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Menopause, peri-menopause & weight

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

You have already learned about metabolic syndrome and whilst that can have an impact on weight gain, what are the other reasons that we can gain weight in different places and why does it seem to happen all of a sudden?


Changes occurring?

During the menopause and peri-menopause the hormones levels are changing. Whilst the patterns of female hormone changes is the same, the effect on individuals can vary. Signs and symptoms of weight gain due to hormonal imbalances occur in men too, in addition to loss of libido. The three important things to look at are:

  1. blood sugar levels,

  2. stressors and

  3. what your sex hormones are doing.

When these three areas of the triangle of health are imbalanced and left unaddressed it impacts upon your physical, mental and emotional health causing anxiety, worry, stress, overwhelm, low self esteem, digestive and immune issues. How many times have to heard about short tempers, low tolerance levels, mood swings, aches, pains, stiffness, headaches, increase in allergies or food intolerances, lack of energy, poor concentration? Whilst the signs and symptoms might be common it is NOT normal.


Hormone Imbalances

High oestrogen levels can cause your body to retain water, which can lead to bloating. On top of this, excess physical and emotional stressors can lead to leaky gut symptoms (when the bacteria and toxins from the gut leak through the intestinal wall). Birth control - the pill - also causes weight gain as it causes insulin resistance, increased cravings for sugar and stops the muscle building that occurs with exercise. If the liver is unable to clear out excess toxins in your system that can also cause weight gain, e.g. too much Oestrogen.


Excess oestrogen can be due to a variety of reasons, too much soya, xenoestrogens (from toiletries, environment, cleaning products, lotions, pesticides, plastics, pollution etc) alcohol, high refined carbohydrate diets, adrenal fatigue, excess cortisol (Stress), blood sugar imbalances, hormone imbalances, medical conditions... to name a few.


Indicators of the menopause can include:

  • chronic diarrhoea, constipation, gas or bloating,

  • nutritional deficiencies,

  • poor immune system,

  • headaches, brain fog and memory loss,

  • excessive fatigue,

  • skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea,

  • cravings for sugar or carbs,

  • arthritis or joint pain,

  • weight gain,

  • food sensitivities,

  • lack of chewing and poor digestion.


Where is the weight gain? Around the middle.

Ensuring that each meal you eat has protein, fat and carbohydrates is important but so too is finding out what food intolerances you may have and looking at the amount of wheat, dairy and refined sugar that is consumed.


Starting to move more, exercise with resistance and do short busts of high intensity are all beneficial but also the time of day you workout can be key.


Good quality sleep and reducing the amount of stressors in your life are also important. Stressors can be biochemical, emotional, electrical and structural and they all have an impact on blood sugar levels.


There are 6 areas that you may see weight gain due to hormone imbalances:

  • Upper chest and triceps (bingo wings)

  • Mid back and top of the hips

  • Side of the rib-cage

  • Stomach

  • Knees and calf

  • Thighs


What can I do?

You can help yourself straight away by making simple lifestyle changes to the following areas:-

  • Environment

  • Internal - food, lotions and potions, what you put into and onto your body

  • External - work, home environment, noise, pollution, cleaning products, computers over stimulating your sympathetic nervous system

  • Movement, Exercise, Restorative, Reflection & Pleasure time

  • Resistance or interval exercise earlier in the day

  • Meditation, Mindfulness, restorative movement, breath work, MELT Method to support the parasympathetic nervous system

  • Waking & Sleep routine

  • Getting 6 to 9 hours of sleep in a dark, quiet environment with no LEDs or lights from devices

  • Waking up at regular times and easing yourself into the day

  • Power nap if needed


A Touch 4 Health session looks at any imbalances in your blood sugars, stress, hormones and endocrine system and then uses a variety of techniques to rebalance the energies to enable your body to function effectively.


You can book at Wells or Somerton



For more information about your daily eating check out our food sheet

4UPilates PFC food sheet
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