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Lose and Maintain your ideal weight in Perimenopause & Menopause: 10 pieces of advice

Updated: Jun 14

Let’s start with the basics.

Different types of fats are:

1. Subcutaneous Fat:

- Location: Directly under the skin, particularly in hips, thighs, and buttocks.

- Characteristics: Soft and pinchable.

- Health Impact: Can cause joint pain and sleep apnea, but is less harmful than visceral fat.

2. Visceral Fat:

- Location: Surrounds internal organs in the abdominal cavity.

- Characteristics: Deeper and not visible.

- Health Impact: Linked to higher risks of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation.

3. Intramuscular Fat:

- Location: Within muscle fibers.

- Characteristics: Stored inside muscles.

- Health Impact: Excessive amounts impair muscle function and insulin sensitivity.

What is Body Fat and Its Contribution to Weight Gain

Body Fat and Health:

- Body fat stores energy and protects organs.

- Excessive fat, particularly visceral fat, can lead to serious health issues like cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Hormones Produced by Visceral Fat:

- Leptin: Regulates appetite but can lead to resistance in obesity.

- Adiponectin: Enhances insulin sensitivity but is lower in obese individuals.

- Resistin: Associated with insulin resistance.

Feeling: hunger hormone

Cytokines and Chemokines:

- TNF-α and IL-6: Promote inflammation and insulin resistance.

- MCP-1 and PAI-1: Contribute to chronic inflammation and cardiovascular risk.


What is Ghrelin?

Ghrelin is a hormone produced mainly in the stomach and small intestine.

It stimulates appetite, increases food intake, and promotes fat storage.

Role in Weight Gain

Increased Appetite: Ghrelin levels rise before meals and fall after eating, signaling hunger and promoting eating.

Fat Storage: Higher ghrelin levels can lead to increased fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area.

Impact During Menopause

Hormonal changes during menopause can lead to increased ghrelin levels, making it harder to control appetite and leading to weight gain.

Cortisol: The Stress Hormone

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress.

It plays a role in various bodily functions, including metabolism and immune response.

Role in Weight Gain

Stress Response: High cortisol levels, often due to chronic stress, can lead to increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods.

Fat Storage: Cortisol promotes fat storage, particularly visceral fat around internal organs, which is linked to higher health risks.

Ten steps to Lose Weight Permanently

1. Balanced Protein Intake:

- Maintain protein intake to meet daily needs without excess. Do not eat too much protein, because excess gets converted to fat. -Having proteins as part of Balanced diet rather than supplements helps avoid conversion of excess protein to fat.

2. Increase Soluble Fiber:

- Consuming soluble fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains promotes satiety and regulates blood sugar, reducing visceral fat.

- Fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding beneficial gut bacteria.

3. Incorporate natural Prebiotics and Probiotics:

- Prebiotics (garlic, onions, bananas) and probiotics (yogurt, sauerkraut) support gut health.

- A healthy gut microbiome improves metabolism, reduces inflammation, and helps regulate appetite.

4. Regular Exercise:

- Both aerobic exercises (walking, jogging) and strength training help reduce visceral fat.

- Exercise improves insulin sensitivity and overall metabolic health.

5. Hydrate well. If you can’t shower with it, don’t use it to hydrate yourself!

6. Stress Management:

- Techniques like mindfulness and meditation lower cortisol levels.

Lower stress reduces cortisol-driven fat accumulation, particularly around the abdome

7. Balance your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. As you enter perimenopause, the most abundant estrogen, 17β-estradiol, declines and eventually stops being produced when the ovaries run out of eggs. At this point, estrone production increases. Estrone is 20 times less potent than 17β-estradiol and comprises only 0.2% of the total estrogen. Estrone is produced by fat cells around the organs (visceral fat). With menopause, belly fat often increases. This belly fat contributes to leptin resistance, high ghrelin levels, inflammatory cytokines, and poor metabolic health, leading to metabolic syndrome. This syndrome can ultimately result in hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and even Alzheimer’s dementia.

8. Hot and cold contrast showers.

Hot and cold showers, also known as contrast showers, have been discussed in the context of weight loss for many years, due to their potential effects on metabolism, fat cells, and overall health.

Practical Tips

Duration: Start with short durations (e.g., 30 seconds of cold followed by 1-2 minutes of hot) and gradually increase as you become more accustomed to the temperature changes.

Frequency: Contrast showers can be done daily or several times a week, especially after workouts. Try daily, you’ll love it!

Safety: Always listen to your body and avoid extremes that might cause discomfort or health issues.

9. Stop snacking: The usual dietician advice of eating frequent small meals a day to boost metabolism is now proven to be the wrong way to do it. Instead, eat what you need to eat and close your eating window. Allow your body to shift from glucose burning to fat burning. Of course keto can help, but excess proteins gets converted to fat. Know your good fats, utilise MCT oil now available from any supermarket.

10. Stop calorie counting, adopt low carbohydrates, plant based keto, intermittent fasting.

intermittent fasting is your super power!

Muscle reset Mindy Pelz

Eat in the right order -glucose goddess

36 hour fasts to unstick weight

Robert Lustig is a Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology and a public health expert on the impact of sugar on our health. He is the author of bestselling books such as, ‘Fat Chance’, ‘Metabolical’, and ‘The Hacking of the American Mind’. Listen to his interview here

Dr Purity Carr

GP & Menopause Doctor

Harvey WA 6220

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