Author: Dr. Siobhan Kealy
Women’s hormonal changes during peri-/menopause are associated with and considered to be drivers of multiple aspects of the aging process, including and often the most disturbing, unwanted weight gain. It’s a grim statistic that women over age 40 who try to lose weight through dieting, end up regaining that weight within a year. Why does this happen?
One reason, is women believe “dieting” is the immediate solution to their long term weight problems. This mindset gets them into trouble later, when they return to their old behaviors because the diet no longer works. Ultimately, they regain what pounds they lost, plus some.
Do you ever ask yourself, “Why is it so hard to lose weight after 40?”
Because losing weight is about more than just choosing the ‘right’ foods, counting calories and adhering to an exercise routine. After age 40 a woman’s biochemistry (ie. chemical processes in the body) is more sensitive to becoming metabolically damaged and imbalanced, due to changes in a variety of critical hormones (e.g. estrogen, progesterone, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, cortisol, etc), diet, stress and lifestyle choices. Their weight loss attempts will continuously fail if they are not addressing the underlying biochemical reasons for weight gain or weight loss resistance.
Some of the biochemical reason include:
- Mineral Deficiencies – mineral deficiencies make you fatigued and more prone to eating foods that you give you quick energy, such as refined carbs, sugar and caffeine. They also make you crave salty foods, as salt has minerals.
- Chemical and Heavy Metal Toxicity – chemicals and heavy metals interfere with your ability to lose weight.
- Neurotransmitter (serotonin and dopamine) Deficiencies – a major source of ‘emotional eating’.
- Hormonal Imbalances – estrogen dominance, adrenal and thyroid glands malfunction, high ghrelin, high cortisol, and low leptin levels. If your hormones are out of balance, your ability to lose weight is nearly impossible.
- Insulin Resistance (IR) – in this condition, the sugars you eat are not absorbed by your cells to make energy. Insulin resistance causes elevated blood sugar levels and actually makes you crave more food in an effort to ‘feel’ more energy. Often unaddressed IR leads to serious health complications, such as type 2 diabetes.
Another reason it becomes harder for women to lose weight as they age, is their body resist change. The body wants to maintain a state of equilibrium. If they try too drastically change things (via low calorie diets or over exercising), the body responds with metabolic compensation, such as increasing appetite, lowering body temperature, energy levels and it’s potential for fat burning.
Leptin and Ghrelin
There are two important hunger hormones that influence our appetite and satiety signals: leptin and ghrelin. Let’s look at their critical role in the weight loss equation.
The hormone leptin is your appetite suppressor. Ghrelin, on the other hand, increases appetite and plays a major role in regulating body weight. When you eat less, ghrelin increases and tells your brain, “I’m hungry, eat more!”. Once you eat enough (ie. achieve satiety) leptin tells your brain, “I’m full, stop eating!”. If you become leptin resistant (typically associated with someone who is obese) you don’t hear the signals to stop eating and never feel satisfied. When you diet your body will release high amounts of ghrelin, which makes you ‘hangry’ (hungry and angry), until you breakdown and eat enough calories. When you eat more, especially the ‘wrong’ types of foods, you gain weight easily, store unhealthy fat around your midsection and further disrupt this delicate hormonal balance.
Obviously, this will present a challenge if trying to lose fat and keep it off-leading, perhaps, to the dreaded “Yo-Yo dieting” phenomenon.
Can leptin and ghrelin dysfunction provide an explanation for the weight loss resistance and fluctuations women experience after 40? And could this relationship be the answer for long lasting weight loss?
It certainly does provide an explanation for why fat loss is so difficult after 40. Integrative medicine doctors at the B3H+® weight loss centers oversee Dr. Kealy’s Balance 3H Plus® program. The Program addresses fat loss and fat loss resistance from a completely different approach; from a hormonal approach. It is unlike the most popular and often unsuccessful diet programs on today’s market. The Program is specifically designed for women entering perimenopause and who are in or have gone through menopause. The B3H+® Program focuses on balancing key hormones that are known to fluctuate and disrupt women’s weight, appetite, and satiety signals during menopause – leptin, ghrelin, insulin and cortisol.
After just 8 weeks on the Program, women lost an average of 6% body weight. They lost an average of 1.9% body fat and 4.2 cm off their waists. But the average doesn’t give us the whole story. Some women lost more than 6% of their weight, while others lost less. This may seem self-evident and not that interesting……until you look at their blood work (biochemistry!). Women who lost more fat (>6%) had a significant drop in leptin and insulin levels compared to women who lost less. Suggesting that losing fat is correlated to having lower levels of leptin and insulin.
And there is another amazing thing; Lower levels of leptin and ghrelin (hunger hormones) were correlated with clients who experienced sustainable weight loss months and years after completing the B3H+® Program. All of this shows that weight loss after 40 may be more about creating hormonal harmony, and less to do with what is always on the plate or how many calories were burned.
Are you seeking to lose weight? Can you relate to the struggle with stress eating, insatiable hunger and sugar cravings?
If you answered yes, then Dr. Kealy’s scientifically proven B3H+® Program can help. You can naturally and gradually reset your metabolism, hormones and behaviors by focusing on making sustainable, permanent nutrition, movement and lifestyle changes. You will not only lose weight, but with the right hormonal balance, you will think clearer and feel better no matter your age, size and state of health.
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