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Does menopause mean I can't lose weight?


This post was written by Peony Lane

I’ve been looking into the subject of menopause and weight gain ­ or indeed, a stubborn inability to lose weight despite our best attempts.

It seems that many women think that menopause and weight gain are linked ¯ and that there’s nothing they can do about it.

Research does seem to indicate that while it’s true that we do become weight loss resistant during perimenopause, there are plenty of things we can do to counteract it.

Start by thinking about when, where, and how you eat. These factors affect both our hormonal balance and the way our body stores fat and builds muscle.  A diet that reduces carbohydrates (like bread and potatoes) and is rich in proteins and fats is good for all your hormones, including major hormones like cortisol and insulin, as well as minor, but important, hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

A diet that’s high in processed foods and sugar, but low in nutrients can disorientate your hormonal balance. A high-carb diet encourages your body to produce excess insulin, which can lead to instability in blood sugar and create a “sugar rush” followed by a “sugar crash.” These fluctuations can sometimes trigger an overproduction of your stress response hormone, cortisol.

When you have consistently high levels of the major hormones, cortisol and insulin,  it can lead to eating more and gaining weight.

And from what the research indicates, weight gain itself leads to increased levels of sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone in the body. We tend to think that fat tissue just “sits there” on our bodies, but instead, it’s actively producing hormones (mostly estrogen), which increases the amount of circulating sex hormones. Imbalances in sex hormones can lead to gaining even more weight and stronger weight loss resistance. And this recurring loop of cause and effect becomes especially apparent after menopause.

By changing what you eat and how, you can help naturally reset the balance between your major and minor hormones, easing your hormones back into balance. With the burden of hormonal imbalance lifted, your body can release the stubborn weight it’s holding  on to.

And, by the sound of things, a more balanced sex drive!

That’s something for the weekend if ever I heard it

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