Not fair is it? We edge to a particular age and then we begin to grow our menopausal middle. Folk who never carried excess weight begin to and those who had a little extra find losing it pretty tough. In addition to lowering calorific intake and exercising (which we all know!), you also need to balance hormones. The difficulty is, the menopausal metabolism is by very definition an imbalanced hormone state compared to what it was in younger years.
Here are a few basics regarding your hormones: Insulin is a fat storing and muscle-building hormone. Even if you achieve a calorie shortfall, if you have too much insulin around you may lose weight, but that weight will be far less likely to be fat. Cortisol is a stress hormone and it along with insulin causes fat storage around the middle. Even if you achieve calorie reduction, like insulin, it makes it more likely you burn muscle along with fat.
Unfortunately, if you don’t succeed in lowering calories, both hormones almost assure those calories will store as fat and especially around the middle. If you are menopausal you know what I mean!
Oestrogen is a hormone that works against insulin and cortisol. Progesterone has little impact on insulin but does fight against cortisol. These two hormones are the reason women have an easier time staying leaner when they are young and have that hourglass shape that makes the female physique so beautiful.
At menopause, when these two hormones reduce, the female metabolic rate will slow down so you need to balance your metabolism. It becomes more carbohydrate sensitive due to insulin; so reduce foods that are quickly converted to glucose (sugar) in your body including fruit and juices, alcohol etc. Finally, you become more stress reactive so minimising stress is important; regular exercise is good but too much creates stress and high cortisol.
Protein is key during the menopause as are the correct good fats, so eat good quality wild oily fish, seeds and nuts in small amounts. Keep fruits and all sugars (especially artificial sweeteners which cause further havoc during menopause) to a minimum and exercise sensibly. Maintain a small amount of starchy vegetables or wholegrain foods at one meal only.
Stress itself is a big player in all ages as initially stress hormones are elevated (cortisol) and if the stress persists progesterone drops. If it continues, oestrogen falls next and along with this insulin issues begin to surface and fat gain occurs right around the middle just like in menopause. Balance is the key and stress reducing exercise and relaxation is as important as working out.
If you would like to know more and understand your unique metabolism and how to adjust, consider a Full Health MOT to rebalance your body, and test your hormone status as well as vitamin, mineral and Essential Fats deficiencies. Call Gail on 01249 818758