Menopause Hormones And Fat
In menopause, the function of the ovaries deteriorates and eventually stops. This leads to a reduction in production estrogen which also affects the levels of progesterone and testosterone. This change in hormones has significant effects on your health and ability to burn body fat.
Technically you enter menopause when you have your last natural spontaneous periods. On average the menopause happens between the ages of 45 and 55 but there is natural variation from 40 to 60.
The most typical symptoms from the hormonal changes of menopause include sweating and hot flashes. Sleep disturbances are also very common.
Depression, mood swings and lack of motivation are also possible mental effects of menopause. Reduced estrogen and testosterone levels naturally affect libido and lowered libido is very typical.
Menopausal belly fat is linked with testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. All of these hormones have important function in your metabolism. They keep your muscle mass at youthful levels and help you keep active. They also directly affect how your body uses nutrients.
Essentially after menopause, your body is primed to lose muscle mass and to store fat.
Loss of muscle mass is natural as we age and menopause exacerbates the problem with these hormonal changes.
Can You Lose Weight After Menopause
Conventional wisdom suggests you can’t lose weight after menopause. Research says otherwise.
You’ve likely heard your whole life that weight loss becomes harder the older you get. There is some truth to that, of course. The metabolism of an average 25-year-old is typically higher than that of a 55-year-old. Likewise, a 30-year-old may be able to exercise longer than a 60-year-old.
Couple physical changes from aging with the hormonal changes brought about by menopause, and it may seem that losing weight after menopause feels really hard for most women.
“Weight gain is a problem for many women, despite maintaining the same diet and exercise routines that they’ve had for years,” says JoAnn Pinkerton, M.D., executive director of the North American Menopause Society. “Even if the number on the scale doesn’t change, women complain of a shift in fat to the midsection after menopause.”
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Here, how to help your body adjust to changes brought about by menopause so that you can keep weight off and maybe lose a few pounds too.
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Shrink Belly Fat With Tai Chi Or Quigong
Maybe youve never tried it or perhaps youve seen a group of people practicing tai chi together in a public park but a recent research study from Hong Kong showed that this Chinese discipline of low-impact meditative movements could help trim waistlines in middle aged and older adults. This study, published in the June 2021 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, found that people age 50 and older with central obesity who practiced tai chi for 12 weeks shrunk their bellies as successfully as those who participated in aerobic exercise and strength training for the same amount of time. The study authors wrote that tai chi health benefits similar to those of conventional exercise and thus provides an alternative and more amenable exercise modality for middle-aged and older adults to manage central obesity.
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How To Get Rid Of Belly Fat From Menopause
Theres a reason bulge and budge are only one letter apart: the meno-bulge doesnt budge very easily. But it only took obsessing over Halle Berrys Instagram account for me to figure out that belly fat over the age of 50 is not inevitable. Berry, who was diagnosed with diabetes at 19, and who gave birth at 46, has a healthy diet that includes bone broth and no sugar. She posts videos of herself boxing with her personal trainer, who says she has the body and stamina of a woman half her age.
So as much as I wanted to throw in the towel and say, Oh, well, I guess theres nothing to be done! Might as well skip the gym today and have another Skinny Cow, Halle Berry and her abs made me feel I couldnt justify doing so. Sure, she has wealth, fame, a personal trainer, great genes , but she still has to make great choices to be that fit.
So I decided to learn exactly what those great choices are to find out how the average womans menobulge can budge.
Tips For Fat Loss Vs Weight Loss After Menopause
Have you decided its time to drop a few pounds? You should know theres a difference between fat loss vs weight loss. While its fairly easy to lose weight, losing fat takes more work and a different approach. But the payoff is much greater.
Heres why fat loss is more important than weight loss, and some tips for saying goodbye to that excess belly fat.
Is there anyone out there who doesnt get just a little bit depressed when your scale tells you youre a few pounds heavier than last month, or last year? It happens to all of us, especially if youre approaching menopause. Its not unusual to gain a few pounds as you age, but its important to remember not all weight is created equal.
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The Truth About Weight Gain During Menopause
Included in this article:
Like many aspects of aging, menopause has long been stigmatised and the lack of open dialogue means many people get stuck with unanswered questions about their health during this phase of life.
