I have worked in the fields of health, wellness and fitness my whole life. I have witnessed all the changes from nutrition and dietary recommendations to all the latest fitness crazes and programs. I have always made course corrections where it made sense to do so, and not everything always made sense! I have helped many people lose weight and keep it off over the years, and I have experimented with a lot of things for myself. But nothing has prepared me for the challenges of maintaining a healthy weight in midlife! I call it midlife weight gain syndrome because it seems like after the age of 40, a fat switch turns on and suddenly everything you eat ends up on your midsection. The weight just mysteriously sneaks up on you and before you know it, you have gained extra 10-15 lbs.
After doing a ton of research I have concluded there are 5 main reasons women especially are vulnerable to this weight gain syndrome after the age of 40.
#1 – The Sex Hormones Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone – As we age, and as ovulation slows and stops, progesterone and estrogen plummet. Progesterone drops first, leaving us in a state of estrogen dominance. Then as estrogen decreases, our body works overtime to convert calories to fat in order to generate more estrogen (fat cells generate estrogen). Too much estrogen circulating in the body increases body fat, especially around the mid-section.
Also, as we get older, we experience a decrease in testosterone, which leads to a decrease in muscle mass, so we burn fewer calories making it more difficult to maintain or lose weight.
#2 – Stress – As we age, life becomes increasingly stressful for many women. Stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol, which encourages the body to store fat.
#3 – Inflammation – Eating too many inflammatory foods causes the hormone leptin to mal-function. Leptin is responsible for regulating the body’s level of fat by controlling appetite and metabolism. Too much inflammation in the body impairs the brains ability to receive Leptins appetite suppressing messages.
#4 – Lack of Sleep – Whether it’s not enough minutes or not good quality (due to night sweats and hot flashes) when you are sleep deprived, your metabolism simply will not function properly.
#5 – Lifestyle – Most likely you haven’t changed much about your lifestyle from when you were younger, but back then you were able to manage your weight more easily because your hormones were more in balance. However, as you got older your body began a slow re-compositioning of fat vs. muscle. Another reason I call it the midlife weight gain syndrome. It feels sort of mysterious why you are gaining weight all of a sudden, when in reality, the loss of just 1-2% of lean tissue per decade is equal to an extra 10-15 lbs.
To help combat the midlife weight gain syndrome, I have created a FREE 5 Day Midlife Mastery Healthy Weight Challenge. When you join us, you will get one challenge a day for 5 days. They are meant to get you on the road to reversing midlife weight gain once and for all. The challenge will start next Monday, September 26. You can sign up here…I look forward to your amazing journey to mastering your weight in midlife and beyond.
Debra Betterly, PhD is an Integrative Wellness & Life Coach and Metaphysician whose passion is to help women in midlife master their body, mind and spirit.
Her “10 Day Whole Person Detox Challenge” is offered as a free body, mind, Spirit approach to holistic health. Learn more here
Her popular Midlife Mastery Healthy Weight Program is scheduled to begin again on January 15, 2018 and registrations are being taken now. This is a 2 month program designed specifically for women 40+ who want to take control of their weight, health and life. It provides cheat sheets, exercises, worksheets, tools, planning, and support for lasting lifestyle change! Learn more here!