Do you find yourself unable to lose weight as easily as you could when you were younger?
As women enter into their menopausal years (usually around the age 45+), the hot flashes and night sweats, though annoying, are nowhere near as difficult and confusing as the resulting weight gain.
Here are the top 5 pesky hormones that may be sabotaging your weight loss success and how you can tame them.
1. Oestrogen (AKA The Temptation Hormone)
Carrying excess weight is a leading factor in weight gain in women 45 and over due to low oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is produced in the ovaries but it is also produced in your fat stores.
This can perpetuate the cycle – the more oestrogen-deficient you are, the more fat is deposited on the hips and thighs, because oestrogen stimulates fat cells to store fat.
How to tame high fat stores for oestrogen production.
Foods that contain fibre help to eliminate used oestrogen through the bowels. The fibre in green smoothies binds to oestrogen and moves it through your bowels so it does not go back into circulation, but rather is eliminated.
2. Cortisol (AKA The H…angry Hormone).
Some studies have shown an association between increased stress levels and abdominal fat distribution. Cortisol levels increase in times of stress, and cortisol is known to increase appetite. Some people are constantly in stressful environments, and, even if they eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent them from losing weight – or worse, add a pound or two.
Increased levels of cortisol can also result in higher insulin levels, causing low blood sugar, which can increase hunger.
This can make you hungry…very hungry. And your body keeps on pumping out that cortisol as long as the stress continues.
So how do you tame this “hangry” hormone?
The best way to tackle this hormone head on is to decrease your stress levels. Some people accomplish by relaxing, others by getting active. How you de-stress is completely up to you.
3. Leptin (AKA Satiety Hormone)
Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells. Its primary target is in the brain, particularly the hypothalamus. Leptin is supposed to tell the brain that we have enough fat stored, that we don’t need to eat, and that we can burn calories at a normal rate.
These days, something is broken in the mechanism that is supposed to prevent us from overeating, leaving us feeling rarely satisfied after eating a meal.
The fat cells use leptin to tell the brain how much body fat the body is carrying. High levels of leptin should tell the brain that we have plenty of fat stored, while low levels of leptin tell the brain that fat stores are low and that we are at risk of starvation. The problem for many women is that the leptin signal isn’t working. There may be a high level of leptin floating around, but the brain doesn’t register that it is there. This condition is known as leptin resistance. It is now believed to be the main biological abnormality in human obesity.
How to tame this pesky hormone?
A key to preventing (or reversing) leptin resistance, is reducing diet-induced inflammation. This is where a great green smoothie helps in any “hunger fixing mission” —with extraordinary results! Green smoothies with a higher ratio of green vegetables to fruit contain all the right lean and “green” quality proteins. Adding 2 teaspoons of hemp powder or nut butter will also increase the protein content more which is great to help tame any leptin resistance you may be experiencing.
4. Ghrelin (AKA The Craving Hormone)
Ghrelin works in tandem with leptin. When your stomach is empty, it is ghrelin that is responsible for telling you that you’re hungry and that you need to eat something.
Ghrelin is supposed to tell the brain that you are hungry and start eating, switching off once you do have something to eat. These days, something is broken in the ghrelin mechanism as well, increasing your hunger while you rarely feel satiated. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach.Your stomach makes ghrelin when it’s empty. Just like leptin, ghrelin goes into the blood, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and ends up at your hypothalamus, where it tells you you’re hungry. Basically, ghrelin is high before you eat and low after you eat.
How to tame this c…raving hormone?
Water is an essential part of life and well, it can help you tame this hunger hormone so make sure you keep yourself well hydrated and next time you feel hungry, have a glass of water first and you may be surprised to find your hunger pains abating.
5. Testosterone (AKA The Mojo Hormone)
We all know what it feels like when you have lost your mojo. Women with low testosterone often find it more difficult to gain muscle or burn fat. The decline in testosterone in women is solely age-related, not menopause-related, and actually begins years before perimenopause.
With low testosterone levels your muscles may atrophy, leading to a sluggish metabolism and weight gain.
How to tame this mojo hormone?
You can coax this hormone back with resistance training which revs up your testosterone training. Moving through menopause doesn’t have to be such a tough mental and physical battle. If you focus on your weight-training program, you’ll be able to fight potential fat gain and battle the tummy bulge.