Losing Weight During Menopause. The 5 Hidden Reasons You Can’t…

{And How To Fix Them}

Losing weight during menopause
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I hope it can help you too x. Please read the disclaimer for more info.

Losing Weight During Menopause has always been tricky…

I remember my mum struggling during her Menopause back in the 1990s.

I distinctly remember her at my university graduation, gasping for breath as she climbed the long flight of stairs up to the venue. Then later, struggling in the hot sun and needing to sit down, sitting uncomfortably in the too-tight flowery nylon dress she had bought for the occasion. I can see her now and it makes me feel overwhelmingly sad as I write this. 

But at the time I was around 22 years old and far too wrapped up in my own student dramas to do anything as she struggled through Menopause alone. 

We didn’t speak of Menopause back then either. It was all hush-hush and muttered under the breath. Frustratingly it’s still a little bit like that today too really, but I digress.

Always a heavier set woman, my Mum piled on weight as she hit her 50’s.



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She was a victim of the fad diets of the era. The low-fat, no-fat skinny minnie 90’s boom. The aerobics, exercise yourself to a frazzle brigade who lived on nothing but a rye-vita and no fat cottage cheese whilst dancing around the room in shiny leotard and leggings to pumping workouts.  

losing weight during menopauseMum tried living on celery and tasteless sugary low-fat yoghurt and exercising as much as she could but nothing worked. She tried so hard to lose weight all her life bless her, but the more she tried with these crazy regimes the bigger she got. 

She gradually got put on a variety of pills for high blood pressure, water retention, anaemia, as well as vitamin b12 shots as she developed pernicious anaemia. You name it she was put on it by the doctors, adding new prescription concoctions every year until she had a huge pill regime to take every day.

As the years progressed she put on more weight and acquired a variety of different autoimmune disorders until she finally succumbed to Dermatomyositis, a rare autoimmune muscle and skin disorder. This came after decades of anxiety and poor quality of life as her health progressively worsened every year after Menopause.

In hindsight, I truly believe that Mums autoimmune issues were set up around menopause. I wish to god that I knew back then what I know now. The knowledge that I have hard-won through my own battle with Menopause, Cancer and Hormone Disorders. 

If I had a time machine I believe I could have put her on the right track to health instead of her steady health decline. But as they say, hindsight is a marvellous thing and you still can’t order a time machine on Amazon Prime sadly…

Because the truth is, weight loss at midlife is not just about weight and looking great. It’s about health too.

This is the point where you can choose your future path.

Do you want a healthy old age filled with fun and enjoyment as you finally get time to spend on yourself? Or an old age of infirmity, ill health and decline?.

It’s THAT important and I am PASSIONATE about helping people find good health as they progress through menopause.

I couldn’t help my Mum but maybe this information will help YOU.

Menopause – The Fork in Your Road. Which Direction Will You Choose?

Menopause is a fork in your road. You can choose how you want to go forward into the rest of your life and old age.

There are many reasons why it’s difficult to lose weight during or after menopause. I have separated the top 5 out below but as you will see they are all interlinked. 

Together they all conspire against you to make losing weight harder. But once you start to understand what is going on you are on the path to be able to fix things, get healthier and lose weight. 

Thorough understanding and knowledge lie health and happiness in your future.

As always, I just need to add, I’m not a Doctor and I’m not qualified to give medical advice. Please consult with your own Doctor or medical team before taking any supplements or making any changes. I’m just sharing things that worked for me. 

The 5 hidden reasons why you can’t lose weight…

1 – Estrogen Dominance

So often we are told by the medical establishment that the problem with Menopause is simply Estrogen deficiency caused by failing ovaries {they always like to make us feel that we are failing at something right?}.

That increasing Estrogen is the answer to everything. Just get more Estrogen by whatever means and all will be fine.

However, like most things with our complex bodies, it’s not as simple as that.

Whilst Estrogen does decline gradually during Peri-Menopause it doesn’t fall right off until Menopause is concluded and after the last period.

What is more likely to be happening is Estrogen Dominance. Hormones work in a fine balance and Progesterone is needed to balance out the effects of Estrogen. Like Yin and Yang. Its the balance of these two powerful hormones that is important.

If there is too much Estrogen relative to Progesterone, this puts you into Estrogen dominance and you are likely to suffer from symptoms.

As I said, all these things are interlinked and can stop you from losing weight easily.

Estrogen Dominance Symptoms include:

  • Weight gain, especially the dreaded Menopause Belly Fat
  • Mood issues, especially depression, irritability and anger and PMS
  • Sore Breasts
  • Bloating with water retention
  • Low or completely disappeared Libido
  • Crazy irregular periods.
  • Thyroid problem symptoms, like cold hands and feet or a sluggish metabolism
  • Brain Fog
  • Hair loss
  • Sleep problems and insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems

So, as you can see, these are all the classic Menopause symptoms, all caused by Estrogen Dominance, not necessarily lack of Estrogen.

