However hard you may be trying to lose weight, sometimes you just crave something sweet or sugary and find it hard to resist. Did you know it can relate to your hormone balance, not just your sweet tooth?
Despite a healthy diet and regular exercise, many women gain weight between the ages of 35 and 55. This is often caused by a hormone imbalance, the relationship between the two female hormones, progesterone and oestrogen that are critical. Research shows that low levels of progesterone and weight gain are closely related.
Why is progesterone the key hormone to help weight loss?
If you are experiencing PMS, or in the age bracket of menopause, chances are your progesterone levels have decreased. Women suffering from PMS or going through menopause often retain water, and experience abdominal bloating which means your clothes are feeling tighter – this is due to decreased progesterone levels.
Another symptom of having low progesterone levels is that this can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate. This is not good news as it can make you feel hungrier, and want to eat more. Unfortunately what we are tempted to eat is more high-sugar foods, resulting in more weight gain.
What seems even more unfair is that having low levels of progesterone also may slow the metabolism, which means you can gain weight while eating the same calories as before.
What do mood swings have to do with it?
Most women know that when they’re upset, anxious or depressed that chocolate or sugary carbs acts as a comfort factor and there is a logical reason for this. Mood swings are often the result of a hormone imbalance so that when the levels of serotonins and endorphins in the brain drop (the ‘feel good’ chemicals) then it seems that women instinctively turn to foods such as chocolate to raise those serotonin levels.
During menopause these mood swings are often very familiar as they are similar to those often experienced as part of pre-menstrual syndrome. Unfortunately, unlike PMS, in menopause the hormones don’t return to normal levels and the imbalance remains. This means that the food cravings last longer than in the past. The nett result? You eat more of the wrong sort of foods and put on even more weight.
Another factor that can’t be discounted when it comes to weight gain is HRT which is usually a combination of oestrogens and a synthetic form of progesterone known as a progestin. Unlike your own natural hormones, these have several side effects, including weight gain, fluid retention, breast tenderness and migraines and have also been linked to a higher risk of heart disease
What you can do about it
- Start by tackling hormone imbalances and oestrogen dominance by supplementing with specific natural remedies. There are many professional strength, effective herbal and nutritional remedies to help balance your hormones naturally so you can avoid unwanted symptoms.
- Help keep your moods stable by reducing sugar and refined foods.
- Limit how many caffeinated and carbonated drinks you have – especially any with ‘no sugar’ sweeteners as these can all make fluid retention worse.
- Reduce alcohol, as this will increase your likelihood of fluid retention and affect hormonal imbalances.