HOW TO OVERCOME STUBBORN BELLY FAT IN MENOPAUSE
Dieting won't touch this kind of weight gain fat if all the messages going out from your hormones to your brain to your body are saying:
"Shut down your metabolism and store calories as fat."
Find out why this happens at menopause, and what you can do to change those messages back to:
"Burn calories as fat."
Because that's what makes weight loss easier, even during and after menopause
The Problem: You start peri-menopause, and without changing anything about your diet or exercise, you gain weight. Could be 10, 20 or 50 pounds.
The Bad News: This menopause muffin top is stubborn and hard to lose. In fact, dieting and exercise often won’t even budge it.
AND: The diets that worked for you in the past - aren't working now.
Why Belly Fat Is A Problem
A little weight gain is normal at midlife. If you’re 2 - 5 pounds heavier than you were in high school - it’s normal.
But if it’s more than that, it’s likely a special kind of menopause weight gain that shows up around your belly and as it accumulates it penetrates into your belly collecting around your organs. It’s common to have stubborn belly fat post menopause too.
It’s called visceral fat or even “toxic fat” because this type of fat tissue increases inflammation.
Belly fat and increased inflammation are known indicators of:
- Heart disease such as increased “bad” cholesterol and decreased “good” cholesterol, fatty liver
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar, insulin resistance, or diabetes
- Cancer, and stroke
So what is happening in your body that causes this weight gain?
Yes. The hormonal changes of menopause can cause your body to store this kind of fat.
But - they don’t have to!
You can experience the hormonal changes of menopause WITHOUT these fat storage pathways being turned on- and THAT is what this article is about.
- First we'll look at how the changing hormones of menopause affect weight gain
- And then we'll look, in detail, at what you can do to turn those fat storage pathways off - even during and after menopause.
Here’s how the hormonal changes of menopause can cause these fat storage pathways to be turned on
Estrogen Part 1
When you have plenty of estrogen (before menopause) your body will gain weight by putting fat around the hips and thighs. (This is where we want it to go)
During menopause your estrogen levels decline. If they go too low your body doesn’t think it has enough estrogen, and that low estrogen alert causes your brain to send out signals telling your body to store any extra calories as fat - in the belly (not in the hips and thighs!)
This belly fat is what starts causing problems.
You can see how bringing your estrogen levels back up a bit could help with this.
Estrogen Part 2
As your hormones change during menopause it’s easy for estrogen and progesterone to get out of balance with each other. Even if both of them are low… If estrogen is too high relative to progesterone you can get symptoms of what’s called estrogen dominance. One of the symptoms of estrogen dominance - it’s almost impossible to lose weight.
You can see how bringing your progesterone levels up or detoxing estrogen out of your body better could help with correcting this.
Once you have this special type of belly fat, this special type of fat itself produces hormones(!!), especially the stress hormone cortisol and inflammatory cytokines.
These chemicals tell your body to make more insulin which:
- Makes you hungrier
- Tells your brain to send out messages saying “store every possible calorie as fat (instead of burning it up with a higher metabolism.)”
- So once you have this belly fat - the fat itself causes your body to make more fat
This special fat also makes estrogen - which your body is craving if your estrogen levels are low… So your body doesn’t want to get rid of the fat.
You can see how helping your body make more estrogen can help with this.
Testosterone (another hormone) also decreases during menopause. Lower testosterone levels tell your body
- Lower your metabolism
- Have less muscle mass
- Make less of a certain brain chemical that turns on fat burning pathways
You can see how helping your body make more testosterone can help with this.
Women in menopause often have trouble sleeping. If you’re not getting enough sleep:
- Your body makes MORE of a hormone that tells your body - STORE calories as fat instead of burning calories
- CLICK HERE to see my blog on getting more sleep during menopause
Progesterone (another hormone) levels decline during menopause.
- If your progesterone is too low - any estrogen you DO have acts like estrogen dominance, which prevents weight loss.
You can see how helping your body make more progesterone can help with this.
I know this sounds a little grim, but actually IT’S GREAT.
Because if you understand why your body is all of a sudden storing all your calories as fat instead of burning them up…
You understand that the key to weight loss is changing those messages your brain is sending out!
Instead of trying to lose weight with a brain that is telling your body to store every calorie as fat…
First change the messages - then add just a bit of healthy eating and moderate exercise - and the weight just melts off. It’s SO much more pleasant. And so much healthier.
Find out how sugar can disrupt your hormones and what to do about it in this blog post www.danalavoielac.com/sugar
So how do you change those messages?
You need a whole strategy.
When you look at ALL the reasons listed above you realize: all those “store fat” messages start as:
All those “store fat” messages start as:
- High blood sugar
- Lack of sleep
- Low progesterone and testosterone levels that are too low
- Estrogen levels that are too low and/or out of balance with progesterone
And we can address each one of these - changing the overall picture!
Let's Start With The Hardest One First. The Solution PART 1: Hormonal Support With Herbs
We've seen that menopause weight gain is caused by hormonal changes.
At the root of a lot of them was:
- Low estrogen, low progesterone, and low testosterone,
- High insulin and high cortisol.
- An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.
How do we build our hormone levels back up and help our body manage those hormone levels safely and naturally?
