Question: Although I have struggled with the extra 10 pounds for most of my life, now that I’m 42 years old and perimenopausal, I seem to be losing the battle. I’m now almost 20 pounds over my ideal weight. I have dieted to lose weight in the past, but it has become more and more difficult to diet as I become older. Please help! — Internet Answer: As women enter middle-age, hormones are changing. Hormonal issues and imbalances, involving adrenal and thyroid hormones as well as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, that have existed for a long time can become more pronounced. Sometimes new issues or imbalances begin. Whether longstanding or new, these problems can cause weight gain and interfere with attempts to lose weight. Fully implementing the lifestyle described in my book Never Be Fat Again is often enough to resolve hormonal issues and imbalances, however if you are implementing the lifestyle to the best of your ability and still feeling that weight loss is a struggle, you may need some additional hormonal support. You can have your hormone levels measured, so you don’t have to guess, and it’s helpful to continue to test periodically so you can track your progress. You’ll probably want to do this with a healthcare professional who can help guide you in choosing the right tests and in interpreting the results. As the ovaries begin to shut down, the adrenals take over the job of making sex hormones, putting extra stress on these glands. The adrenals are already responsible for making stress hormones, and in our stressful world they are often fatigued by the time a woman reaches menopause. Being given additional responsibilities can push them into overload. The adrenals can be strengthened by adequate B vitamins and lots of vitamin C, rest, stress reduction and stress management, and various herbs, especially the adaptogens. Supplementing with Beyond Health's Adrenal Support Formula would be helpful. As women get older, hypothyroidism becomes more common. Hypothyroidism lowers metabolism, and this is conducive to weight gain. Iodine, which is needed for proper thyroid function, is notoriously deficient today; sometimes simply taking supplemental iodine is enough to get thyroid function up and running again. However it may be necessary to take supplemental thyroid – the natural thyroid is best. Although estrogen levels decline in perimenopause, progesterone often declines even more, initiating or exacerbating an already existing situation of estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance causes the body to hold on to both water and fat and is a major factor in weight gain. To reduce estrogen, eat a low-glycemic, moderate carbohydrate, moderate fat diet, and drink plenty of purified water (estrogens are now found in public water; reverse osmosis or distillation removes them). Avoid estrogenic toxins such as pesticides; plastic residues; meat, poultry and fish that have been given hormones; and estrogen replacement therapy as well as estrogenic medications. Stress hormones encourage estrogen production at the same time that they inhibit progesterone, so here’s another reason to reduce and manage stress. Help to process and eliminate estrogen from your body by supporting optimal liver function and by getting at least 35 grams of fiber a day. Unfortunately, while too much estrogen makes us fat, fat cells produce estrogen, leading to a vicious cycle. To break this cycle it may be necessary to apply topical progesterone cream.
Information contained in NewsClips articles should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.