You have been working hard to lose weight. All day, for months, you have been maintaining your diet and exercising frequently. So it must be exasperating when you do not get the fruits of your labor and end up questioning yourself, ‘Why can’t I lose weight?!’
Losing weight is hard enough, and experiencing menopause makes it even harder. Estrogen marks the varying phases of a woman’s reproductive health. This essential hormone not only plays a role in menstrual health but also maintains other bodily functions. One of its several functions is to maintain body weight by keeping other hormones in check.
ESTROGEN’S PARTNERSHIP WITH INSULIN
When we hear the word insulin, we often associate it with diabetes. This fact is accurate. However, insulin has an intricate connection with various other hormones in the body, including estrogen. Estrogen has a fondness for insulin. But to understand this devotion, we must know how insulin works in the body.
Insulin regulates glucose levels in the body, and it can only achieve this when the cells and tissues respond to insulin. This is where estrogen comes in; it makes the cells and tissues more responsive to insulin, thus increasing insulin sensitivity. But when there is little to no estrogen, this insulin sensitivity decreases. Consequently, this increases glucose along with insulin levels in the body. The cells and tissues convert excess glucose into fat. This extra fat is stored in the body, particularly the belly.
Nevertheless, there is hope. A healthy diet and regular physical activity does improve insulin sensitivity, although you may not observe weight loss immediately.
APPETITE AND ENERGY
To maintain appetite, there are appetite-stimulating and appetite-suppressing substances. Estrogen decreases the appetite-stimulating substances in the body. As a result, this lowers food intake. However, when estrogen levels lower, appetite increases, thereby increasing food intake. It may also result in binge-eating behavior patterns.
Physical activity energy expenditure also declines during menopause.
As compared to women of the reproductive age group, menopausal women utilize less energy during physical activity. In summary, women going through menopause will need to exercise more to lose more fat.
ESTROGEN AND CHOLESTEROL
In the body, there are two types of cholesterol, the good and the bad. Estrogen increases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and decreases the levels of bad cholesterol. In this way, this prevents the build-up of cholesterol within blood vessels and maintains cardiac health. But, after menopause, this vital purpose is lost. Cholesterol will not only deposit within blood vessels but everywhere else in the body as well.
THERE IS A SILVER LINING!
Combining the above-mentioned factors makes it hard to lose weight during menopause. Estrogen is a protective hormone, and during menopause, women lose these benefits. Women going through menopause have to work harder to lose weight. But it is not impossible!
Here are a few things to consider if you can’t seem to lose weight:
- Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods, not fad diets. Adapt your lifestyle around eating healthy foods every day. It is alright to have your favorite junk foods once in a while, but do not let them become your primary source of energy.
- Some medications and medical conditions make it harder to lose weight. For instance, low thyroid hormone levels decrease the body’s metabolism, which lowers energy expenditure.
- Not getting enough sleep at night also affects your weight loss journey. Pair this with stress; losing weight makes it even more challenging! Therefore, prioritize sleep and practice good sleep hygiene.
- You are not receiving enough nutrients and are exercising a lot. In an attempt to preserve energy, your metabolism will further decrease. This will lead to a standstill in your weight loss journey.
Creating an effective weight management plan, and sticking to it, has to start with a clear understanding of your body and your goals. Dr. Roz will begin with a medical body composition analysis using the highly effective Analyzer by sea® and additional labs.
Learn more about how our personalized weight management program can help from here .
Have patience and continue working hard towards your weight loss goals. Do not give up!