Losing weight after the age of 40 is a challenge. How hormones effect our weight is being discussed more often these days. Women are much more likely to have hormone imbalance than men, causing them to be more stressed and gain more weight than their male counterparts, all because of those pesky little hormones that just won’t behave.
What do hormones have to do with belly bulge?
Each hormone tells the body what to do. They all have specific jobs. In fact there are many hormones and they all interact with each other exchanging information and responding to the cues they receive from one and other. They contribute to each other’s function. When they are in balance they act like an amazing God given symphony, in harmony with each other and each contributing in perfect proportion and giving us the feeling that all is right in the world.
Let’s check out a few of those hormones and what they do.
Cortisol – this one is the so called stress hormone and governs our sleep patterns, appetite, physical activity and ability to handle stress. Chronic stress can throw it off and it and be out of proportion. To try to handle extreme chronic stress, it can go too high and make us anxious, tired and gets in the way of sleeping. It makes us fatigued but hyper, ready to handle what our body perceives as pending danger. This stress hormone directs the body to add fat to areas that it can easily access for energy, such as the belly. High cortisol can cause obesity and insomnia. When we are stressed long enough low cortisol kicks in and that is when we have low energy and are wiped out, even burned out. Some of us will fluctuate between these two throughout the day, leaving us tired during the day and worrying and awake at night.
Thyroid - gives us energy and keeps us thin by regulating our metabolism. When the thyroid is low you gain weight, have reduced libido, feel tired and even depressed.
Estrogen – one of our sex hormones which give us our feminine curves and keep the wrinkles at bay. It is a feel good hormone since it increases serotonin and keeps our moods stable. It also keeps our appetite and sleep just right, balanced and healthy.
Estrogen compliments thyroid and cortisol and helps balances them. These are the three main hormones.
Leptin – another hormone that is important for a healthy weight. It controls your hunger and determines if you will burn and use the energy from the food you eat or store it as fat.
Progesterone – calms us down by interacting with cortisol on a molecular level. Unfortunately when cortisol is too high it can block it and cause progesterone resistance. This means the progesterone is floating around in your blood but it isn’t able to perform this function to bring you back to your normal unruffled and well balanced person you really are.
This is why one of the most common and important hormone to address initially is the stress hormones which comes from the adrenal glands. Since they all interact with each other, helping to bring in our stress hormones into balance will help the others too. And now-a-days chronic stress is a chronic problem.
Want to get rid of that out of control pot belly? Start by handling your stress.
All this off balanced stuff in pretty scary is you think there isn’t anything to do about your hormones and weight loss after 40. But in fact there is a lot we can do. And it isn’t hard to begin.
What can we do? Basically it’s lifestyle changes.
Get outside - Nearly every hormone responds to the light and dark rhythm from natural light. These are the circadian rhythms and they need to be aligned. That means you need to get to bed at a regular time each night and get out into the sunshine.
Handle stress – There are as many combinations of ways to handle stress as there are people. Some are listed here…
Talk with a girlfriend
Yoga or meditation
How Hormones And Weight Loss After 40 Was Handled With Success
For my mother-in-law it’s reading books, talking to friends and learning new things. For my friend it is horseback riding, vitamins and mint tea. For my other friend it’s walking outdoors with a girlfriend and hot baths. You need to find what works for you and it will likely be a combination of several things.
Some of my friends use herbs and vitamins recommended by a trusted health practitioner. Of course if that is what you want to do, you should always run it by your doctor to be sure it is OK for you.
If you’ve done the best you can to handle your stress with lifestyle changes and you still need some help, you may need bioidentical hormones. You can find a local doctor in your area that will help you with that.
The ultimate goal is to be happy and healthy is mind, body and soul and live a long productive life. Keeping our bodies in balance is a big part of that. Get going in a small way and build from there ….
“Every day is a fresh beginning. Every morn is the world made anew” – Sarah Chauncey Woolsey