Many women find that they gain weight, sometimes a significant amount, during menopause. And, to make matters worse, your old tried-and-true ways to lose weight just don’t work. The weight gain in menopause It is related to insulin resistance.
There are many theories about what causes weight gain (and other symptoms) in menopause. It’s a complex issue that includes a combination of a poor diet (ie eating too many of the wrong carbohydrates), a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and many other factors.
But, the truth is, whatever the underlying cause, insulin resistance is the main factor driving weight gain in menopause. And the key to reversing it and achieving lasting weight loss is keeping your insulin levels low.
7 Ways to Fight Menopausal Weight Gain Due to Insulin Resistance
Now, to be clear, menopause does not cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the result of poor hormonal health in general. If you’re struggling with resistance to postmenopausal insulin and weight gainHere are some additional recommendations:
Control your cortisol levels
Stress during menopause can cause steroid sex hormones, such as estrogen, to be metabolized into cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels stimulate the release of sugar into your bloodstream, which increases insulin and ultimately frustrates your weight loss efforts.
Ask your doctor to prescribe the DUTCH test to track and assess your hormone levels, making sure they are in optimal balance. If your cortisol levels are out of balance (i.e. not high enough in the morning and too high during the day), be sure to avoid caffeine and other stimulants.
You may also want to try an adrenal support supplement or adaptogenic herbs, such as ashwaganda or maca, to help balance your cortisol levels.
Take a magnesium supplement
80 percent of people have a magnesium deficiency. If you have a diet high in sugar or take certain medications, you may be deficient in magnesium even if you eat foods that contain the mineral. Many symptoms attributed to menopause are actually identical to symptoms of magnesium deficiency, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and anxiety.
put salt in your food
Sodium supports adrenal function. And despite what you’ve probably heard about sodium intake, most people don’t get enough sodium in their diet. It’s easy to become deficient in sodium, especially if you exercise or are under stress.
When you are deficient in sodium, your cortisol and insulin levels will be out of whack and your muscles can become stiff. (Sodium relaxes soft tissues.) Try adding a good Celtic sea salt to your food (not regular table salt). You can also put 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt in warm water first thing in the morning. Gargle and then swallow.
Don’t exercise too much
When it comes to exercise and weight loss, one size does not fit all. And, some forms of exercise can increase the demand on your body by increasing cortisol and insulin. If you’re exercising a lot and not losing weight, or if you’re actually gaining weight or fat, especially around your waist, you may need to adjust your exercise routine and frequency.
Try different types of low-intensity workouts, like walking, yoga, or Pilates. Adjust the frequency and intensity of your workouts based on your body’s needs, the amount of stress you’re under, and your overall health. Your goal should be to feel energized afterwards, not exhausted.
eat enough calories
When you were in your twenties, you probably lost weight easily by restricting calories. But, calorie restriction increases stress on your body and when you’re in menopause it can backfire, increasing cortisol and insulin and lowering thyroid function, causing you to gain weight.
This is especially true if you restrict calories and exercise more. Make sure you’re getting enough calories from real, whole foods to provide your body with the building blocks for energy production.
Alcohol is sugar. Drinking alcohol regularly causes insulin resistance and weight gain. Also, alcohol is processed through the liver. When your liver is busy breaking down alcohol, it can’t process the hormones, creating more imbalances in estrogen and cortisol and turning the excess glucose it stores into fat.
Remember that fat cells are loaded with glucose receptors, so they crave more sugar. If you do drink occasionally, eat fiber to help stabilize blood sugar and slow the absorption of alcohol.
control your emotions
Creating midlife health requires learning to take care of yourself rather than others. This includes regaining the body acceptance and self-esteem that many of us lose as teenagers, or if we have been in relationships with energy vampires.
Are you in a relationship with someone out of fear of being alone? Do you constantly seek the approval of others? If so, why? Are you afraid to take care of yourself? What could happen? Remember, emotions are energy. Unresolved emotions stagnate the energy of your body. Releasing them can work wonders in helping to shed unwanted pounds as well.