Before I bamboozle you with the technical steam roller that’s called middle-aged hormones, let me reassure you that you are not alone. The combination of declining hormone levels as we age can create the perfect storm of issues that can lead to feeling fat, frumpy and past our sell by date!
The good news is that once you reach middle age you don’t have to disappear into elastic waistbands, tight perms, and crimplene skirts – we can still be sexy, hot mamas… we are far from dead! Let me simplify the complex scientific principles into easy to digest explanations of some of our most important hormones, so you can start manipulating them to your favour and continue being the best version of you well into the second half of your life.
The science-y stuff that’s frigging up your hormones and your weight:
As we age this hormone declines. In our lives it impacts reproduction, periods, insulin sensitivity (how our body utilises and responds to the sugar and carbs we eat), bone health, appetite and weight gain. So, if you are reading this and you are affected by weight gain, fatigue and lack of motivation, you will need to learn how to offset the adverse effects of age-related oestrogen decline for better health.
Even though this is considered a male hormone it is an androgen which plays a role in both men and women, including muscle, bone and hair growth. Age-related decline can lead to loss of libido, depression, fatigue and weakness.
This hormone is like the mafia godfather when it comes to decisions on fat storage and metabolism. Cells in the pancreas secrete insulin. Once we eat foods containing sugar our blood sugar rises & insulin then kicks into gear by taking the sugar out of the blood and channelling it into the storage compartments in the body to provide energy for later use. It’s a complicated hormone and this is just the bare bones of its complex effects.
This hormone regulates how much energy your body produces, uses and how the body metabolises protein, carbohydrates and fat. When this is not operating normally it can lead to Hypothyroidism which can lead to weight gain, sluggishness, fatigue and even brain fog. Hyperthyroidism can lead to issues like sweating, muscle rigidity, difficulty sleeping, weight loss and hunger. So, it’s quite clear how important optimal thyroid hormone levels are for regulating fat mass and fat metabolism, and this hormone declines with age.
Here are some actionable steps for optimising hormones:
- Exercise with high intensity as well as getting your 10K steps per day.
- Use weight-bearing exercises which will improve insulin sensitivity and increase strength and resilience of bones.
- Carefully monitor your food intake. Stop eating large portions, and remember NOT to portion match with your male partner.
- Be consistent with an exercise, don’t dip in and out.
- Train with weights a few times a week and do exercise that challenge your cardiovascular system ie; get a sweat on.
- Don’t starve yourself. Chronic calorie restriction can impact circulating testosterone. If you do cycle calories don’t forget diet breaks and re-feeds.
- Improve food quality by increasing more complex carbohydrates, eating more lean protein and high fibre veg.
- Cut back on highly processed junk foods.
- Research show that periodic fasting can improve elevated blood glucose levels thus assisting with reversing insulin sensitivity.
- Exercise encourages the muscles to contract and channel glucose into the muscle tissue, this allows insulin to take a break and helps with sensitivity to his hormone.
- As we age the hormone declines warranting additional effort to counteract its adverse effects.
- Avoid chronically restricting diets. Severe calorie restriction reduces production of the thyroid hormone which can negatively impact your metabolism.
- Increase activity levels, unfortunately it’s incorrect to suggest slowing down as we get older. I advise my clients that they have to work harder to get results as we get age. Try new and interesting activities to get you moving your body in different ways.
- Try not to eat the majority of your calories from processed carbs. Remember that eating healthily does not entitle you to get leaner, it is eating less calories that governs weight loss.
Always seek the advice of your GP if you are worried about your hormonal health.
If you are Over 40 and really struggling with your weight and diet and need guidance on the correct exercises to help you get leaner, healthier and stronger then I can recommend my “Over 40 Lean & Strong Program”
It helps stabilise changing female hormones, encouraging the body to boost metabolism and reignite the burning of body fat through an appropriate nutrition and exercise program.
Readers can get 50% off by using discount code LEAN50
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