lose weight

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? It May be Your Hormones. 

You step on the scale every morning and let out a discouraged sigh. Maybe your weight is creeping up, little by little, even though you haven’t changed your habits. You are trying to lose weight, but all the treadmills and carrot sticks aren’t doing a thing to budge those extra pounds. Or your once flat stomach is gaining some “poochy” padding.  

If you are a menopausal woman, don’t place all the blame on your habits. The changing estrogen levels that happen during menopause can affect your weight and where you carry it. You may gain weight or find it increasingly difficult to lose weight – or find that every ounce gained is lodging itself on your waistline. 

How do Hormones Impact My Weight? 

One reason women struggle with weight during menopause is changing hormone levels. During menopause, a woman’s reproductive hormones decline, including estrogen. Male hormones, or androgens, get a foothold and begin changing the way your body looks and behaves, including a shift in weight gain from hips to waist. 

The production of estradiol, a form of estrogen that helps to regulate metabolism and body weight, decreases over time and drops dramatically after menopause. Without this regulator, women who have never had weight issues may find themselves putting on weight even without a change in their eating or exercise habits. And that weight will be harder to lose.  

When talking about hormones and weight, there are indirect ways that a hormonal imbalance can contribute to a rising weight as well. Symptoms of menopause such as fatigue, sleep deprivation and muscle mass loss, can make losing or sustaining weight challenging. Even hormone-related moodiness or anxiety might drive you to eat more unhealthy calories than you usually would under hormonally balanced circumstances.  

Menopausal weight gain may also take a different form. Throughout their reproductive years, women typically gain weight around their hips and thighs. During menopause, the drop in estrogen shifts weight gain to the abdomen. This visceral belly fat builds up around the organs and can be very dangerous to a woman’s health. A body fat percentage over 35% for postmenopausal women has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, stroke, “bad” cholesterol, heart disease and some forms of cancer. If your body shape has become more of an apple than a pear, it is likely caused by this visceral fat. Of course, some age-related causes of weight gain, such as decreased activity, will also influence weight gain regardless of estrogen levels.

Can HRT Fix My Weight Issues?

Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, may not be a magic wand that whooshes away belly fat, but studies have found that women who are on a controlled, customized HRT program have significantly lower levels of belly fat. HRT can also help you sleep better, feel as though you have more energy and help you feel less irritable and stressed. Feeling better overall will help you do the right things for your body and your mind – eat better, exercise more and indulge in more self-care.

What Else Can I do to Stop Hormone-Related Weight Gain? 

Staying active and eating right is still vitally important to your overall health, even if weight maintenance feels like an uphill battle. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, and building muscle will help speed up your metabolism. 

If you have concerns about your weight, belly fat or other menopausal symptoms, the team at Coyle Institute is here to help. We are the experts on female health, hormones and HRT. We can test your hormones and recommend an HRT program that is right for you. Contact us today, set up an appointment and get on the path to a happier, lighter you.