Managing your weight is a hard task no matter your age. But as we age there are extenuating factors that make weight loss even harder. While exercise and healthy eating are vital for weight loss, balancing your hormones is also a key player in ensuring you lose weight, and keep it off for good.
You know the old saying “I’ve tried everything and nothing works.” Usually when you’ve tried everything and nothing sticks, it’s a hormone imbalance. Hormone imbalances are especially common as we age.
Hormones and weight gain go hand in hand, let’s look at a few of the Key Players that could be effecting your weight loss goals.
Your “good oestrogen” levels start decreasing as you age. Gradually, your body is no longer producing oestrogen for reproductive purposes, and it starts looking for other ways to produce this hormone. One other source of oestrogen is from fat cells. Your body teaches itself to produce more fat cells, by converting calories into fat to increase oestrogen production naturally. This hormone imbalance leads to weight gain.
A decrease in progesterone doesn’t directly cause weight gain, but it does lead to water retention and bloating. This means your clothes feel tighter and you feel heavier. Your body normally produces less progesterone during menopause as well.
Testosterone works to build and maintain muscle mass in both men and women. As muscle cells work to burn calories and maintain a high metabolism, a decrease in this hormone leads to a loss of muscle mass and ultimately a slower metabolism. This results in weight gain, as a slower metabolism and lower muscle mass means your burning fewer calories.
Stress: when you’re stressed your body goes into starvation mode. The main reason for this is an increase in cortisol levels, the hormone that tells your body to store fat as it thinks its preparing for no food for a long period of time. This storing of calories leads to weight gain. That’s why when you’re stressed, even if you’re not eating a lot, you might still be putting weight on, or it could be inhibiting your ability to lose weight.
Insulin is a fat-storing hormone. The more insulin you have circulating the body the harder it is for your body to burn fat!
Insulin is used to digest carbohydrates. When you ingest carbohydrate rich foods, your pancreas secrets insulin to take glucose from the food and deliver it to your muscles for energy. Insulin resistance builds up over time as your body starts to produce more and more to help it work better and deliver glucose efficiently to muscles and cells.
There are a number of reasons that insulin secretion fails to work as well as it should.
- Weight gain, fat clogs the cells
- Lack of physical activity
- Genetic predisposition to insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes