Menopause Weight Gain: How To Get Rid Of It
Exercise Physiologist, Carol Espel explains that Things shift when you start to go through menopause, but your ability to shape that is in your hands. Theres something you can do about it! Carol is the Fitness and Program Director at Pritikin Longevity Center who works with many guests, men and women, struggling with belly fat, and knows exactly what works. Newer science says going through menopause doesnt have to involve weight gain.
Weight Loss Tips: How To Loss Weight And Belly Fat Naturally
Apart from the listed supplements above that help to serve as cortisol and weight gain treatment, there are also some beneficial tips that you can make use of.
- You must ensure that you do not skip meals. This is important in order to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Consume adequate protein which will help to raise your metabolism.
- You should also add foods that contain fiber and healthy fats into your diet. Some of these foods include kale, garlic, broccoli, lean proteins, and omega 3-rich flaxseed oil, among others.
- It is advisable that you find a way to reduce the daily stress you go through.
- Always get enough sleep at night. It is recommended that you get about 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
- Lastly, always exercise regularly. This will help to burn calories, reduce the effect of stress, and boost your metabolism.
How To Get Cortisol Under Control
Tips for maintaining healthy, balanced cortisol levels include the following:
- Consider what relaxes you. Is it meditation? A walk in the park? A bubble bath? Engaging in a creative project? Find what relieves stress for you, and integrate it into your daily routine.
- Exercise regularly, and give yoga a try if its not already part of your workout regimen. The synchronized breathwork that accompanies a nice, flowing vinyasa routine calms the nervous system and reduces cortisol all while giving your body and mind a thorough workout.
- Listen to your favorite music. A 2011 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that patients who listened to instrumental music during surgery had lower cortisol levels than a control group.
- Get enough sleep at night. Have you ever noticed how easily stressed and anxious you become on days when youre sleep deprived? This happens because during a night of deep, restorative sleep, your body is working to balance all hormones, including cortisol. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine explored how sleep deprivation impacted helicopter pilots on a 7-day emergency medical duty. Findings suggested it was sleep deprivation not the act of emergency medical care that elevated adrenaline and cortisol levels.
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The Link Between Hormonal Imbalance And Weight Gain
Underlying health issues and getting older can both cause hormonal fluctuations, making you feel less than your best. A hormonal imbalance can even cause weight gain, along with a few other unpleasant side effects.
Our dedicated primary practitioner, Gordon Hart, PA-C, at Balance Hormone Center, promotes healthy hormone balancing using gentle and effective methods. These compassionate treatments include holistic solutions to help rebalance everything your body needs to stay active, happy, and healthy.
Hormones Incidental In Weight Gain
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hormones can control everything from metabolism and energy levels to growth and development. Hormones play a role in weight, experts told USA TODAY but they are not the primary driver of weight gain, as the post claims.
Dr. Artur Viana, clinical director of the Metabolic Health & Weight Loss Program at Yale University, said that while hormones are involved in obesity, they are not the sole cause. Robert Lustig, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco, told USA TODAY theres an ongoing debate in the nutrition field over the extent to which hormones contribute to obesity.
Is obesity a problem of energy balance, or is obesity a problem of energy storage? he said. If its a problem of energy balance, its all about calories. If its about energy storage, then the question is: Whats storing it? And the answer is one of two hormones: insulin and cortisol.
For example, when blood sugar rises, the hormone insulin goes up, allowing sugar to exit the blood and enter cells where it is needed. But when cells receive more sugar than they need, fat begins to accumulate. However, insulin itself doesn’t cause weight gain.
Lustig’s recommendation for people looking to lose weight is simple: Stop eating sugar.
Thats numbers one, two and three, he said. Get rid of the sugar, get rid of the sugar, get rid of the sugar.
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How You Can Stop Hormonal Weight Gain
The best way to stop hormonal weight gain is to have your particular imbalance diagnosed and then treated by an endocrinologist. However, there are things you can do yourself that might improve your condition.
- Prioritize your sleep and engage in good sleep habits.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- Cut out sources of stress wherever possible.
- Take supplements that support hormonal health.
- Exercise often and switch up the types of exercise you do.
If you want to support your battle against hormones and weight gain with surgery, Dr. Jalil is here to help. Whether you want to go ahead and schedule or discuss the effects of obesity on joint pain, we are ready to work with you.
How Can I Lose Hormonal Weight Gain
Generally, the accepted way to lose weight is through the CICO diet, which stands for “calories in, calories out.” This approach estimates the calories that will meet your nutritional needs. However, if your body has a hormonal imbalance, calculating your calorie intake won’t be very helpful for you. If the scale is not moving after all your efforts, it may be time to try a new approach.
As you age, maintaining a healthier body weight becomes challenging. Most women gain weight as they transition into menopause. While youll likely gain weight during menopause, you can reverse and control this by adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes exercising more often.
