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June 16, 2006

Cortisol and Belly Fat – A New Body Fat Phenomenon?

Patterns_1 I just recently received a comment to an old post about the current state of clothing sizes for women that raises an interesting question. Why (if it’s true), do American women seem to be carrying more weight in their bellies than they did one or two decades ago? Evidenced in this readers mind by the waists in her pants getting increasingly larger while the size stays the same. 

I’m not sure that the fashion industry has caught on specifically to the expanding waistlines of many American women to the degree that they're altering patterns, (because I still think they’re driven primarily by fashion trends), but I do think the discussion around waist size, and/or belly fat, is an important one.

Of course, there are important genetic factors when considering your shape, build and body composition, so to simply say belly fat is a recent culprit of stressful life styles may seem simplified, but there is significant evidence that the hormone cortisol can and does play a significant role…especially when triggered by stress.

There is an interesting and informative article in the Arizona Republic outlining the lastest scoop on cortisol, you may want to head over and read up on how cortisol works and what are the considerations of stress, over-eating and inactivity. There is also a great read by Marsha Hudnall, MS RD at the Green Mountain at Fox Run website, about how cortisol and stress are linked to weight gain.

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Posted by Cindy on June 16, 2006 | Permalink


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I just exited a weekly "recovery" group for my eating disorders and have learned all about the non-diet mentality and the health at any size. I do belive it and I have been practicing it for a few years now. My challenge now that I am out on my own, with out any support, (where the media steers us all toward a diet/thin-ness), and I have been practicing intuitive eating, I feel like it is faling me. I feel like it isn't working and that I just keep getting bigger. I am struggling with "wanting a plan" aka: "wanting a diet." I know that it only provides temporary results...and is not for me. My intellectual mind knows it. My stressed out, tired mind is trying to default back to it. How does one get over this hump and stay the course of Non-dieting and intuitive eating?

Aileen in Oregon

Posted by: aileen in oregon | Jun 20, 2006 9:43:04 AM

I have the dreaded apple shape, and hence the big waist. I would take some chubby thighs and junk in the trunk ANY day over having a big waist. I generally have to fit my waist first, and this means, my pants are always too big in the legs. But the truth is, this was the case when I was a size 7 too. I cant beleive I thought I was fat back then! Ug! I did!


Posted by: Jane | Jun 26, 2006 1:30:05 AM

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