And one of the main symptoms in the list is weight gain, especially around the middle, hips and thighs. The classic Menopause weight gain pattern.

Researchers have found that Estrogen Dominance is also linked to a variety of health problems including autoimmune disorders as well as the acceleration of the ageing process.

Therefore it makes sense to make a start at improving your lifestyle to balance your hormones, lower symptoms and start losing weight in the process

THE FIX – How to make a start at balancing your hormones to lose weight & Menopause Belly Fat

  • Diet and Nutrition is one of the main ways you can improve your Estrogen Balance
  • Support liver health by eating clean and nutritious foods and lowering alcohol intake [ View my post on how to cut down on alcohol to improve Menopause Symptoms here… ] 
  • Eat more vegetables, especially Brassicas like Cabbage, cauliflower etc.
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Reduce stress
  • Avoid hormone-mimicking chemicals in personal products, cleaning products etc.

2 – Chronic inflammation

When you think of inflammation you may think of a swollen knee after you have banged it. However, there is another type of inflammation that can play havoc with your hormones and leave you predisposed to weight gain in Menopause or beyond. Chronic inflammation

As well as weight gain, chronic inflammation may be behind diseases such as Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, Depression, Alzheimer’s, Autoimmune Diseases and allergies.

Estrogen is a powerful anti-inflammatory hormone. As it declines during and after menopause this can leave you vulnerable to inflammatory proteins.

When this happens, inflammation can deregulate the metabolism and digestion, leading to weight gain and obesity, especially Menopause Belly Fat.

This research paper states

The endocrine transition of the perimenopause to the post-menopause, while associated with loss of reproductive function (Brinton et al., 2015), is also associated with a rise in chronic low-grade inflammation (Yin et al., 2015). 

 

So basically, this low-grade inflammation predisposes you to obesity and these other health problems if allowed to progress unchecked.

THE FIX – How to make a start on lowering chronic inflammation in your body around Menopause.

Again, careful lifestyle changes can go a long way to improving things and getting your body on the right path to lowering inflammation and losing weight in the process. Foods containing gluten, alcohol, sugar, omega-6 oils, and soy, as well as processed foods and snacks, can trigger inflammation and mess up hormones leading to weight gain.

  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods like fresh veg, oily fish, nuts and seeds
  • Avoid inflammatory foods such as processed foods and trans fats and processed vegetable oils 
  • Avoid sugar in all its forms
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Avoid simple carbohydrates, such as white flour products
  • Lower your gluten intake.
  • Take Turmeric/Curcumin. A powerful Anti-Inflammatory supplement that can help with joint pain too. View On Amazon.
  • Drink more water

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3 – Sleep Problems

Sleep problems are one of the classic symptoms of Menopause and one that can play havoc with your ability to lose weight.

An amazing piece of research from the University of Colorado found that one week of sleeping about 5 hours a night {less than the optimum} meant that the participants gained an average of 2 pounds in weight. Not helpful when you are struggling with Menopause Insomnia.

Restless legs and hot flushes can keep you awake and lead to sporadic sleep. I think we have all been in the position of lying awake at 3 am with a buzzing brain, knowing that we will have to get up soon and do a full days work.

Quality sleep, however, is essential for metabolic health.

The problem is that the kind of partial sleep deprivation that you may experience at menopause decreases the body’s ability to use insulin effectively, and keep blood sugar balanced. It also messes up Ghrelin and Leptin which regulate hunger and appetite. This can increase cravings for sweet and carby foods leading you to eat more. Anxiety and depression can enter the mix too. 

The bottom line is that messed up insulin resistance and all these other hormonal fluctuations again result in weight gain. Add stress into the mix [see below] and it’s a vicious circle.

THE FIX – How to make a start on improving sleep for weight loss.

4 – High stress & cortisol

Midlife is a time when we come under increasing pressure and stress.

We may be trying to look after ageing and ill parents at the same time as dealing with wayward and difficult teenagers. We may be finding it increasingly difficult to be taken seriously in the workplace or be facing money issues.

We often look after others and leave very little at the end of the day for ourselves. We can feel lost and fearful of where we are going and what we want in our lives. Our sleep is messed up on top of everything. You bet we are stressed!.

But stress comes at its own price. High stress levels increase the hormone cortisol. This is our main stress hormone. Too much cortisol interferes with your sleep hormone Melatonin and results in even less sleep. And we saw above what lack of sleep does to your waistline.

