recently heard from a Brain Warrior who, after a lifetime of having a healthy
weight, began struggling with postmenopausal weight gain despite eating organic
foods, taking high-quality supplements, and doing intermittent juice fasts.
a sudden at age 47, she started feeling hungry all the time and as a result, she
put on about 15 pounds. She started taking a weight loss drug that has a host
of potential side effects, such as panic, psychosis, and delirium. After a few
years on the medication, she realized that it wasn’t good for her and tossed
the pills in the trash.
then, she gained another 15 pounds even though she’s tried some of the same
strategies she used in her younger days when she wanted to drop weight. Now,
she feels bloated, ravenous, and disappointed in herself. You may know the
it that keeps women at THAT stage of life from successfully maintaining a
healthy weight? And what can you do to change it? Read on.
Postmenopausal Weight Gain Culprits
the most common reasons why women going through menopause find it harder to
maintain their weight include the following.
cortisol levels: The menopausal transition is often a
time of heightened stress. Women in their late 40s, 50s, and beyond may be
sending their children off to college, dealing with divorce, or trying to cope
with the loss of a spouse or loved one. The increase in stress comes with a
bump in the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol are associated
with belly fat and sugar cravings. Using alcohol to try to calm stress
backfires because it also raises cortisol levels.
Warrior’s Way: Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, prayer, and
deep breathing, to soothe stress. Using Everyday
Stress Relief to replenish the nutrients that are
lost during times of excessive stress can also be helpful.
imbalances: Waning estrogen during this time of
life can create hormonal imbalances that make it more difficult to lose weight,
especially around the waist.
Warrior’s Way: Have a physician—ideally an integrative or functional medicine
doctor—check your hormone levels and balance them with bioidentical hormones if
allergies or sensitivities: Even if you’re eating a balanced
diet with organic, healthy foods, you may have developed a sensitivity or
allergy to a certain food, which can lead to gut dysfunction. Surprisingly,
even highly nutritious foods can cause problems for some people.
Warrior’s Way: Find out more about food sensitivities, how to test for them,
and what to do about them in this episode of The
Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast.
dysbiosis: An imbalance in the gut flora may
occur at any age and may be due to an overgrowth of weight-retaining strains of
bacteria or inadequate levels of beneficial strains.
Warrior’s Way: Eating probiotic-rich foods (such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and
kefir) and taking probiotic supplements can help re-balance gut flora.
disturbances: Hot flashes and night sweats can
disrupt sleep, which can cause imbalances with the appetite hormones, ghrelin
and leptin. Women who don’t get adequate sleep are more likely to have elevated
levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite.
Brain Warrior’s Way: Adopt a healthy sleep hygiene routine and consider supplements with calming vitamins and minerals that promote relaxation, such as those in Restful Sleep.
of muscle mass: Aging is associated with a loss of
lean muscle in women, which can lead to a decrease in metabolic rate.
Low-calorie diets actually accelerate muscle wasting and can sabotage
Brain Warrior’s Way: The key to maintaining muscle mass in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal stages is to increase strength training. Check my website for exercises to build lean muscle.
Environmental toxins: Decades of exposure to environmental
toxins can lead to a build-up of these harmful substances, which can impact
hormone levels in ways that are associated with weight gain.
Warrior’s Way: Essentials for maintaining healthy, age-appropriate estrogen
levels include avoiding the following environmental toxins:
on avoiding environmental toxins, use the Think Dirty app.
If you need additional help, you may benefit from working with an integrative medicine (also called functional medicine) physician to fully assess your situation and find solutions that work for you. For more information, watch Dr. Mark Filidei, Director of Integrative Medicine at Amen Clinics, discuss bioidentical hormone therapy or make an appointment by calling 1-888-288-9834.
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