In the last 7 days I have had several women contact me regarding menopause, stalled weight loss and LCHF. While my research focussed on translational factors – adherence and acceptability – of LCHF in this age group, there are a myriad of factors that impact a woman’s ability to lose weight. This blog is longer than my usual, however this topic is too big to just gloss over and is a little more scientific than my usual. Furthermore this post will lead to several further posts on additional aspects of weight loss in this life stage.
As we age the oestrogen produced in our ovaries (Estradiol) that has kept us curvy and well proportioned in our younger years, starts to decrease. Oestrogen has an impact on both insulin (fat storage hormone) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL is an enzyme responsible for breaking down triglycerides (blood lipids/fats) and is instrumental in regulating the supply of fatty acids to the tissues for either storage or burning as energy. Unfortunately as oestrogen levels decrease in the approach towards menopause, LPL favours fat storage rather than fat burning and to make matters worse as we age fat deposits are re-positioned from the cells below the waist to the in cells above the waist. I refer to this phenomenon as the ‘ka-boomb’ factor; it’s when we just start putting on weight in places and in shapes that we have never experienced it before.
If only it was that simple, but there is something else at play here. As our natural oestrogen decreases, our cells go looking for oestrogen in all the wrong places. Our bodies make more oestrogen when we eat processed carbohydrate based foods. Insulin is secreted in response to sugar and processed carbs and then stores fat around and above our waistlines causing our bodies to make more oestrogen (Estrone). This oestrogen in turn causes growth of more fatty tissues. Another of those vicious cycles that just won’t end well! By the way ladies, a good way of getting rid of these toxic oestrogens is regular bowel movements, so plenty of fibre is essential!
An eating approach that endorses a diet low in processed foods, high in green leafy vegetables and natural healthy fats (LCHF) goes a long way to alleviate the impact of this imbalance in oestrogen.
However as much as I would like to say that this way of eating can control those oestrogen levels and help you lose the weight that has crept on since you turned 40ish… sorry ladies, there is so much more at play……….
To fully address stalled weight loss or get that weight loss underway, we do need to address stress levels and hormonal status. While LCHF is an effective weight loss strategy, it is not the magic bullet for everyone and usually needs to be tweaked; particularly in pre and menopausal women. Over the next few weeks I will be posting about the additional issues impacting weight loss in this life stage. However please remember this – as mothers, wives and career women we owe it to ourselves, our families and our friends to be healthy and happy. Furthermore we have the ability to influence and improve the health and wellbeing of those around us. So if we can get it right, and we will, it can only be a good thing for everyone.
Here are a few things to consider initially if your weight loss has stalled or has not actually commenced;
- Reduce or cut dairy, there are other great fat sources – coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, fat on meat
- Include more green leafy raw vegetables. If you are not a green smoothie enthusiast, try my bubbly version – Green Soda Smoothie – trust me it’s great! Plus just eat more green salads!
- I hate to say it ladies but cut that alcohol for a few weeks, believe me you will feel better for it. I am not saying forever, just for the initial weight loss phase
- Enjoy your cooked breakfasts but alternate them with a grain free breakfast option Just Nuts, served with almond milk. This option will keep you feeling full until early afternoon, it is crunchy and full of flavour.