Weight gain is a very real challenge that comes with changes in our Hormones during Midlife.
It is very frustrating when we feel we have no control over what is happening to our body. Part of the reason we gain weight as we enter our Midlife Years, is because our Sex Hormones are declining.
Research has shown that Sex hormone changes absolutely DO increase our likelihood of gaining weight. Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone all help control body weight.
As Estrogen declines, thyroid hormone production and its function also declines. This means that our metabolic rate, the rate at which we burn calories, declines as 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. (The cause of the midsection weight gain!) 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.
As Progesterone declines, our ability to reach our deepest levels of sleep are affected and this results in increased cortisol production. As cortisol rises, we gain weight.
And how about Testosterone? Testosterone decline causes a loss of muscle mass as well as a decline in energy levels. Muscle loss decreases our metabolism further, causing increased weight gain. And decreased energy levels result in a lack of motivation to stay active, resulting in even more difficulty keeping our weight in control.