Many women struggle with weight gain around the mid-riff, even when they haven’t changed anything about their diet or lifestyle. Although changing your exercise routine is important, it is only part of the solution. This blog post will help you understand what is going on and what you can do.
Ageing is real and we have to make changes as we progress through our 40’s and beyond. If you incorporate changes and understand your body better, then age won’t feel like an issue at all. If you don’t, it can quickly catch up with you. Therefore, it is important to adjust your lifestyle.
Strength Training and the Importance of Lean Muscle
Sarcopenia is age related muscle loss and is a natural occurrence, bringing with it a decline in metabolism. If your metabolism reduces then your body doesn’t burn calories as efficiently, which can cause weight gain. This is where strength training comes in and is something I’m passionate about. You can do body weight strength training to build lean muscle, improve metabolism and achieve great results or incorporate some weights if you choose to. The great thing is that you can reduce sarcopenia and even reverse it! How good is that?!? This is where my app comes in, which I created to help you build consistency and strength through a variety of strength training classes.
Gut health is another key point and an area that needs your consideration. This subject area is huge and I could go on for pages and pages about the impact your gut microbiome has on your health and your brain, not forgetting your weight. As we get older, our digestive system becomes more sensitive and can become sluggish, leading to less efficient absorption of important nutrients. During peri-menopause, hormonal changes can further affect the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea. I started taking a probiotic and eating a breakfast rich in probiotics a few years ago, and the difference to my digestion has been significant.
Nutrition and Insulin Resistance
Nutrition is another factor and the key reason for that is insulin resistance, which, along with declining metabolism and poor gut health, can have a big impact on weight gain.
Insulin resistance occurs when most calories come from simple carbohydrates, which quickly break down and enter the bloodstream as glucose. The body produces insulin to get the glucose out of the blood and into the cells. Over time, if the intake of glucose is constant, the cells can’t keep up, leading to insulin resistance. This can cause diabetes and many other serious negative health effects.
The good news? You can stop this chain of events by making diet and lifestyle changes!
Insulin Imbalance Leads to other Hormonal Imbalances
A woman’s body in perimenopause is already trying to manage the effects of imbalanced sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone) that are the source of many perimenopause symptoms. Early stage insulin resistance can make all these symptoms worse. HRT not working for you? Your carbohydrate intake could well be a key factor.
Eating too many simple carbs that your body can’t manage leads to weight gain, especially around the middle, and can make perimenopause symptoms worse. Unless your insulin metabolism is balanced and functioning well, you won’t be able to truly reduce hot flashes, lose weight, or relieve other menopause symptoms.
It all comes back to lifestyle. Consistent nutritional change is as important as exercise. The really good news is that insulin and glucose levels are easily influenced by long-term changes in lifestyle, exercise, diet and supplementation. You literally can change your future.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are very important and can be found in eggs, flax seeds, fish, avocados, etc. An omega-3 supplement (good quality!) is important as we get older. Try to focus more on protein and vegetables and avoid simple carbs as much as possible. Consistent nutritional change is as important as exercise. A good quality high protein, low carbohydrate breakfast can do wonders and can also reduce evening snacking. Try not to start your day on caffeine when your cortisol levels are high. Try to eat something before coffee.
In conclusion, it all comes back to lifestyle. Long-term changes in lifestyle, exercise, diet, and supplementation can easily influence insulin and glucose levels. When all your hormones are in balance, they can do their jobs right, and you feel healthy.
Changing your lifestyle is a challenge and popping pills is way easier! However, pills have impacts too and in the long-run can just make everything worse. Make consistent changes and think about improving your daily habits. Always do your research if you’re on medication. Personally I prefer to find the route cause of the issue because there always is one.
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