Weight Loss in Menopause
You know the ones - they start sliding on as early as your mid-30s, and are still stealthily accumulating when you're 50+, gradually giving you belly fat in menopause that was never there before.
Those sneaky midlife fat cells...
It's all to do with the fat cells in your body.
Each and every one of your fat cells comes rushing to your aid when it detects a fall in the amount of oestrogen (or estrogen) in your body. Your fat cells are highly complex little mechanisms, and one of their jobs is to produce oestrogen to help you through the transition as the function of your ovaries decline during menopause.
It's lack of oestrogen that prompts many typical menopause signs, from hot flushes and mood swings, to insomnia. So having a top-up is good - but there's a price. In order to create oestrogen your fat cells have to grow, so not only do they become bigger, but there are more of them.
Why weight loss in menopause is so hard
The fat your body puts on at this time of your life is helping you to go through the menopause with fewer disruptive symptoms. But at the same time, it's putting on unwelcome pounds and altering your body shape, often to the typical postmenopausal apple shape.
Another factor in the weight-gain equation is cortisol, the main stress hormone, and the culprit when it comes to stress and belly fat. When you feel stressed - and who doesn't from time to time? - your body produces cortisol. Cortisol and stress are closely linked.
Problem is, cortisol encourages your body to store fat...guess where? That's right, around your waistline. You can help prevent this, by making regular use of ways to relieve stress in your life.
If you're prone to grabbing food on the run, and gobbling down any old thing because you don't have time to make healthier, calmer choices about your food, then you're stress eating. Eating under stress during menopause ups your cortisol levels. Result - more weight creeps on.
And that, in a nutshell, is why weight loss in menopause is so hard. Your body doesn't want to give up that fat that you're so anxious to shift, because it needs it.
So, you may end up carrying a little more weight than you did 10 or 20 years ago. That's normal. But it's easy to let that weight gain creep up...and up... to an unhealthy level and a distinctly apple-shaped body.
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- Fat cell facts
Did you know that you have 30 billion - yes, billion - fat cells in your body?
Not only that, but when you hit perimenopause - the stretch of years leading up to end of menstrual periods - they go into overdrive and start creating estrogen?
And that's what makes them grow, and grow, and grow...
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