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Magazines supply us with endless accounts of women and weight gain and every month sees a new diet in the bestseller lists, but why do so many women struggle with weight gain? There are many reasons for this and these can vary during a woman's lifetime. Comfort eating is common during periods of stress which can happen at any age, from teenage angst at being unable to find a boyfriend, through the hectic lifestyle of motherhood and then empty nest syndrome, menopause and old age. What are the triggers which are specific to women at these different stages of their lives? Teenage girls are dealing with a lot of changes, not only in the shape of their bodies but also in their position in life, as they finish school, start university or work, start dating, drinking alcohol and learn to drive. As more children lead sedentary lives, more girls are overweight when they reach puberty and the typical teenage diet does not encourage healthy eating and weight loss. Adolescence is a turbulent time and coping with new and often difficult emotions, many young girls will eat for comfort. This can be due to many things, including bullying at school, pressure to do well academically or feeling they don't fit in. In their 20s and 30s, many young women put on excess weight during pregnancy, especially if they have several children. With the stress of coping with babies and toddlers, they find it hard to cook and then sit down to eat properly. So they end up eating the kids' leftovers as well as their own convenience and often high fat meals. Running around after the kids may keep young mothers on the move, but with the close proximity of food, this isn't enough to compensate. And by the time the children are ready to fly the nest, mothers are often long out of the habit of taking exercise. And of course, this is when menopause hits, bringing with it a tendency to put on weight. If she hasn't taken enough exercise as a younger woman, it's possible that this will make finding a suitable exercise routine more difficult as old approaches. So, faced with so many situations in which weight gain is likely, what is a woman to do? Whatever her age, the best first step any woman can take is to educate herself about healthy eating and apply the principles. And the second step is to increase the amount of exercise she takes. These two steps should be enough if she is only slightly overweight. However, if seriously overweight or obese, she should seek medical advice. Overweight can also be helped by techniques such as EFT and NLP, which address the emotional causes of overeating.


Irrespective of the size of the problem, there are plenty of different approaches to tackling weight gain and women can find a way that suits them, whatever their age and lifestyle. Women and weight gain do not necessarily have to go together. © Waller Jamison 2007

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