Weight loss can be challenging at the best of times. Very strict diets can create imbalances and cause a person to regain weight quickly after the diet stops.
Frequently, stubborn weight is a combination of many factors like hormones, underlying infection and blood sugar regulation.
During or after menopause, women can find it even more challenging to get rid of excess weight.
It is often not simply a matter of 'eat less, exercise more.'
Even doctors frequently miss treating these 3 important components to healthy weight loss - your adrenal glands, your liver and your thyroid.
The Adrenal Connection
When post menopausal women have trouble losing weight, I have found that it is usually because of the following scenario.
In menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels are lower and the body holds onto fat in effort to make up the difference in the progesterone and estrogen levels.
If the adrenal gland is not working as well as it should due to stress, this is called adrenal fatigue and it makes weight loss even harder because the body wants to hang on to the fat to make up for the drop in the levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Adrenal fatigue is also detrimental to overall health because your adrenal glands are responsible for producing our stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol).
When our adrenal glands are in 'fatigue' they can't keep up with our stressful lives anymore and it can feel like we can never really 'recharge'.
Post menopausal women have to rely upon their adrenal glands, rather than their ovaries, to produce progesterone and estrogen.
If the adrenal glands are down, the 'back up system' is fat tissue.
When the adrenal glands are strong and healthy, the body can then start to lose fat because it no longer needs the fat to act as a hormone production center.
Fat tissue is the often-overlooked hormone producing 'organ'. Excess fat produces hormones as well as inflammation by increasing the production of cytokines (inflammatory compounds).
Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue?
Do you feel like you are stressed out most of the time over work, relationships, finances, or your health?
Is it hard for you to physically relax and stop ruminating (thinking about things over and over)?
Does this rumination prevent you from sleeping?
Do you get anxiety or panic attacks?
Has it been a long time since you felt recharged and refreshed after sleep?
Do you feel more irritable than you have in the past?
Do little things stress you out that previously did not affect you?
Do you crave salty or sweet foods?
Do you have fat accumulation around your midsection?
Answering 'yes' to 2 or more of the above questions indicates that adrenal fatigue is a strong possibility.
Adrenal fatigue happens when your body is consistently dumping adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream because it perceives your daily stress as an 'emergency.' In the short term, this will help you pull through a stressful situation.
If, however, the stress continues, then your constant demand for adrenaline and cortisol will eventually fatigue the adrenal glands that is producing them.
At this point you may need caffeine to get through the day, your sleep won't be restful and it feels as though you never 'recharge' at night.
If you are trying to lose weight and you have adrenal fatigue, not only will your efforts feel futile but you may actually be worsening the situation.
The 3 Components Of Weight Loss
The key to successful weight loss for menopausal women is to treat underlying adrenal fatigue, while fine tuning thyroid and liver function.
1. Support Healthy Adrenal Function
After assessing your adrenal health, we can begin to systematically reestablish normal adrenal function. How we do this will vary based on your other health conditions and the severity of your adrenal fatigue.
For all of my patients, I would start with some dietary changes. Usually, this is no time for Keto or intermittent fasting longer than 12 hours.
Thats because fasting, or a lack of carbohydrates can cause your body to secrete adrenaline to get you through fuel deprivation. This can tire out your adrenal glands even more.
Most patients with adrenal fatigue will need to eat every four hours, others will need to eat every 2.5 hours.