One of the most common symptoms that women experience as they move through menopause is weight gain which is difficult to shift. There are many different reasons why women put on weight (it is often a combination of these):
Lowered Thyroid Function – the thyroid controls your metabolism. Your ability to utilise energy from your food and the storage of extra energy as fat stores. Over 60% of women have an under functioning thyroid by the time that they reach menopause. One of the most significant impacts of lowered thyroid function is excess weight, particularly around the hips and thighs. The primary causes of lowered thyroid function is high levels of stress, dietary choices and nutrient deficiencies.
Insulin Resistance – Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels and triggers the conversion of excess sugar in the blood to fat stores. Insulin Resistance can become diabetes if it is not managed properly. The primary cause of insulin resistance is poor diet choices e.g highly processed foods, sugar and alcohol. Weight held around the stomach area is often related to insulin resistance.
Stress – is a major driver of weight gain. When the body is in a constant state of stress and cortisol (stress hormone) is high the body will shut down some digestive functions and store excess energy as fat. This is a primitive response from the time that humans wandered the earth as cave people. In times of famine or under extreme stress, the body conserved it’s energy stores to survive. Unfortunately your body still responds in the same manner even though we now live in a time where there is plenty of food. High cortisol also causes excess weight to be held around the waist.
Oestrogen Receptors – women not only have oestrogen receptors within their reproductive organs they also have them in their fat stores. This is another primitive response to ensure that women have enough oestrogen to get them through a pregnancy in times when there isn’t enough food available. If your oestrogen levels drop too fast (this will happen if you are highly stressed) your body will hold onto the oestrogen that is stored within your fat cells. This is one of the reasons why it is harder to lose weight.
Dietary Choices – unfortunately the dietary choices of women as they move through menopause are not always the best. Alcohol and high sugar foods are the main culprits, as well as eating too much. You don’t need to be eating as much food (particularly protein) if you are no longer having a regular period, this is because your body is not preparing for a pregnancy every month. Using alcohol and food to alleviate the feelings of stress, only stress the body more and cause the ongoing cycle of weight gain.
It is not all bad news, it is possible to lose those extra kilos but it might take a bit of change on your part.
- to reduce insulin increase your vegetable intake and reduce sugar and alcohol
- to increase thyroid function increase your vegetables and iodine foods (seaweed and sea vegetables), reduce gluten and grain foods, reduce sugar and alcohol
- increase oestrogen by decreasing stress and consuming phyto-oestrogen foods – soya beans, sesame seeds, flaxseeds (see my blog on Seed Cycling)
- reduce stress by eating and living well, reduce sugar and alcohol (are you seeing a trend here?)
- eat right for your body type, take a personalised approach to your diet and lifestyle (to learn more about Genetic Based Personalised Health click HERE and watch videos 2, 3 and 4)
The embrace program is a personalised health and lifestyle program created to help you to look and feel great. With a combination of personal consultations and group calls you will get the support that you need to create the life that you want to live whether that is to lose those extra kilos or to live without hot flushes. To learn more click HERE the next round of the program kicks off soon.