Losing those last 10 pounds remains a challenge for many women. For women facing menopause, this challenge is even greater due to the increased likelihood of weight gain; this is common during this period as hormones become unbalanced. Keep reading to find out how your body's hormones affect weight loss during menopause.
Hormones and Weight Loss
Weight loss and hormones go hand-in-hand. Hormones either help us lose weight or, oppositely, keep fat within our cells. Hormones are the body's messengers, sending instructions to our cells to maintain balance and natural hormonal balance is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Hormones affect our appetites, bone strength, cholesterol, and even our moods. When our bodies produce enough of the “happy” hormones like serotonin, this elevates our mood which can directly affect the body's ability to lose weight.
During menopause, hormones directly affect weight causing fluctuations in appetite, fat storage, and metabolism. These hormones that contribute to changes in weight are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
These levels decline during menopause and this causes the ovaries to stop functioning entirely. This decreased production of estrogen by the ovaries causes the body's stores to seek out other estrogen sources like fat cells. The body learns to convert more calories into fat to increase estrogen production and this typically leads to weight gain.
It is common for progesterone levels to decrease during menopause. As we gain weight, low levels of the hormone are not actually one of the causes; but they do cause water retention or bloating.
Building and maintaining muscle mass requires burning calories. Muscle cells work to burn calories creating a higher metabolism. Levels of testosterone decrease during menopause causing a loss of muscle mass which leads to a lower metabolism. This can lead to weight gain.
What Are My Hormones Telling Me?
Similar to a battery that needs recharging, your body needs an adequate emotional and physical balance to shed those extra pounds. When stress rears its ugly head, related stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are running at their fullest, putting our adrenal glands on high alert. The adrenal glands are the physical snapshot of our high stress life — when they become imbalanced our whole body falls out of whack —. This leaves our body in an anxious state where it holds onto fat in preparation of a crisis.
Losing weight is a gradual process. Understand how your hormones affect your body and your goal will be achieved. Click here to read more information about treatments using natural hormones.