Why We Can Struggle To Lose Weight In Menopause

By Jane Lamason

Sep 13
Why We Can Struggle To Lose Weight In Menopause

“Why can’t I lose weight in menopause?” This is the most commonly asked question I hear. Your drowning under a mountain of kale and coconut water and religiously endure tucking yourself into exercise tights to endure the gym full of buff bods but why aren’t you losing weight? Read on my kale chomping friend.

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers,

helping to control nearly every physiological process in the body. Some of the important functions they contribute to in our body are energy,h digestion, hunger, sleep and metabolism. If these delicate workhorses are out of balance our health can suffer.

Continual stress, poor sleep, no exercise, and an unhealthy diet can all contribute to hormonal imbalance. Of all the lifestyle factors we need to consider when it comes to hormones I think our sugar intake is one of the most important considerations.

We know that if we eat too much sugar in the form of cakes, soda and sweets we are going to put on weight. But we also need to include here empty refined carbs such as white bread, white rice, pasta and potatoes. One of the major issues that can arise from a sugar ladened diet is insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance

means you have excess insulin in your body and your cells no longer react properly to its instructions. Insulin’s job is to give the cells glucose for energy.

When insulin is out of balance, other hormones go out of kilter too.

In perimenopause, we can develop insulin resistance

because our bodies can no longer deal with high amounts of carbohydrates we eat. Too much sugar builds up in our blood, and the result is hormone havoc: hot flashes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating weight gain, and other perimenopausal symptoms. Read more about hormonal balance here.

When insulin is not working properly, our body produces more and more to process the same amount of glucose to provide fuel for our muscles and brain. The difficult thing about this is that the more insulin you have circulating in the body, the harder it becomes to burn body fat. 

So you could be eating a healthy diet and exercising yet unable to lose any weight. See this post for more on this. 

When insulin is out of balance,

other hormones go out of kilter too so insulin resistance will show up as fatigue, hot flushes and sugar cravings but perhaps the most obvious sign is where the fat is. Usually, insulin likes to deposit fat around our belly. 

How we deal with insulin resistance is…

to cut out as much refined carbs from our diet as possible. These include:

  • White flour
  • White rice
  • Sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Soda
  • Fruit juice
  • High sugar fruits
  • Dried fruits

Replace them with a small number of carbs that are high in fibre and nutrients such as:

  • Non-starchy vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potato
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Legumes
  • Lentils

A moderate amount of protein such as:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Lean meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish 
  • And a little dairy such as Greek yoghurt.

As well as lots of: 

  • Leafy greens
  • Water

Protein will help you to feel full but in large amounts can also be stored as fat so no going overboard. I consider my meals to be vegetarian with a small side of protein which may or may not be meat.

And don’t forget healthy oils like olive, coconut and avocado.

Years of eating the wrong foods

can wreak havoc with our hormones making menopause symptoms and difficult and being able to lose weight in menopause almost impossible but the body is very forgiving. Eating healthy whole foods and including more physical activity in your day can reverse insulin resistance and so relieve any symptoms that you have in perimenopause and on into menopause.

Why We Can Struggle To Lose Weight In Menopause

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