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30 Sep 2017 By AMC

Struggling to lose weight?

Menopause is a tough time for most women. If the hot flushes, mood changes and insomnia wasn’t enough, menopause can often come with a thickening of the waist line. This thickening tends to be relentless and stubborn and to make matters worse, difficult to move. Not only is the thickening typically unexplained, but the old weight loss tricks that used to work a treat, don’t tend to make a dent on the scales.

The old saying of ‘energy in versus energy out;’ is no longer applicable to the wider population, and definitely not applicable to the menopausal woman.

Our hormones dictate where we store fat and how we lose it. Menopause is a time of hormonal fluctuations, and whilst these changes are commonly known to be sex hormone changes (Oestrogen and Progesterone), the changes are enough to affect almost all hormones within the body.

The most common ways menopause can affect weight gain are as follows:

Oestrogen Excess

As we get closer to menopause we go through a transition period known as ‘peri-menopause’. During this time women tend have a significant amount of unopposed oestrogen within the body for a substantial period of time. This can be known as oestrogen excess or oestrogen dominance and is often associated with the typical ‘PMS’ symptoms. During this time women tend to experience strong sweets cravings (expressed as the obvious chocolate and lollies cravings, or even bread and pasta cravings), fluid retention and bloating. These three symptoms can significantly add to the weight gain picture.

If you are experiencing sugar or savoury cravings it is important to stand back and assess your diet. Have these sweets or breads crept back into your diet? Are you giving in to these craving more often than not? Are you experiencing these cravings and fighting to stand strong on a daily basis? This hormonal imbalance and resultant sugar increase can easily add to the waist line as not only do the cravings increase during menopause, but the likelihood of the sugars being stored as fat also increases. Prior to peri-menopause the typical oestrogen excess woman carries weight around her hips and thighs, after menopause the body shape changes to more of an apple shape, with any excess weight being carried on the abdominal area. If this sounds like you, it is going to be particularly difficult to lose weight without addressing the oestrogen excess picture.

Solution:

If you are currently on the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, please let us know so that we can assess to see how your current doses are affecting your symptoms. If you are not with the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, you have the option of a free consultation with our doctors so that we can help with these symptoms and any other menopause related symptoms.

In addition, or instead of, you have the option of looking at our Weight Loss Booster Bundle. This combination of supplements has been paired to help reduce your sweet or bread cravings by improving the glucose response within the body.

Oestrogen excess can also lead to fluid retention and a perceived weight gain. This fluid is typically located around the breasts, but it can also be found elsewhere on the body. Weight gain can be identified as fluid retention by a jump in weight over night or a feeling of despondence with the outer layer of your skin (you can feel you muscles and fat of your belly, but stomach actually sticks out further than this). Fluid retention is typically temporary and once the cause of the fluid retention has been identified and addressed, the fluid should reduce and disappear within days.

Solution:

If you are currently on the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, please let us know so that we can assess to see how your current doses are affecting your symptoms. If you are not with the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, you have the option of a free consultation with our doctors so that we can help with these symptoms and any other menopause related symptoms.

Certain supplements can be quite good for fluid retention, but again, identifying the cause and addressing that cause can be key to eliminating the bulge. Common causes include food allergies or intolerances, toxins, excess salts, certain medications and poor circulation. Request a chat with our naturopaths to further discuss your concerns.

Oestrogen deficiency

Whilst oestrogen excess can be a cause of weight gain, so can oestrogen deficiency. Oestrogen has a strong relationship with insulin and a drop in oestrogen can often mean a drop in insulin response. Insulin is the hormone that allows glucose or sugar into the cells so that it can be used for energy, and it is the hormone that allows fat cells to be released and broken down to energy. A reduction of oestrogen can increase the possibility of insulin resistance or poor communication between glucose and insulin. Insulin resistance can result in an increase in sweets cravings, an increase in fat storage and a reduction of fat release/fat loss from the body. This triple whammy significantly affects your weight, and can significantly impact the way your body responds to the ‘typical diet’ that you have been following for years.

If left untreated and allowed to exacerbate, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Solution:

If you are currently on the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, please let us know so that we can assess to see how your current doses are affecting your symptoms. If you are not with the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, you have the option of a free consultation with our doctors so that we can help with these symptoms and any other menopause related symptoms.

The Fat Loss Booster Bundle is a combination of high quality supplements that aim to increase the sensitivity of insulin. The more sensitive insulin becomes, the more responsive it is and the more likely that your weight will not be impacted.

In addition to the supplements, reducing the amount of sugar and thus the amount of insulin that is produced in response to that sugar can significantly impact the total insulin effect. Reducing your sugar intake is not only great for the waist line, but it is also great for cholesterol, moods, digestion and general health. Total elimination of sugar should be discussed with a professional before implemented.

Excess Cortisol

Due to its many and varied symptoms, menopause can often add a little (or a large) amount of stress to your mental and physical health. Constant stimulation of your stress response, either via perceived stress or physical stress, is one of the major causes of hormonal imbalance and weight gain. Typically, you can respond with two end results – an increase in appetite, or a decrease in appetite. If you are one of the lucky people who respond with the increased appetite, brain responds by encouraging a high intake of fatty and sugary food – the so-called comfort foods that cause stubborn weight gain. Chronic stress can also affect your weight by interrupting your thyroid and metabolism, by interrupting your insulin response and via affecting your sleep, energy and food cravings. Chronic stress is an under-rated health concern that affects all areas of the body. Whilst stress is a normal healthy survival response, chronic stress is not.

Solution:

If menopausal symptoms are stressing you out, do something about it! If you are currently on the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, please let us know so that we can assess to see how your current doses are affecting your symptoms. If you are not with the Australian Menopause Centre’s hormone program, you have the option of a free consultation with our doctors so that we can help with these symptoms and any other menopause related symptoms.

Speak to our naturopaths to discuss how stress may be affecting your body and discuss what lifestyle changes, dietary changes and supplements would best suit your situation.

Chronic, consistent or a significant stress may have pushed you into a state of adrenal fatigue. Request to speak to our naturopaths to discuss how stress can impact on your health, and what you can do about it.

Other areas of health that can significantly affect your waist line and block your road to weight loss include:

  • Inflammation
  • Sluggish or underactive thyroid
  • Toxins
  • Food intolerances / allergies and poor digestion
  • Certain medications

If weight is a concern for you, request a call back or more information so that we can help. Weight loss is not so ‘black and white’ and the complexities of the individual need to be taken into consideration. Speak to one of our Naturopaths, Doctors or Clinical Team to see how we can help.

 

Written By Samantha Mainland

B.Nat