain is not too much. He or she may also break out, and blood sugar levels may go awry, especially after a meal.

In women, different kinds of weight gain require suitable lines of treatment.


Next week: Part Two – The solutions to women’s obesity

From HT Brunch, March 10

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First Published: Mar 09, 2013 12:28 IST