Often I come across women post 40 struggling to lose weight esp before, during, and after they hit menopause. So many factors can hinder your weight loss progress and I understand that this could be stressful. Many reasons can cause this program. A few like hormonal changes in the body, increased stress levels, lack of exercising, disturbed sleep and many more.
Why Menopause period causes a hindrance to your weight loss
1. Hormones Play a Role:
Estrogen levels can be a contributing factor in weight loss, increased or decreased levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain. Also, if you have a stressful lifestyle, cortisol is one such hormone that can lead to weight gain too.
2. No workouts:
If you are not exercising enough, or not working out at least 3-5 times a week. Due to shift in hormonal levels, your body is likely to lose muscle mass, and that can lead to problems in weight loss or you can experience weight gain.
3. Sleep or disturbed sleep:
You need a sufficient 08 hour sound sleep to be able to activate the right hormones in your body to be able to lose weight right. In case for any reason if you have disturbed sleep then you may find your weighing machine showing an increase in weight.
4. Additional hormones pills/ hormonal devices:
Many a time your gynecologist can recommend you or put you on hormonal therapy or a hormonal IUD which can also become a contributing factor in hindering your weight loss. Try to check with your doctor on the implications of having these medicines or using hormones-based IUD over your weight.
5. Hidden insulin problems:
Insulin is yet another hormone that can stop the progress of your weight loss. Consistent food abuse to your body and too high sugar intake can lead to insulin resistivity which can lead to the constant release of insulin which becomes an issue to weight loss.
Fat burning and Fat storing hormones
If you want to understand how to lose weight, it’s important how your body functions via hormones.
Fat Storing Hormones are:
- Insulin: During digestion, insulin stimulates muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose. The cells either use this glucose for energy or convert it into fat for long-term storage. Thats why people who are diabetic also accumates fat more and fall under overweight or obese category.
- Cortisol: When you’re under stress, your body boosts production of the hormone cortisol. Chronic stress and persistently high cortisol levels may be associated with increased appetite and weight gain. Therefore its important to keep your cortisol levels maintained or low so that you dont store fat or let cortisol hinder the progress of your weight loss.
- Leptin: Leptin also impacts weight loss esp when leptin levels of the hormone fall. This stimulates a huge appetite and increased food intake. The hormone helps us to maintain our normal weight.
- Ghrelin: Ghrelin is a hunger hormone, increased levels may increase your apetite and eventually you may ewnd up eating more while you follow a diet.
- Eostrogen: Both high or low levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain. Estrogen can trigger insulin thus leading to insulin resistivity. This happens esp in post-menopausal women.
- Neuropeptide: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is expressed in the hypothalamus, stimulates food intake, decreases energy expenditure, and increases body weight when its levels increases.
Hormones and their roles on fat
Fat Burning Hormones are:
- T3 Hormone (Triiodothyronine): An inadequate levels of T3 is a major contributing factor in weight gain. As T3 is primarily responsible for maintaining basal metabolic rate. When our body is able to produce sufficient amount of T3, our body is able to maintain a healthy weight.
- Growth Hormone: Growth hormone is one of the most important hormone responsible for weight loss. It is released in our body in 2 instances, when we exercise and when we sleep esp midnight and early morning. Therefore, helping us burn fat while we sleep.
- IGF: Insulin like Growth Factor is tightly regulated by a feedback loop involving Growth hormone. Since its one of the most important precursor in the release for growth hormone, hence it helps in stimulating fat release or stopping fat stores.
- Glucagon: Glucagon counteracts the actions of insulin by stimulating hepatic glucose production and thereby increases blood glucose levels.This hormone works when insuline is not secreted in our blood stream therefore responsible to control blood sugar when we do not eat. Its healthy levels means our body will not gain weight.
- Testosterone: A constant maintenance of this hormone means the body will be able to loss fat and sustain fat loss. Testosterone levels drops down in menopausal women thus directly impacting weight gain.
- Adrenaline: This hormone is release by adrenal gland. Worn out adrenals can cause a deficiency in release of this hormone and thus not helping you lose weight. Adrenaline is released even when you exercise, therefore exercising is a goode remedy to activate this hormone.
How to efficiently lose fat post 40 if you are a woman:
Its critical to put your best foot forward while you are hitting menopause or has already hit menopause. Its important to eat right and workout right in order to maintain a healthy weight. Here are a few points to keep in mind to lose weight in the right way:
1. Eat Sufficient Proteins
Its important to learn how to calculate how much proteins do you need daily. Its calculated by multiplying the per kg body weight value and then then managing it with your daily intake through multiple sources. Check this chart for reference:
2. Exercise Regularly/ Strength Training
Its important to optimize the right form of exercise. During menopause phase, women end up losing about 20% of their body muscle mass. And the only way to stop this is to include strength training or weight training workouts atleast for 2-4 days a week routine. Put your muscles under stress by taking the muscles to reach hypertrophy (micro-brackage of muscle fibres while you exercise) in order to growth muscle mass.
Your can either choose to workout a strength circuit that can be repeated 3-5 times based on your fitness levels or you can choose a full body strength training workout to do 2-3 sets of each exercise. Making it a 30-40 mins of moderate intensity workout to burn fat/ maintain muscle mass.
3. Meditate Regularly and religiously
Meditation induces calm and helps you relax all your tensed muscles and eases fat-storing hormones like insulin and cortisol. Including a 10-15 mins meditating routine is enough to relax and keep your mind sane. If possible also learn and implement mindfulness in your routine to gain positively towards good health too. You can choose multiple channels or apps to include meditation to relax you and bring peace and calm to your life.
4. Avoid the following:
Avoid anything that can be aiding fat storing hormones like chocolates, diet soda, junk food, food low on fibre content, juices, binge eating at night, too much of artificial sweetners, fried food etc. Avoid keeping yourself under any hormonal therapy and consult your gynaecologist for any post IUD problems if used any. All these can take you back as all these are pleasure food and may be a contributing factor in weight gain.
5. Have Patience:
Many a times when women experience a sudden weight gain or finds it tough to lose weight, most of them end up putting themselves under tremendouse stress. I would personally suggest to not put yourself in such situations as this may lead you to unintentionally activate all fat storing hormones which will further not let you burn more fat. Therefore making peace with your current weight issues and staying calm, accepting the current situation and having patience will help you go long way with your current weight loss.
Dr Sneha Chopra is a wieght loss expert and is helping many people post 30 in losing weight. She is on a mission to help a 1,00,000 people get fit, healthy and live a prosperous life, You can connect with her and book a call @ https://calendly.com/fitpiq/15min