One of the biggest challenges that doctors, nutritionists and exercise specialists experience is helping their menopausal patients not just lose weight—but burn fat.
There are major hormonal shifts that happen as women enter menopause. As a specialist in female health and hormones, I have worked with so many women who struggle to lose fat after menopause. The number one reason that post-menopausal women struggle to lose fat is that it becomes much more difficult to build muscle after 40.
In fact, women who have gone through menopause are actually losing muscle every decade that they grow older. If women are inactive throughout their life, they will lose around 5% of their muscle per decade after 30 years of age. Ladies, you must perform some form of resistance training (ex. resistance training) in particular to offset this muscle loss and consume adequate amounts of protein. Preferably from a high-quality animal source.
Hormones & Thyroid to Blame for Muscle Loss in Women 40+
Building and maintaining muscle mass is not solely a job for testosterone. The hormones estrogen and progesterone play a role in maintaining and building muscle as well (1). When a woman goes through menopause, these hormones are no longer available to the tissue, making it incredibly difficult for the body to build lean muscle (1). A woman’s physical output needs to be greater and more intense. Although, the intensity does not necessarily need to be longer and certainly not focused on cardio as she ages.
Additionally, I often see thyroid changes in menopausal patients. This does not necessarily go hand and hand with menopause, but it is often the case. Thyroid changes affect their tissue’s homeostasis, causing them to become more injury prone (2).
Insulin Resistance & Fat Storage in Peri/Menopausal Women
In addition to thyroid and hormonal changes, peri/menopausal women’s bodies cannot tolerate carbohydrates and sugar as they once could—making their bodies much less resistant to insulin. In turn, their bodies are much more likely to store fat when overeating or consuming an overabundance of carbohydrates/sugars.
To lose not just weight but fat, women will have to streamline their carbohydrate intake. I also suggest women adjust their carbs to meet their activity levels and eat most of them from a variety of fibrous vegetables. Most women will need to jump start their metabolism and lower their carbohydrate intake below 100g per day to become more efficient at burning fat for fuel. Some may even need to implement a high protein/ketogenic type of way of eating initially to lose fat and then find their carbohydrate “sweet spot” in order to maintain a lower body fat percentage.
Women After 40: Burn Fat with B3H+®
At Balance 3H Plus®, we know how to restore and reset a menopausal woman’s body. We have a standard of care and check list of what we will be looking for in order to get the hormones back into balance and get the metabolic engine firing. Our program includes a Health 365 comprehensive blood panel which tests:
- Blood levels of all standard female hormones
- FSH, LH, sex hormone binding globulin, progesterone, estrogen(s), testosterone, DHEA
- Inflammatory markers (CRP)
- “Sed” rate (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate)
- Fasting glucose
- Full thyroid panel
- Vitamin D
- Leptin & more!
If necessary, we will also order a test for bone density, as this is common in menopausal women.
Typically, I start most female clients on a very low dose of hormones. For example, I may use biologically identical hormones like oral progesterone for helping with anxiety and sleep. Of course, this is complemented by a nutritional protocol and exercise program appropriate for their age and ability.
Get Started Today to Lose Fat & Boost Muscle Mass
A woman CAN lose fat and boost her muscle mass during and after menopause, which is necessary for optimal longevity and a healthy metabolism. It is not as easy, but something that can be accomplished with the right diet, hormonal support and lifestyle practices.
Ready to get started on your fat-burning weight loss transformation? Click here to book your appointment!
Author: Dr. Siobhan Kealy
- Anastasia Wyce, Yuchen Bai, Sunil Nagpal, Catherine C. Thompson; The Androgen Receptor Modulates Expression of Genes with Critical Roles in Muscle Development and Function, Endocrine Reviews, Volume 31, Issue 4, 1 August 2010, Pages 604, https://doi.org/10.1210/edrv.31.4.9987.
- J. Bowers, J. Terrien, M. S. Clerget-Froidevaux, J. D. Gothié, M. P. Rozing, R. G. J. Westendorp, D. van Heemst, B. A. Demeneix; Thyroid Hormone Signaling and Homeostasis During Aging, Endocrine Reviews, Volume 34, Issue 4, 1 August 2013, Pages 556–589, https://doi.org/10.1210/er.2012-1056.
Get Articles and Recipes sent to your inbox to keep you motivated! Lose Weight with B3H+®.
FREE DOWNLOAD - Your Copy of 10 Days to Balanced Hormones, with 10 Tasty Smoothie Recipes