Think about it, this whole weight gain started because of menopause - so low hormone or unbalanced hormones are really the root cause.
Calorie counting and exercising won’t help much if all those “store every calorie as fat” messages are being sent out in your body because of these hormonal changes…
Instead of typical "dieting," It’s much more effective to turn back on the messages saying “burn calories!”
And the way to do this is addressing your hormones - which will affect your brain chemistry and metabolism.
So addressing hormones is the underlying KEY to turning around this type of midlife weight gain in women.
If this kind of weight gain is happening to you, your body probably needs a little extra help with balancing those hormones.
You’re going to want to deal with this underlying layer in your body of hormones struggling to get to where they want to be.
- Help your body boost and balance your sex hormones (raise progesterone, testosterone, and balance estrogen up or down as needed)
- Help your body have balanced healthy cortisol and insulin (blood sugar) levels.
And so we want a SAFE, natural remedy for menopause weight gain that address the underlying hormone imbalance. I recommend customized Chinese herbs.
- Support your body in making more estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
- Help your body manage and balance your hormones helping correct the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.
- Help promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels
- Help promote stress reduction and and healthy cortisol levels
- Support healthy levels of inflammation
- Help you get more sleep
If used correctly - hormone supporting and balancing adaptogenic herbs can be used in combination to help your body keep your hormones and metabolism vibrant during AND after menopause…
To get these kind of results, however, you need a customized selection of herbs that changes with you as your hormones change during your menopausal transition and post menopausal years.
For example - during peri-menopause you may have mostly low progesterone… Post menopause you may have low progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone!
Now that you know all the ways herbs can support your body…
If this sounds like the kind of help your body could use, start getting my emails for an invitation to my next (FREE) online masterclass on using customized herbs during & after menopause!
The Solution Continued: Of Course Diet & Exercise Can Help Too - Here's How
Once you have your hormones supported safely and naturally, here are my best tips for losing weight the smartest, easiest way possible during & after menopause.
Once your hormones are supported, you want to make sure that your diet and lifestyle are not in any way PREVENTING those fat-burning pathways from staying turned on.
The Solution Part 2: Healthy Lifestyle: Smart Exercise AND Stress Management
How to exercise the way that decreases inflammation and helps turn off fat storage pathways during and after menopause.
Strength Training: In menopause if you do the same amount of exercise you’ve always done, you’ll have less muscle. So consider moderate amounts of strength training with weights or yoga to increase or keep your muscle mass. Muscle mass helps your body increase your testosterone levels and metabolism.
The Right Amount Of Cardio: You can also increase metabolism with HIIT training (10 minutes just twice a week can do the trick.)
Just be sure not to over-exercise - especially with intense cardio - which can INCREASE inflammation levels, which can turn on fat storage pathways!!
How managing stress can increase your metabolism
In menopause your stress hormone levels naturally go up (you’re more sensitive to stress.)
High stress hormone levels can make you fat. Here's how:
- They can help you gain weight by causing depression, food addiction, and sugar cravings.
- They also prevent your adrenals from making estrogen - decreasing your estrogen.
- High stress hormone levels eat up progesterone - so they lower progesterone levels as well.
What to do:
Start actively reducing stress hormone levels with daily deep breathing, meditation, or tai qi to make up for this!
Avoiding caffeine, sugar, and processed foods will also help reduce stress hormone levels.
The Solution PART 3: The Right Diet
We’re not talking a crazy or overly calorie restricted diet here.
We’re talking about a diet optimized to help your body send out messages to increase metabolism and stop storing every calorie as fat.
Plus a diet that decreases inflammation and helps even out your blood sugar.
How to build a diet that decreases inflammation and helps turn off fat storage pathways during and after menopause.
To decrease inflammation eat enough veggies & fruit every day.
Cut out unhealthy fat and eat plenty of healthy fats.
Avoid processed and artificial foods (I can’t say that one enough times)
Increase your stomach acid if necessary with ACV (apple cider vinegar) or lemon juice in water before meals. This can help reduce insulin spikes with starchier meals and can help digestion & absorption of high protein meals
Drink enough water! (we often eat when we’re thirsty!)
Eat a low glycemic diet - a diet that keeps your blood sugar nice and even.
Diet Takeaway: Veggies, healthy fat, and protein are the key. Avoid sugar (really if you want big payoff do this one thing - avoid sugar) and too much starchy food (not no starches just not too much.)
PS - don’t stop eating fat. You can increase a brain chemical that helps you burn fat instead of storing fat by eating pistachios, avocados, dark chocolate, and other healthy fats.
What To Do Now:
Your Action Plan:
- Get started with the right exercise & stress management for turning ON fat-burning pathways
- Get started with the right diet for turning ON fat-burning pathways with my free hormone-balancing smoothie and emails on the best diet for menopause
- Sign up for my free mini-course on customized herbs, you'll get an exclusive invite once you become an email insider!
Guide: Use Smoothies to Manage Menopause Without Drugs
Questions? Comments? Let's chat...
Thanks so much for joining me here today!
I'd love to know what was the one thing that jumped out at you - that you're going to start using right away?
Please type that into the comments below along with any questions.
Peace & Wellness
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This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about Chinese medicine in your diet, lifestyle, and supplements and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not personalized health advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to https://danalavoielac.com/disclaimer-2/