In this article, well take a closer look at the topic of menopausal weight gain, a big source of confusion for many. One comprehensive review of research on midlife women found that subjects gained an average of half a kilo each year throughout their 40s and 50s. Why does this happen? And is weight gain during menopause a foregone conclusion? Read on for a science-backed guide to how menopause may affect your weight and metabolism, along with compassionate expert advice for supporting your health during this stage of life.
Choose Fats Wisely And Eat Meals With Healthy Fats To Counter Weight Gain
Fat adds flavor, makes our food taste better, and is part of a healthy diet. So the good news is that it isnt necessary or recommended to completely eliminate it from your diet altogether. You just need to learn how to be more choosy, says Palumbo. Think more walnuts, and fewer Whoppers.
The healthiest fats are the ones that derive from vegetable sources like olives and nuts, but keep in mind that healthy fats like those found in avocados have the same number of calories as the fat found in an ice cream sundae. An ounce of nuts has 170 calories, so you have to be very careful, says Palumbo. The same goes with extra virgin olive oil. The American way is to go overboard, so you have to be extremely cautious when you use it and measure the amounts of fats and oils that you consume.
And restaurant meals once again are not your friends in the fat department. Restaurants are not in business to make us healthy. They add a lot of flavor carriers, which are known as fats, Palumbo says. Salad dressings are one of the biggest sources of added fat in our diet, so be sure to order your salad with the dressing on the side.
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The Drop In Estrogen Changes A Womans Shape
The natural drop in estrogen levels after menopause, cause natural pears to store more fat in the belly area and less in the lower body.
Both pears and apples easily gain stomach fat during and after menopause when high stress, inactivity, and poor eating habits are present.
While you cant turn back the hands of time on estrogen production, you can control some of the other hormonal imbalances that cause post-menopausal belly fat by reducing stress, getting adequate sleep, exercising, and most importantly changing the foods you eat.
Hormonal Changes And Symptoms Of Menopause
As the transition to menopause gets under way, levels of certain hormones begin to decline. And lets just acknowledge: The resulting symptoms usually arent much fun. Still, knowing whats in store can help you better navigate this phase of life and many menopausal symptoms do resolve once the body adjusts, says Dr. Stephanie Zeszutek, an OB-GYN. Here, Dr. Zeszutek explains the major hormonal shifts of menopause and some effects you might notice:
- Progesterone: This hormone is generally the first to wane during peri-menopause. This can set the stage for weight gain, plus vaginal dryness and menstrual spotting. Mood changes also may occur, along with a heightened susceptibility to depression or anxiety.
- Oestrogen : The next hormonal shift is typically a reduction in oestrogen, which can result in lower lean body mass , an increased percentage of body fat and a greater resistance to the hormone insulin, which may lead to elevated blood sugar. Lower levels of oestrogen also contribute to symptoms like hot flashes and headaches and may play a role in depression risk, as well.
- Testosterone: Levels of this hormone actually drop throughout your adult life. At menopause, testosterone is typically about half what it was at its peak. Testosterone helps retain lean muscle mass, so declining levels are associated with an increase in body fat, particularly in the belly region.
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Why Belly Fat Is So Dangerous
Belly fat can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and more.
Fat comes in several types. When you pinch your skin, youre feeling whats calledsubcutaneous fat. But theres another type of fat, called visceral fat, thats far more dangerous.
Found deeper in your abdomen, visceral fat produces hormones and other substances that can increase insulin resistance.
When this occurs, your cells cant take up glucose as effectively, so your pancreas is forced to produce more insulin. Eventually, insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Visceral fat can also increase chronic inflammation, which contributes to many diseases.
This type of fat can increase your risk for specific health conditions including diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. A vicious cycle results as inflammation forces your body to hold on to fat, and belly fat keeps you more inflamed.
Top 5 Ways To Lose Menopausal Belly Fat Soon
Menopause years are troublesome in many ways and the muffin top is one of the most inconvenient of all.
The early signs of menopausal belly fat are seen when you touch perimenopause and the situation is seemingly out of control after the menstrual cycle ends.
Blame it on decreasing estrogen level that is responsible for the menopausal belly fat.
In this article, we will discuss how to get rid of belly fat after menstruation cycle and what are the methods and exercises for menopause belly loss.
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Losing Post Menopausal Belly Fat
All you older ladies reading this know that losing post-menopausal belly fat can feel hard or almost impossible. Today we will talk about why that is and look for a few tips on how to get rid of postmenopausal belly fat.
As you go through menopause, some significant hormonal changes happen in your body that greatly affect your ability to use body fat for energy and increase its storage. I will talk more about that in a moment.
