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Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts: Check Your Hormones
Did you know that sex hormones impact many weight-related processes? From metabolism and muscle mass to sleep patterns and food cravings, sex hormones are crucial pieces in the weight-loss puzzle. Here’s how estrogen, progesterone and testosterone link to the battle of the bulge:
Sex hormones impact sleep. Estrogen impacts the human thermostat and the resulting hot flashes and night sweats can wreak havoc on sleep. Progesterone, a sleep-promoting hormone, also diminishes through menopause.
Belly fat blooms. Even without weight gain, middle-aged bodies start changing shape. For women, declining estrogen causes fat to be stored in the belly, not thighs and backsides. Belly fat is especially detrimental to our health. It produces toxins that interfere with insulin metabolism. The resulting ebb and flow of blood sugar impacts appetite and energy levels as well as is associated with Type 2 diabetes.
Muscle matters. It’s a physiological fact that muscle burns more calories than fat tissue does. This makes muscle mass a key factor in weight loss. But menopause messes with muscle – even if nutrition and exercise stay constant. Testosterone (yes, it’s found in females) decreases as much as 50% in the years from our mid-20s to our mid-40s. Decreasing estrogen diminishes muscle mass, too.
Cortisol counts. For peri- and postmenopausal women, changing hormones influence how their bodies respond to exercise. Estrogen and progesterone help modulate the stress hormone cortisol, which tells the body if it should be storing fat or burning it. When cortisol is released in larger doses during long periods of intense exercise, the lower levels of estrogen and progesterone in women over 40 can’t counteract cortisol shouting “store fat!” Therefore, 40+ females who exercise should limit higher intensity sessions to less than sixty minutes to maximize cortisol’s “burn fat, build muscle” messages. (How high is high? High intensity exercise makes talking very difficult, limiting you to just two or three words at a time.)
As you can see, sex hormones impact men and women’s health from head to toe. The latest medical research shows hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is safe for almost all women and does not increase all-cause mortality. Now’s the time to consider HRT for help with the physical and mental tribulations of diminishing sex hormones. Find an expert to discuss how HRT can help improve your health and restore your vitality today.