Role of Hormones in Fat Deposition in Both Men and Women

At a glance, there is actually something different between male and female bodies. We tend to overlook the differences when we focus our minds on exercise and diet for the purpose of fat burning. It is believed that once people get over the age of twenty and enter the thirty and above age bracket, the rule of eating less and working out more stops working. In this case, women are always found on the receiving ends.

What could be the difference between these two genders? What actually determines where fat is deposited in women and what should be done to effectively deal with these unique fitness and fat loss issues?

Distinctions between Men and Women

Normally, women have small waists with more fat deposits on their thighs, hips and breasts. Progesterone and estrogen play a vital role in this. While estrogen causes fat to accumulate around the thighs and hips, both progesterone and estrogen have a greater influence on the breasts. On the other hand, men have lean arms and legs and most of their fat is deposited around the middles attributing to the presence of testosterone.

Since women’s bodies experience monthly hormone variations due to the menstrual cycle, they are in the best position to understand the role hormones play in determining how the look, feel and function. It is therefore natural for them to accept the fact that storing or burning fat and where it is gained or lost is actually determined by hormones in their bodies. In order to understand what makes women different from men, you must have knowledge on their hormones.

A Brief Menstrual Cycle Review


There is no way one can talk about fat loss in women without prior knowledge of their menstrual cycle. A woman’s menstrual cycle is represented by her first day’s bleeding. This cycle can occur in two phases – the follicular (ovarian follicle maturity) and luteal (corpeus luteum – what becomes of the ovarian follicles after ovulation). Ovulation, which refers to the process where an egg is released from the ovaries, is actually what separates the two phases. During the follicular phase women experience enhanced levels of estrogen as compared to progesterone. On the other hand, during the luteal phase, the reverse happens. Proportional ratios of the two hormones can influence women’s health and fat loss.

Progesterone and Estrogen Balance

In order to measure the amount of fat loss in women, you will need to consider estrogen and progesterone balance and how they interact with insulin or cortisol. By looking at a man’s belly girth, you can understand something little about the levels of his testosterone. In women, huge hips and thighs indicate the presence of increased estrogen levels in relation to progesterone. Larger breasts, small thighs and hips could be an indication of the opposite.

Progesterone and Estrogen

Another important indicator of hormonal balance in women is the menstrual cycle. Before menstruation occurs, progesterone is known to be dominant. Thus, PMS strongly suggests a deficiency in progesterone in relation to estrogen. It is good to note that absolute deficiency isn’t the same as relative deficiency.

A woman can experience progesterone that is higher than normal levels but still exhibit a relative deficiency provided there is a much higher level of estrogen in comparison. A women who has a low level of progesterone in relation to estrogen will feel as being completely someone else before ovulation (during the first 2 weeks of the cycle) as compared to after ovulation (during the last 2 weeks of the cycle), when this feeling gets aggravated. During these times, a woman will feel depressed, moody, fatigued, bloated, uninspired and breast tenderness among other complications.

Distribution of Fat in Women

Both estrogen and progesterone play a part in making the size of a woman’s waist to be small. This is attributed to the fact that estrogen influences insulin activities and testosterone, a hormone responsible for visceral fat storage in women while at the same time, in conjunction with progesterone, opposing cortisol activities. Cortisol, insulin and testosterone and low levels of estrogen play a role in deposition of belly fat in women. Estrogen plays a major role in increased fat accumulation around the hips and thighs causing an hour-glass silhouette. Both estrogen and progesterone hinders fat deposition around the waist; however, stress can result into a more serious impact on the activities of progesterone.

Heightened stress has been known to have a negative impact on progesterone; hence, a woman who experiences accumulation of fat around the waist may decide to do something to manage the stress and increase progesterone.

Hormone Changes in Women

Age, surrounding and lifestyle also play a role in hormonal changes in women. In most cases, women tend to believe the myth about low calorie and aerobic exercise. The approach rarely works for them and consequently, causing injuries to their bodies. As a woman advances in age due to stress or due to environmental estrogen impersonating compounds, a number of things start to occur. Production of estrogen and progesterone by the ovaries is decreased. This aggravates the progesterone and estrogen balance resulting into an estrogen dominant body. Since you now understand the effects of estrogen, you can now tell the influence hormones have on our bodyweights!

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