Why stress could be sabotaging your post menopause weight loss goals

-Jun 3, Hannah Hargrave , Health -

Weight gain during and after the menopause is very common but by taming the hormones which could be behind your expanding waistline

If you’re struggling to lose weight as you head through the menopause then it could be down to your hormones.

If your healthy diet and exercise regime isn’t making a difference as you go through menopause then it could be hormones that are sabotaging your weight loss.

Cortisol

While it’s important to have a burst of cortisol to deal with stressful situations, when the levels rise too high for too long they have a damaging effect on our bodies. This stress hormone increases your appetite and can make you crave high-fat, sweet and salty foods.

Related: How to beat sugar cravings for good

How can you lower cortisol levels

Reducing the stress in your life is a major factor for lowering cortisol levels. There are numerous ways you can do this. From learning to relax with meditation, ensuring you exercise regularly and getting ample sleep too.

Related: Expert tips for better sleep

Leptin

Leptin is produced by the fat cells and plays many important roles when it comes to appetite and weight gain. It determines how much you eat, the calories you expend and how much fat is stored.

The levels of leptin decline hugely in post menopausal women and it doesn’t matter how much or how little fat mass you have. 

Therefore many women don’t feel full or have an increased appetite as they get older. 

How to improve leptin sensitivity

To ensure the message that you’re full is getting to your brain you should first look at your diet. Anti-inflammatory foods should be avoided so put down the sugary drinks and trans fats and switch them out with plenty of leafy green vegetables, nuts like walnuts and almonds, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon and of course lots of fruits, including strawberries, cherries, oranges and blueberries.

Related: The ultimate anti-inflammatory food pyramid

Once again moderate exercise plays a role in improving leptin sensitivity and better sleep will help too.

Ghrelin

Your stomach makes the hormone ghrelin when you’re hungry which is why it’s known as the hunger hormone. It’s highest before you eat and lower once you’ve eaten. The hormone can increase which quite simply means you feel hungry more and you eat to compensate it.

Related: Everything you need to know about the longevity diet

How to tame ghrelin

High fructose corn sugar and sugar sweetened drinks can impact ghrelin’s ability to respond after a meal, so it’s best to cut down on sugar. Also try to add a healthy protein to each of your meals because this can help optimize the hormone levels too.

Ensure you’re well hydrated too. Sometimes hunger can be mistaken with thirst. 

Testosterone

When testosterone levels drop during and after menopause it can be difficult to produce muscle mass and burn fat too. Your metabolism may slow down and you find yourself gaining weight, especially around your middle. 

You need to keep strong as you age so it’s important to work out a way to up those testosterone levels if they’ve dropped.

How to boost testosterone levels

Adding strength training to your exercise regime is a great way to boost testosterone levels. You don’t have to go hell for leather in the gym but just adding some resistance training with light weights will really help with weight loss and toning up. Maintain a healthy diet with proteins, carbs and fat. Overeating or dieting can disrupt testosterone levels so instead try to be consistently balanced is better.

Lower your stress levels and get quality sleep too.

If you found this article interesting then you might also like to know how meditation could help combat the menopause and find out what Davina McCall says is the surprising bonus of the menopause.

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