Are you gaining weight even with diet and exercise? Are all your little tricks to drop a few pounds failing you? Does it seem like all your clothes are shrinking?
Argh frustrating isn’t it?At one time or another most of us gain a few and want to lose a few pounds (with the exception of that annoying friend you’ve had since college who eats whatever she wants and is still skinny!). The reality is maintaining or losing weight at any age can be challenging. The bummer is the older you get the more difficult it can become.
Research shows 90% of women gain weight between the ages of 35 and 55. It’s no coincidence this timeframe correlates with the time our hormones are in decline.The average woman’s weight gain is generally gradual, about a pound a year starting in perimenopause.
This may not seem like a big deal until all of sudden you are 15-20 pounds heavier than you ever thought you’d be. Women who have had a hysterectomy generally gain weight at an even faster pace. To add insult to injury, menopause weight gain tends to be located on your abdomen as opposed to your hips, thighs, or butt.
Abdominal fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers.Regardless if they are gaining weight or not, some women may also experience discomfort as a result of constant bloating and constipation.
So fun…Hormones, bloating and weight gain are closely related. If your hormones are out of balance, you are probably fighting a losing battle in maintaining your desired weight. All that calorie counting and discipline may not get you where you want to be and hormonal imbalance and adrenal fatigue may make you resistant to losing any weight all.
As women move towards menopause and ultimately stop ovulating, estrogen levels significantly diminish. Since our body can no longer find estrogen in the ovaries, it looks for other sources of estrogen. Fat cells are one of these sources. The body starts to convert more calories into fat in an effort to increase estrogen production. Well guess what? This means more fat and weight gain.
Testosterone:Testosterone is responsible for helping to build and maintain muscle mass. Since muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body, the more muscle you have the more calories you “burn”. Therefore, maintaining muscle mass is vitally important in regulating metabolism and ultimately for losing and maintaining weight.
Don’t get discouraged! Most women find that once they get their hormones balanced and follow a sensible protocol of good nutrition and exercise they can actually lose and maintain their desired weight.
Testosterone is also a regulator of fat, sugar, and protein metabolism. Testosterone decreases insulin levels. Because high levels of insulin inhibit the breakdown of fat, decreasing insulin levels can support weight loss.
Lowered levels of progesterone will not actually cause weight gain, but can contribute to feeling bloated and constipation. Many women liken these uncomfortable symptoms to those of PMS when they feel like they are gaining weight but in reality are retaining water.
Thyroid:Hypothyroidism (low/underactive thyroid) can affect as many as 1 in 7 adults and is much more common in women than in men. Recent studies suggest that millions suffer from thyroid problems that go undiagnosed. The reference ranges being utilized by the majority of doctors are too wide for achieving optimal health. For this reason, it is imperative to go to an experienced healthy aging doctor who understands how to properly test thyroid and read results.Unexpected weight gain and difficulty losing weight may be one of the first noticeable signals that you’re struggling with hypothyroidism. Reduced thyroid function may be the result of the thyroid’s impaired ability to produce hormones, or the body may have difficulty utilizing the thyroid hormones.
Either way, problems with the thyroid hormones may cause the metabolic rate (the rate at which your body uses nutrients) to slow down.Women are especially likely to develop thyroid issues and experience weight gain because the thyroid is linked to other systems that affect weight — namely proper functioning of the sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) and the adrenal glands.
Adrenal fatigue can lead to weight gain because stress hormones block weight loss. When a woman is experiencing persistent stress, her body goes into the “fight or flight” response and stores unused calories as fat. This combined with poor diet and lack of sleep can make it difficult for your body to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
Hypothyroidism may create more risk than smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. Women with untreated hypothyroidism are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack.
Symptoms of hypo (low) thyroid:
• Weight Gain
• Foggy thinking
• Dry hair & skin, Hair loss
• Increased “bad” cholesterol (LDL’s)
• Heart disease
• Puffiness around the eyes & face