Skip to main content

Midlife weight gain is readily attributed to the menopause – why exactly is this?

In our 20´s and 30´s the cells of the brain and cells of the energy system which drive metabolism are bathed in the natural monthly dance of oestrogen and progesterone.  Oestrogen is the DIVA and rises in the first half of the cycle (days 1-14) and progesterone (supporting actress) takes the stage mid-cycle whilst oestrogen goes backstage.  This is the gentle waltz that occurs between the two hormones every month.

Metabolism relies heavily upon this dance to maintain blood sugar levels.  As we enter perimenopause and oestrogen levels become erratic soaring high and low, and pushing progesterone off stage, we suddenly see an erratic tango rather than a gentle waltz and this results in a decline in insulin sensitivity and a shift towards insulin resistance, increased weight and elevations in LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammatory chemicals.

So what’s the link between insulin and oestrogen?

As we move through pre/peri menopause and enter menopause the drop in oestrogen means we are less able to regulate blood sugar levels and may women become insulin resistant.  Insulin resistance is like a brake, slowly the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. We suddenly experience more brain fog and forgetfulness.

When you are insulin resistant your cells are less able to utilise blood glucose as efficiently – your liver then converts the excess glucose to fat.

The extra fat cells are now producing additional oestrogen. Excess oestrogen influences your ability to burn and lose fat.

There is more on this on pages 13, 48-50 of your E book.

Additionally, insulin affects another hormone called leptin. Leptin is a protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism.

Insulin resistance raises leptin levels which can result in leptin resistance which means you don’t get the signal to stop eating. This can create a vicious cycle of overeating, excess weight, and higher body fat.

When insulin remains high you are not a fat burning machine because your cells cannot absorb the glucose optimally and your liver converts the glucose to fat.

Leptin resistance is at the heart of carbohydrate cravings, increased hunger and overeating. Made in your fat cells, leptin regulates your feelings of satiety and your lean body mass. When you eat, leptin is produced in and released from your fat cells and then travels in the blood to your brain. Under normal circumstances it tells your hypothalamus that you’re full and can’t stop eating.

The best way to reset leptin is to cut back on fructose and carbohydrates and increase protein.

Often high triglycerides lead to leptin resistance as it can interfere with leptin signalling in the brain. Therefore, checking lipid levels can be helpful.

Leptin is also a factor in systemic / chronic inflammation – in some cases addressing inflammation can be helpful for leptin signalling.

Leptin can also be affected via poor sleep patterns. Focusing on improving sleep is therefore important in supporting a healthy weight/size.

Key Ways to Reduce Cravings/Reduce Leptin Resistance is on P22 of your E book

Ghrelin is the opposing hormone to Leptin

 Key Ways to Reduce Cravings/Reduce Leptin Resistance is on P22 of your E book

Ghrelin is the opposing hormone to Leptin – I´ll keep that for tomorrow

Leave a Reply