Several healthy lifestyle strategies can help you lose hormonal weight:
1. Exercise more
Being more physically active can help you shed extra pounds. Exercise can include vigorous aerobic activity , walking an average of 150 minutes every week, jogging, swimming, and strength training. Strength training doesnt burn as many calories as cardio, but it improves muscle mass, directly contributing to your health and metabolism.
2. Be mindful of your nutrition
To gradually lose hormonal weight and maintain your ideal weight, you may have to reduce your calorie intake while monitoring the nutritional value of your food. Avoid processed foods and sugars. Eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as fiber keeps your digestive system healthy.
3. Limit your alcohol intake
4. Get enough sleep
Focus On Lean Muscle Mass
As we age, many of us focus on cardiovascular physical activity, such as walking or running. However, its critically important we retain our lean muscle mass, as the more muscle mass we have, the more effective we are at burning calories, as well as burning fat, Carol explains. The most effective and lasting results for improved body composition come from regular strength training and a cardio strategy that includes both steady state-exercise and high-intensity interval training . Put all of this together on a regular basis, and youll set yourself up for long term success and sustained longevity.
Keep Portions In Check And Time Your Meals Right
Your metabolism has slowed down by the time you hit menopause with some research suggesting it burns a couple hundred calories fewer a day. You can very quickly avoid 200 calories, but that can also very quickly add up if you dont reduce the number of calories you consume, says Christine Palumbo, RD, a nutrition expert in Chicago.
Its also this time in your life, Palumbo notes, when you may be easing up from the daily duties of preparing meals for your family, and you just want to take a break from the kitchen. She has cooked for 25 years, and is sick of it, and she just wants to go out to eat, says Palumbo. What happens then is that you will inevitably eat twice as many calories as you need at that meal, and its often accompanied by alcohol, which is also associated with abdominal weight gain. Order appetizers as entrees and ask for a to-go container for leftovers when you do indulge in a large main course.
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Change In Exercise Or Diet
Maintaining a moderate level of exercise is vital for many reasons. It can help lower stress, burn calories, build strength and help release tension. If you havent exercised in a while, you might find that you have higher stress hormone levels of cortisol.
Cortisol is activated when we feel stressed and sends signals to the body to store more fat. By cutting out exercise, you may develop a hormone imbalance contributing to your lower belly fat. Eating sugary and fatty foods while cutting out the proper nutrients you need can also cause hormone imbalances of ghrelin and leptin, causing you to eat even more.
Estrogen Dominance And Belly Fat
Estrogen dominance causes weight gain around the belly, butt, thighs, and hips. Worse news: fat cells produce even more estrogen. When the body is estrogen dominant:
- Hypothyroidism slows the bodys metabolism.
- Abdominal tissues retain more water causing bloating to be a constant issue.
- Unnatural insulin release results in constant hunger and food cravings for sweets.
Heres what happens when the amount of progesterone circulating within the body is elevated to a level that is sufficient to neutralize the underlying condition of estrogen dominance:
- The hypothyroid condition is eliminated. In other words, bioidentical progesterone triggers a metabolic response allowing weight loss to occur.
- When progesterone is added back into the body via bioidentical progesterone cream, it acts as a natural diuretic, thereby reducing the bloating.
- When progesterone and estrogen levels are re-balanced, insulin release is tempered.
The result: normalized blood sugar levels and reduced food cravings.
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How Can I Balance The Hormones That Affect Weight
Once you understand the various hormones roles in your body, you will see how to balance them.
Insulin plays a key role in weight loss and weight gain. Secreted in the pancreas, insulin stores sugar and uses it depending on the bodys needs. The hormone stores fat and decides how much fat the body will hold or convert to energy.
To maintain balanced insulin levels and avoid insulin resistance, eat regularly, but dont eat too much. Reducing your carbohydrate intake can also keep your insulin stable. Increased insulin levels eventually lead to weight gain.
Leptin is the appetite suppressant hormone. Ideally, this hormone “talks” to your brain, telling it when you are hungry or full.
Just like insulin, keeping leptin levels balanced requires you to be on top of your diet. Remember to eat less processed sugar, include more fiber, exercise more, and consume anti-inflammatory foods.
Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. It sends signals to the brain telling it to eat. Every time the stomach is empty, the body releases ghrelin into the bloodstream.
One way to keep ghrelin levels balanced is to consume more protein. Protein makes you feel full, so you should incorporate it into every meal.
Cortisol is the stress hormone. Whenever your body is under any form of stress, it releases cortisol into the bloodstream. Studies have linked high levels of cortisol to overeating.
Getting To Know Ghrelin
You can think of ghrelin as your hunger hormone. Like leptin, it communicates with the brain in this case, telling your brain to eat. Every time your stomach becomes empty, it naturally releases ghrelin into your bloodstream. Ghrelin levels are lowest just after youve finished a meal. Theyre at their highest when the stomach is empty and youre ready for your next meal. This scenario is normal when a person is healthy and maintaining optimal weight.
An overweight person, on the other hand, will find that like the other hormones weve explored ghrelin levels are typically out of whack. In healthy individuals, ghrelin levels decrease in a way that satiates them and signals their brains to stop eating. But in obese individuals, ghrelin levels dont decrease enough after eating, which fails to send the brain the signal it needs to stop eating and feel satisfied.
