I frequently hear clients saying they have gained weight in their 40’s, despite trying to diet. They feel that nothing seems to work for them anymore.
It’s a common story of frustration and confusion that leads to crash diets and yo-yo dieting in an effort to lose the weight.
Women in their 40’s, during the peri menopause, often complain of weight gain around their middle area. An expanding waistline and back fat means that favourite clothes no longer fit. This can cause a loss of confidence during midlife.
Peri Menopause Weight Gain
Weight gain during peri-menopause can have a myriad of reasons. Sex hormone levels are slowly changing and fluctuating like a roller coaster. This can lead to hormone imbalance such as thyroid dysfunction and increase fluid retention.
Oestrogen and weight gain
Contrary to what some may think, the earlier stages of peri menopause can often be a time of fluctuating high oestrogen levels.
Higher levels of oestrogen can promote weight gain. Later stages involve a decline in oestrogen levels, which in turn increases insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance promoting weight gain around the waist.
Ghrelin and leptin sensitivity
Other hormones such as ghrelin, often referred to as the hunger hormone, may also be raised during peri menopause. A decline in oestrogen levels can also impair leptin sensitivity, which may lead to overeating, because leptin tells us when we are full.
Do You Feel Tired and Stressed?
Stress and lack of sleep is also a factor and change is a common cause of stress. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone affects appetite and increases fat storage.
Many women in their 40’s say they are constantly stressed because they are juggling, work, children and possibly the needs of ageing parents as well.
It can be a tough time both mentally and physically. Stress management and sleep hygiene are the foundations of weight management.
Testosterone and energy
Lower testosterone can cause a lack of energy and a gradual loss of muscle mass, which naturally happens from age 30 onwards.
This, along with reduced activity and a history of yo-yo dieting can all lead to a slower metabolic rate or metabolic dysfunction.