Sabotaging Your Weight: Those Pesky Hormones
You’ve cut calories, bought a Fitbit and even suffered through Zumba class. But the scale won’t budge.
Even worse, belly fat has accumulated where you never had it before. Putting on your old jeans leaves you frustrated.
“Weight gain and changes in fat distribution often occur at the beginning of menopause,” said CHI Health Obstetrician/Gynecologist John Cote, MD. “Both chronological age and ovarian aging contribute to the increase in weight and changes in distribution during menopause.”
According to the International Menopause Society (IMS), a 45-year-old woman typically will gain about a pound a year. That means she would be 10 pounds heavier at age 55.
Hormones also play a big role in what the scale reads, Cote said. They control every aspect of your weight loss, from appetite and cravings to metabolism and where fat settles on your body.
Changes in hormones are inevitable during menopause and can sabotage even the most committed women. But there are ways to fight back:
- Experts recommend eating fewer processed foods and more protein. Protein includes lean meat, chicken, fish and vegetables.
- Do your best to control stress. The stress hormone cortisol increases belly fat and can wreak havoc with your appetite and cravings. Learn some relaxation techniques and get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
- Increasing your activity level is a must. Studies show that just walking 6,000 steps a day can improve health. Resistance training is a smart move, too, because women lose muscle mass during menopause – but muscle burns more calories than fat.