Weight gain is a chief complaint among women in perimenopause. Specifically, increased abdominal fat and metabolic changes are indicated. In conjunction with fatigue, mood fluctuations, and hot flashes, this can be particularly frustrating. Reductions in hormone levels largely account for this, as well as less than optimal nutritional and lifestyle factors.
Hormones work together to function as a whole system in the body.When even one part of this system is not working efficiently, the body's functioning is greatly compromised and out of balance. This results in women feeling far less than optimal.
Hormonal imbalances affect appetite, fat storage, as well as energy and metabolism.
A Breakdown of Hormonal Imbalance
Diminished levels of estrogen cause the body to look for sources of estrogen elsewhere, such as in fat cells. The body tries to compensate for this imbalance by increasing estrogen production. The body converts more calories than needed into fat - making you gain weight. This also impacts insulin and cortisol levels.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body also incorrectly converts sugars into fat - as a means of trying to correct estrogen imbalance. Overtime, the body resists the insulin produced in the bloodstream - further contributing to weight gain.
No surprise here, increased levels of stress also cause hormonal imbalance. In this heightened state of arousal, cortisol levels spike, and the body stores away food as a means of survival.This makes it increasingly more difficult to lose weight.
Progesterone levels also decrease, promoting water retention and bloating. All of which make you feel sluggish and heavy.
Finally, decreased levels of testosterone also make one more susceptible to weight gain.Testosterone works to build and maintain muscle mass. Therefore, reduced levels of this hormone contribute to muscle loss and slower metabolism.
Fluctuations in hormones are undoubtedly associated with weight gain in menopause
Employing good sense nutrition and lifestyle changes, for instance, can help to correct this, making weight loss happen more naturally
Do you want to feel more energized? More like yourself again? Have more quality time with your family? Reflect upon what will be a sustainable enrichment to your well-being and overall quality of life. Identifying your own purpose for becoming healthier has been shown to be an effective incentive in achieving weight loss goals.
Consume whole, nourishing foods that promote hormonal health and balance. Load up on plenty of fresh produce, such as dark leafy green vegetables. Strive to consume organic and antibiotic free meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. Refrain from processed foods and artificial sweeteners, as these further impede upon hormonal health and wellness. Add in foods rich in phytoestrogens; such as flaxseeds, nuts and wheat germ.
Regularly engage in aerobic exercise and weight bearing activities. Along with other things, exercise helps in combating stress (reducing cortisol levels) and promoting a positive mood. Lifting weights will help to replace muscle loss, as well as help to burn fat. This can further improve hormonal and metabolic health.
More and more research shows that your gut health is a crucial factor in gaining and losing weight. In addition to following a whole foods diet, nutritional support for GI health includes incorporating gut friendly foods and supplements. Eating kefir or fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi) and adding in probiotics will help to repopulate your gut with beneficial bacteria. Drink plenty of filtered, pure water to further aid in nutrient absorption and digestive health. Warm water, with lemon first thing in the morning is a great way to start off the day by providing your body comfort and nourishment.
When your digestive and hormonal health are in balance, not only do you feel better, but you also feel more motivated and energized to stick to your goals. Think about how great you would feel if your whole body was back in balance! Aim to restore your whole self (body, mind, and spirit) with a holistic approach to wellness. Engage in centering and renewing activities; such as mindfulness, meditation, and yoga. Ensure you're getting enough sleep as this is imperative to restore the body and mind. Finally, make it a habit to get your emotional needs met with the support of family and friends.
Implementing these straightforward nutritional and lifestyle recommendations, will not only help in losing weight during menopause, but also help in promoting overall balance to your body.
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