All of us worry about that stubborn fat around our thighs, tummy or hips. But instead of working out endlessly and trying to go on various diets to get rid of that ugly fat, here is a much simpler option – relax! Deanne Panday, celebrity trainer and author of ‘Shut Up and Train!’ believes that the culprit is our hormones (oestrogen and progesterone). In addition to this fact, even small changes in our environment, the way we eat, how much we sleep and exercise – all play a role in determining the amount of fat we accumulate. She says, ‘oestrogen and progesterone are hormones produced by a woman’s ovaries and are vital to their health. These two hormones exist in a delicate balance, and when that delicate balance is thrown off, various health complications can ensue. They play an important role in keeping the waist of a woman tiny and melting away fat in major problem areas like the hips and thighs.’ (Read: Just shut up and train! (Exclusive interview with celeb trainer Deanne Panday)) According to her, oestrogen works against the action of insulin and progesterone works against cortisol. When both insulin and cortisol are produced in excess, they lead to the retention of fat – essentially around the belly. When it comes to your hips and thighs Deanne says, ‘Oestrogen is the main hormone that increases fat around the hips and thighs. But progesterone works with oestrogen to stop this. When a woman is stressed this natural process does not occur. High stress levels means higher levels of cortisol, which in turn depresses the level of progesterone. So if you are a woman and you see fat accumulating around your waist, you need to de-stress and raise the progesterone levels in your body. (Read: What you need to do before starting a fitness regime — excerpt from Shut Up and Train!) How to increase your oestrogen levels Oestrogen levels are raised when you have a healthy diet that contains proteins and good carbohyderates in balanced proportions. Another factor is age. As we age we tend to accumulate more hormone mimicking chemicals in our body. This leads to an imbalance and we eventually end up producing lesser amounts of the essential hormones – oestrogen and progesterone. According to Deanne, having shapely thighs and a tiny waist are the result of a combination of eating right, de-stressing and living clean. All these habits help to put your hormones back in synch with each other, reducing your waist size in turn. She says, ‘Isn’t it nice to know that you don’t have to bust your bottom on the treadmill to lose fat on your hips and thighs? Instead just eat right, lift weights to increase HGH (human growth hormone) and spend a day shopping, or at the spa. Do yoga take up Thai Chi, de-stress – you hips and thighs will thank you for it’.