Did you ever do a double take as you walked past a mirror and realise that THAT woman is actually you? Sometimes it is almost as if your fat cells take on superpowers while you sleep, adding inches in the space of just a few hours. How is it that all of those tricks you had up your sleeve in your 20s and 30s for quickly shaving off half a stone before the summer holidays just don’t work anymore, despite your dedication and willpower?
The ‘midlife’ years can be a challenge for all sorts of different reasons and, yes, weight loss IS harder. The rules are different when it comes to weight loss when you’re over 40, that’s for sure. Aside from diet, the seven remaining pieces of pie are thyroid hormones, the stress hormone cortisol, the fat storage hormone insulin, oestrogen, sleep, digestion and exercise.
It’s a path you need to navigate carefully to find your own magic formula, but losing weight, regaining your energy, getting back to your best is possible with the right advice, and some support along the way. You may not have given your hormones a second thought before, but it is worth having some understanding of what’s going on chemically inside you and the impact it is having.
OESTROGEN - progesterone levels fall rapidly as you stop ovulating as regularly and, although oestrogen is decreasing too, it is falling at a slower rate, meaning that you can end up being oestrogen dominant (that is too much oestrogen in proportion to progesterone).
THYROID – the thyroid is your internal motor and it comes under increased pressure in your 40's. Imagine a record playing at a reduced speed … That’s what happens when your thyroid is struggling to keep up. Low levels of thyroid hormones can bring mood changes, weight increases, constipation and a sluggish feeling.
Your hormones work together synergistically. When one or more is out of kilter, there is an effect on the others, too. This is especially true where the thyroid and adrenals are concerned.
CORTISOL – the stress hormone cortisol, made by the adrenal glands, can also increase (particularly if you are used to spinning too many plates), making sleep more difficult and leading to weight gain. We have not evolved a great deal since caveman times when the big stressor was the sabre-toothed tiger and we had to keep the energy round the middle so it could be easily accessed when we needed to run away!
INSULIN is the hormone linked to diabetes, but it is also the fat storage hormone. As a double whammy, it additionally blocks fat burning. It is made by the body in response to the carbohydrates you eat. The more refined the carbs, the more insulin produced and the more fat is stored. As we age, the cells in our bodies can become less sensitive to insulin, so the pancreas needs to pump out more and more to get the same job done.
DIGESTION If your digestive system is not working quite as it should, this can leave you feeling – and looking – bloated. Right now there is a lot of research into the microbiome (your gut environment), and there are proven links between the balance of bacteria in the gut and being overweight.
Anyone with an imbalance of good to bad bacteria in their large intestine will also find themselves absorbing up to 15% more calories from their food. So, if you are the kind of person who has suffered off and on with tummy troubles, it is worth talking to a nutrition professional to get things checked out. Symptoms worth investigating include gas, bloating, acid reflux, constipation (not going to the loo at least once a day) or diarrhoea (or alternating), or feelings of nausea.
All this, and you might even be managing the symptoms of peri-menopause, menopause and beyond. These include delights such as night sweats, erratic menstrual cycle, insomnia, bloating, cravings, headaches/migraines, overwhelm, irritability, mood swings, anxiety/depression, brain fog, poor memory, loss of sex drive, vaginal dryness, ageing skin (and hair), joint pain and fatigue.
Most of the weight loss solutions you have likely tried were possibly not meant for you at your age. What you need is a programme where we will work together to tackle all aspects of what suits you personally. The programme combines both diet and lifestyle elements, so we can work on your confidence as well as that expanding waistline. The food plan was designed for women of your age by women of your age.
Now is exactly the right time for a brand new you: new diet, new attitude and new healthy lifestyle habits. Click here to book in for a free 20 minute health chat.