The same hormonal changes will also affect your muscles and bone health, so its important to do your best to counteract them.
Menopause can also lead to decreased activity which can further worsen then situation.
So lets look at what it is exactly that menopause does to a womans body and what causes belly fat in females over 50.
New Health Risks Emerge As Estrogen Level Declines
Women who have had no health issues before menopause can face increased odds of problems after going through the change.
In addition to the loss of estrogen, other shifts happen in the body that can harm your health after menopause. For example, blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides tend to go up after menopause, according to the American Heart Association , although scientists are unsure why.
While every woman faces unique risks based on genetics and other factors, its a good idea to be mindful of how to protect yourself against these common health conditions that can increase in risk after menopause.
When To Get Help
A large waistline puts you at risk for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. If you have any of these related symptoms or are taking medication for any of them, you should see a doctor.
- Abdominal obesity
- High triglyceride level
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Fasting glucose
Increased belly fat is also a primary risk factor for insulin resistancea precursor to diabetes, and a warning flag for heart disease, stroke, fatty liver, and vascular disease.
Other warning signs that should prompt a call to your doctor:
- A rapidly expanding waistline
- Losing weight, but your midsection keeps growing
- Belly bloat accompanied by severe pain, spotting between periods, postmenopausal bleeding, blood in your stools, or fever.
Menopause Fun Fact #: Lack Of Fat Equals Lack Of Estrogen
Estrogen depletion can lead to changes in the brain and nervous system , can lead to increased risk for cardiovascular issues like heart attacks and strokes, can lead to increased risk for low bone mineral density , and can exacerbate to all of the other symptoms Ive mentioned above. Most surprisingly, estrogen depletion can also lead to decreased water holding ability and elasticity in the skin, which can cause dryness, itching, and increased wrinkling. So if were going to waste our time obsessed about our external appearance this little fun fact proves well never be able to have it all!
I think its fascinating that that magazine and blog articles are swimming with information on how to lose weight post-menopause, but nobody is talking about just how harmful that mission might be. The sad truth is, no matter how convincing my argument, its never going to be enough for many women to stop living in fear of fat. This is an issue of body image, not body fat. And we cannot improve our body image if we are constantly trying to force our body into fitting a social ideal that goes against every single one of our body’s natural biological processes.
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High Intensity Interval Training
One study found that women who followed HIIT workouts lost twice as much weight and improved their body composition more than endurance exercisers. A second study found that HIIT-style exercise training can reduce abdominal fat.
“Bump up the intensity of your aerobic exercise, slowly at first, until you get in better cardio shape,” Upton says. “Think about trying high-intensity functional fitness like CrossFit or a boot camp-style workout.”
Update Your Healthy Sleep Strategies To Rest Better And Fight Weight Gain
Insomnia is an extremely common symptom of perimenopause, which is the period of time when womens bodies transition toward their final menstrual cycle. And according to the North American Menopause Society, that transition phase can last for four to eight years. All that time spent waking up unrefreshed means youre probably feeling too exhausted to head out for a workout, too. Its imperative to get sleep as you get older, says Peeke. One of the things that truly helps combat the menopot is high-quality sleep.
Inadequate sleep impacts our hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin and leptin become dysfunctional when you dont get enough sleep, so good luck trying to lose weight if you dont fix that problem, says Peeke.
Palumbo says that you should close your kitchen and brush your teeth by 7 p.m. This will keep you from eating late, which can keep you from getting restful slumber and cause you to pack on the pounds. You shouldnt be eating before you sleep, because it will interrupt your sleep, she says.
Aim for a minimum of seven hours of shut-eye, although this varies from person to person and over time. Keep your bedroom cool to offset hot flashes and night sweats, and turn off all glowing screens for at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. If you really cant fathom doing that, wear amber-lensed glasses to counteract the sleep-disrupting effects of blue light, or see if your device has an amber light setting, says Peeke.
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A Drop In Estrogen Levels
Changes in levels estrogen contribute to weight gain.
Estrogen is one of the primary sex hormones in females. It plays a role in:
- physical sex characteristics
- regulating cholesterol levels
During menopause, estrogen levels dip substantially.
Low estrogen during menopause does not directly cause weight gain, but it may lead to increases in total body fat and abdominal fat. Doctors associate excess weight during middle age with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Hormone replacement therapy may reduce the tendency to gain abdominal fat.
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