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Hormones That Take You from Fat to Fabulous

Part 1    Estrogen

Why is it so difficult to lose weight around and during menopause?   At these times, weight gain becomes more common and feels different than weight gain at other times of life.   Pounds are easier to gain, harder to lose and show up as love handles, belly fat and/or cellulite. In addition, the usual methods of dieting and exercise don’t work anymore.  Sometimes, weight loss difficulties have nothing to do with diet and exercise.  Things like nutritional imbalances, chronic inflammation, metabolic issues, leaky gut, toxins, and genes can cause weight loss issues.

However, for women in perimenopause and menopause, the difficulties are most likely due to hormonal imbalances.  It becomes almost impossible to lose weight until hormones are replaced and balanced.  Hormone fluctuations in perimenopause and menopause directly impact appetite, fat storage, and metabolism.   The causes of hormonal weight gain and resistance to weight loss in menopause and perimenopause are explained below.

The first important hormone to know about is estrogen.

Estrogen 

One cause of weight loss difficulty around and during menopause is the changing and fluctuating of estrogen levels. The ovaries produce more estrogen relative to progesterone during this time but levels of both these hormones start to decrease dramatically.  The body will find other sources of estrogen. Since fat produces estrogen, the body will increase fat production to make more estrogen.

Too much estrogen (estrogen dominance) can be due to dietary issues such as excess sugar, refined carbs, alcohol and red meat, and low fiber intake.  Too many antibiotics damage the gut leading to estrogen spikes because the body can’t properly detoxify or excrete waste. Environmental toxins such as phthalates and biphenyl A mimic estrogen in the body and bind to sites that estrogen normally does. Excess estrogen can cause cellulite, weight gain in the hip and thigh areas, an increase in breast size and tenderness, fluid retention, PMS, fibroids, heavy periods, irritability, and ovarian cysts.  Estrogen dominance can be controlled by limiting red meat, alcohol, and cutting way down on sugar and carbs. Getting your estrogen level evaluated and balanced by a physician specializing in bio identical hormone replacement therapy can help alleviate these serious symptoms.  In addition, balancing estrogen has lifelong benefits for health including losing and maintaining weight loss, preventing bone breakdown, aiding with mineral absorption, keeping skin hydrated and helping regulate menstrual cycles. Estrogen is also important for the health of the brain, and cardiovascular system.

Posted in: Hormones

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