Weight gain during midlife can be a serious game changer for a woman’s self-esteem, and lead to many more problems above and beyond weight gain in and of itself. Weight gain is a very real challenge that comes with the changes in our hormones during midlife. It is very frustrating when we feel we have no control over what is happening to our body.
I assure you it doesn’t have to be this way. There is no reason we must gain weight during peri-menopause, menopause or even post menopause. But to prevent weight gain, we must know the facts, and how to overcome them.
Sex hormone changes absolutely do increase our likelihood of gaining weight.
Though there have not been studies done in humans, numerous studies in animals have shown that Estrogen helps control body weight. In animal studies, Estrogen decline has been shown to result in lab animals eating more and becoming less physically active.
The cause of this is not known. However, one clue is that research has demonstrated that reduced Estrogen causes a reduction in thyroid hormone production and function. This means that your metabolic rate, the rate at which you burn calories, declines as your Estrogen declines.
There is also evidence that declining estrogen results in the body’s inability to use starches and sugars as effectively as it once did. Both issues result in increased fat storage as well as create a much more difficult time for us to lose weight and keep the weight off.