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How Perimenopause Impacts Weight Gain
During perimenopause which typically starts around age 40 your estrogen levels start to fluctuate, so your body starts to look for an estrogen replacement and finds one in fat, which produces estrone, the weakest version of the three types of estrogen, which also include estradiol and estriol.
“Fat is a source of estrogen,” DePree said. “So the body is very efficient in providing a ‘replacement’ . . . the body deposits fat very readily, especially in the midsection.”
Food and nutritional supplements can’t replace estradiol, the strongest of the three forms of estrogen. The only way to get it back is with hormone replacement therapy, which comes with some health risks.
DePree pointed out that losing estrogen already increases your risk of developing heart disease and Type II diabetes, and adding weight gain to that just makes your risks greater. “Entering the menopause transition, or perimenopause, at an ideal body weight is very important in reducing the likelihood of having a chronic disease in menopause.”
How To Lose Hormonal Weight Gain
Losing hormonal weight gain starts with finding the hormones affecting your weight. If you have an imbalance caused by an underlying medical issue, getting the right diagnosis and treatment will also be necessary.
Generally, any weight loss goal requires lifestyle changes that include the following strategies:
- A change in diet to reduce calories
- A daily program to maintain activity levels
- Behavior strategies to encourage commitment
- Adequate nightly sleep
Working with fitness professionals can help you find exercises for hormonal weight gain to target areas where you have excess weight.
Medications or hormonal weight gain supplements may also be advised. They can reset hormone levels, treat the effects of abnormal levels, or control underlying problems. Some common treatments include:
- Ovarian cyst surgery for PCOS
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Reduce Your Calorie Intake
This is one of the most commonly told pieces of advice in regards to weight loss. A big part of why many people dont lose their excess weight is because they are eating more calories than they need. For some, this might mean reducing your current calorie intake by 100-200 calories and for others, it may be 300-500 depending on your current diet and how active you are.
Obesity Hormones As A Risk Factor For Disease
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and several types of cancer, and with decreased longevity and lower quality of life. For example, the increased production of oestrogens in the fat of older women who are obese is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk, indicating that the source of oestrogen production is important.
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How Is Hormonal Weight Gain Diagnosed
An evaluation with an endocrinologist can help determine if a hormonal condition is the underlying cause of weight gain. Declining estrogen, adrenal disorders, hormonal resistance, thyroid imbalance, and several other hormonal imbalances can lead to weight gain. Laboratory tests give endocrinologists insight to hormonal imbalances when combined with your symptoms and presentation, but it doesnt always tell the whole story. Blood and urine results can be influenced by many things. For this reason, we suggest special evaluations to see how metabolic information relates to the lab data.
Your High Estrogen Levels Are Expanding Your Fat Cells
Although estrogen is responsible for making women uniquely women, it’s also the hormone that can be the most troublesome in the fat department. At normal levels, estrogen actually helps keep you lean by goosing the production of insulin, a hormone that manages blood sugar. When estrogen gets thrown off, though, it turns you into a weight-gain machine.
Here’s how: When you eat, your blood sugar rises. Like a bodyguard, insulin lowers it by escorting glucose into three different places in your body. When insulin is in good working formnot too high and not too lowit sends a small amount of glucose to your liver, a large amount to your muscles to use as fuel, and little to none for fat storage.
If you’re healthy and in good shape, your pancreas produces exactly the right amount of insulin to have your blood sugar softly rise and fall within a narrow range . But when your estrogen levels climb, the cells that produce insulin become strained, and you can become insulin resistant.
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That’s when insulin starts to usher less glucose to the liver and muscles, raising the levels of sugar in your bloodstream and ultimately storing the glucose as fat. Your fat tissue can expand by as much as four times to accommodate the storage of glucose.
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How To Fix Your Hormones And Lose Weight
Ive hit a stubborn weight-loss plateau, writes this weeks house call, even though I seem to be doing everything right, like eating the right foods and exercising. How can I overcome that obstacle?
Ive discussed different reasons for weight-loss resistance in past blogs. Many obstacles have nothing to do with what you eat or how much you exercise. Instead, they involve things like nutritional imbalances, chronic inflammation, metabolic challenges, leaky gut, changes in your microbiome, environmental toxins and your genes.
One huge but often-overlooked reason for weight-loss resistance involves hormonal imbalances.
No contest: The monster hormone that causes weight gain, inflammation and chronic disease is excess insulin. Think of this hormone as your fat cell fertilizer! My new book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, discusses how to naturally regulate insulin so you can shift your body from fat storage mode to fat-burning mode.
At the same time, insulin isnt the only player other hormones also affect your weight and health. Three big disruptors are: thyroid, cortisol and sex hormones. I discuss these hormones in-depth in The Blood Sugar Solution, however, lets briefly look at each of them here.
A common cause of hypothyroidism is gluten intolerance.
Sex Hormone Imbalances