Too much cortisol also impacts on your insulin levels and can cause hormonal imbalance and estrogen dominance. Back to square 1!.

All these issues can conspire together to create a vicious circle which leads to weight gain. To gain control of your weight you do need to look at your stress levels and take drastic action to change things.

You probably already know where your stress points are. 

Menopause and Midlife are a great time to examine your life and see what you can do to improve the situation. Your waistline may depend upon it.

THE FIX – How to make a start on improving stress levels

  • Honestly and clearly examine your life. 
  • Identify your stress points and work out a strategy of change to minimise them
  • Meditation. I know everyone preaches “learn meditation” but it is honestly one of the best things I have done to minimise my stress levels.
  • Apps like Calm or Headspace are a good way to get started.
  • Book your self some regular “me time” every month. Take a day off just for you and do something you love [even if no one else does] For me this is poking around dusty old museums or bookshops and then going for a coffee somewhere on my own. Figure out what you love and do it every month. Just for you.

5 – Leaky Gut Issues

A few years ago, Leaky Gut was dismissed by the medical establishment as the work of quacks and snake oil salesmen. Now doctors are recognising that gut health [or Intestinal Permeability as they have rebranded it} is actually a crucial thing for many aspects of our health as well as our weight.

The latest research indicates that the intestines and gut microbiome play a crucial role in regulating estrogen levels. This means that the gut influences the risk of developing estrogen-related diseases and is a crucial factor in Menopause.

There is a subset of microbes in the gut which has an influence on the metabolism of various forms of estrogen and its balance in the blood and tissues. These microbes are referred to as the Estrobolome.

These helpful little microbes can easily get out of whack, an occurrence called Dysbiosis.

Antibiotics {which wipe out all gut bacteria, good and bad} are a major reason for Dysbiosis and we may find ourselves having increasing antibiotic courses at midlife [ for UTI’s etc}

So, if our intestines are out of balance this has a wider impact on our Estrogen levels and hormone balance in general, affecting our ability to lose weight and ultimately our general health.

The FIX – How to make a start on healing your leaky gut

  • Take a good Probiotic. Probiotics help to populate your intestine with good bacteria to redress the balance. You need a powerful one. Those probiotic yoghurt drinks won’t touch the sides {view Probiotics on amazon]
  • Start eating and drinking fermented foods containing good bacteria. These will help to rebalance your gut in the right direction.
  • Examples include –
  • Keffir a fermented drink you can easily make at home
  • Kombucha. You can buy Kombucha easily [View on Amazon] but. you can make it too.
  • Saurkraut {make sure you make it yourself or buy a version that hasn’t been pasturised].
  • Apple Cider Vinegar with “The Mother”. [View on Amazon]
  • Eat fresh unprocessed food, including lots of fresh veg, nuts and seeds and clean protein sources
  • Avoid processed food, wheat-based products, gluten, junk foods, baked goods and artificial sweeteners and preservatives.
  • Avoid too much alcohol.
  • Reduce stress

You CAN lose weight…

So there you have it. 5 reasons that you probably didn’t know about that are sabotaging your attempts to lose weight, and ultimately undermining your health.

As you can see, all 5 areas are intimately interlinked. None of the factors works in isolation. A problem in one area will impact another. 

It’s a difficult tangle to unpick but you CAN do it.

Use the tips here as a starting point to move yourself towards health. Weight loss will come as a side effect of this process and you will find it much easier to lose the excess pounds once your body is in balance. 

It’s all about balance. In hormones and in life.

I hope this information helps you make your choice to move forward into a healthier and happier future.

If you are looking for a little more support with starting to lose weight download my free ebook using the form below or clicking here

Or, if you are looking for a diet plan which is specifically aimed at midlife women and includes information on how to balance your hormones and heal a leaky gut, take a look my diet plan – The Belly Fat Solution

The Belly Fat Solution – 14 Day Menopause Weight Loss Plan

The Holistic Way To Balance your Hormones, Lose Weight & Feel Great – in 14 days

If you need a holistic and structured weight loss plan that walks you through losing your Menopause Belly Fat this may help you. It’s designed specifically for women struggling with their weight at midlife… and exercise is optional!

You can read more about my Belly Fat Weight Loss Plan here

Belly Fat Solution Menopause Weight Loss Diet Plan

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Helen

Menopause and Perimenopause can be a tricky time to pass through. I certainly had a turbulent journey. I learnt a lot from my intense battle. I rediscovered my Menopause Mojo and you can too. I truly believe that Menopause can be the start of the best part of your life. I am an Artist, Certified Transformation Life Coach, Holistic Health Coach, Hypnosis practitioner and woman's health researcher. NB. I am not a doctor or qualified to give medical advice. I merely share what has worked for me. I hope it can help you too. x