It is a medical fact that your metabolism slows as you age. You therefor, burn fewer calories than before. If you continue to intake the amount of food you consumed before menopause …. and exercise as you had done before …. you will experience menopause weight gain.
The solution recommended for menopause weight loss, by adherents to the aging school of thought, is to reduce your intake of food and increase the amount of exercise/physical activity that you do. This makes sense, but only a minority of women are able to achieve menopause weight loss in this way.
A majority of women struggling with menopause weight gain, and who have tried to lose weight by following a good diet and doing regular exercise, have not lost weight. In fact some of them say that they have continued to gain weight.
Perhaps those women who have achieved menopause weight loss through diet and exercise, followed exceptionally stringent nutritional advice and more vigorous exercise routines … than those women who have not succeeded to lose weight in this way.
Also, it can be daunting for many women to accept that their menopause weight gain is caused solely by their slower metabolism because of the following facts
- the reason for the decrease in your metabolism is a decrease in your muscle mass
- you tend to lose a 1/2 pound of muscle a year after the age of 30. Between the ages of 30 and 70, you are likely to experience a 40 to 50% reduction in your muscle mass
- loss of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body uses calories
This means that to lose weight now and maintain a healthy weight from now on, not only do you need to eat less with every passing year, but you also need to build your muscle mass. If you delve into how to build muscle mass, you learn that it requires strength training to build muscle mass. The prospect of engaging in strength training for the rest of your life is not appealing to many women.
There is another school of thought about achieving menopause weight loss, that is not based exclusively on food intake and exercise.
Menopause … itself … causes weight gain
Your body functions like a full sized symphony orchestra. In such an orchestra, all players are finely attuned to one another. The various parts of your body are like the musicians and your hormones are like the conductor of the orchestra.
Prior to perimenopause, hormones work in harmony by co-existing with one another in a certain ratio. They are said to be in balance. This keeps your body healthy and functioning.
With the onset of perimenopause, the ratios of your hormones change. This creates imbalance between them. The changing ratios are kick started by the a change in the ratio between estrogen and progesterone.
In the early perimenopause, estrogen levels are generally higher than they were prior to perimenopause. Progesterone levels fall at the onset of perimenopause and continue to fall throughout perimenopause. Estrogen levels fall later in perimenopause, but not as much as progesterone. The ratio between these two hormones change. Estrogen becomes dominant.
Estrogen dominance is a condition in which your body does not have enough progesterone to balance out estrogen levels. This kick starts a hormonal cascade in your body. The changing ratios between estrogen and progesterone, gives rise to changing levels of other hormones, which in turn sets off changes to the levels of still other hormones….and so on. This is what is called hormonal cascade.
Estrogen dominance leads to erratic production of thyroid, insulin, and cortisol hormones. Each of these hormones control major processes in your body that have a significant impact on your weight.
The changes in the levels of all of these hormones is the cause of menopause weight gain … and all other menopause symptoms.
The solution to menopause weight gain, adhered to by proponents of the school of thought that menopause causes weight gain, is to begin by decreasing the level of estrogen in your body and increasing the level of progesterone. This will begin a process to bring thyroid, insulin, and cortisol hormones into balance.
The most effective way to achieve menopause weight loss is to get the levels of your hormones tested and then re-balanced. However, this is a costly option and may be beyond the financial means of many women. There will be lab fees (hundreds of dollars) to test your hormone levels, plus physician fees to help you re-balance them. Often, this is not covered by health insurance policies.
A safe, effective and inexpensive way to reverse menopause weight gain is to use progesterone therapy – self administered natural progesterone cream.
Natural progesterone cream will increase your progesterone level and help to reduce your estrogen levels. This will begin the process of regulating your other hormones.
I suspect that many women will find this path to menopause weight loss more appealing than the path of trying to slow down the aging process. However I want to emphasize that when you follow this path, you still need to manage your intake of food and engage in regular exercise to achieve significant menopause weight loss. It is also important to do so, for your long term health and well being.
In future posts I will provide you with more detail about the effects that estrogen dominance has on your thyroid, insulin and cortisol levels … and how it causes menopause weight gain. After that I will provide you with a comprehensive menopause weight loss plan.