As with most forms of weight gain it’s not usually a single factor that’s to blame, but it’s multi-layered. Female hormones have complex functions in the body and this includes weight control. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 90% of menopausal women will experience weight gain to some degree.
Hormone influence on fat cells
Research suggests the hormonal changes through perimenopause substantially contribute to the increase in abdominal fat which leads to serious health concerns. A recent study co-authored by the Mayo Clinic discovered why the drop in oestrogen levels causes weight gain. The results of the study revealed when oestrogen levels are reduced, proteins cause fat cells to store more fat. The body also becomes less efficient at using starches and blood sugar, making it much harder for women to lose weight. These cellular changes not only encourage fat accumulation but they also slow down the fat-burning by the body.
You will begin to notice that these few kilos will show themselves around your waistline – going from the classic pear shape to a more rounded apple shape.
- While you need some fat for hormone health, too much leads cardiovascular disease and obesity
- Increased belly fat means increased cortisol and insulin that lead to cravings and increased hunger
- Women experience lower progesterone and oestrogen, but higher testosterone which accelerates growth around mid-section
- Lowered oestrogen levels decrease handling of stress which leads to increased cortisol production in your body while insulin resistance can also occur. This also contributes to weight gain
- A decrease in oestrogen and progesterone can increase your appetite and cause you to eat up to 67% more making it difficult to get rid of stored fat during and after menopause
Factors contributing to weight gain
- Working out more and eating less could make the problem worse
- Your body is under stress already due to menopause and hormonal imbalance
- When you over exercise you stress out a body that is already stressed
- Also many women think eating less food will cause weight loss, however metabolic disruption is unhealthy for weight loss
- Neglecting yourself by not finding time for meditation to rest the mind and body can lead to emotional eating
- Not getting enough sleep to allow your body to repair and recover and also lead to increased appetite
Positive changes that contribute to weight loss
- Practice daily self-care and take time to restock, destress, unwind and decrease stress levels
- Sleep enough and deeply by meditating twice daily
- Develop a meaningful exercise program with aerobic and strength training combination
- Realise that you are not alone, and all women experience these changes and take note that this is a life style change, and everything must be long-term focused
A healthy diet to manage weight means:
- Avoiding processed foods
- Eating lots of fruits and vegetables each day
- Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water (2 litres per day)
- Avoiding sugary drinks, and alcohol
- Including whole grains and lean proteins along with healthful plant-based fats
We’d love to hear your thoughts.