Or is it preventable and correctable?
When I turned 45 I started experiencing symptoms related to peri-menopause, including weight gain.
During this period in a woman’s life, her body prepares for a full shift away from estrogen and progesterone levels in her physiology.
The symptoms she may experience occur because of these hormonal shifts.
When estrogen drops, she may experience hot flashes, skin dryness. She can start feeling colder or warmer than usual. Her bone density can lower, her hair possibly becomes thinner and her nails more brittle. And she may struggle with weight gain.
She also could experience mucosal dryness in the mouth, lips, digestive system and vagina.
When progesterone drops, her muscles may weaken. And she could lose muscle and skin tone. She may experience heart palpitations, anxiety and headaches.
It’s important to know that the body adapts to these hormonal shifts.
A woman’s body maintains low levels of estrogen and progesterone by producing fats in the body.
Now, we’re not talking about visceral/abdominal fat. But if you’re a woman in your forties, you may have noticed that a little layer of fat around your abdomen has showed up. Fats produce estrogen.
Her adrenal glands which produce a precursor to progesterone, also help maintain her hormonal levels.
When these hormonal levels are maintained, even in small amounts, we suffer less or not at all from the shifts.
When we don’t, we can end up with what are commonly known as “menopausal” symptoms, including weight gain.
So then, the question is what would disturb the body’s natural adaptation and why so many of us struggle with weight gain?
From an Ayurvedic point of view, different hormones fuel the bodily tissues according to the stage of life.
During childhood, growth is mainly governed by HGH, Human Growth Hormone. This is the time of growth and development. Ayurveda calls this time, the Kapha time of life.
During adolescence, estrogen and testosterone move in, so to speak, and now fuel the bodily tissues. This is the time of drive, achievement and creation. Ayurveda calls this time, the Pitta time of life.
During retirement time, estrogen and testosterone drop. And to maintain healthy bodily tissue formation, we depend on our diets and lifestyle. Because, we no longer have the hormonal fuel to maintain them. Ayurveda calls this time, the Vata time of life.
So up until the Vata time of life, our hormones drove the fire that build our body tissues. In the Vata time of life, when the internal fuel drops, that “fire” or metabolic rate weakens.
According to Ayurveda, the symptoms we experience result from the dip in the tissues’ metabolic rate.
The way to maintain the metabolic rate even when it’s no longer fueled by the hormones, is through
- diet, the appropriate supply of nutrition to the bodily tissues.
- exercise/movement, the appropriate demand that I place on the tissues.
“Many women during their reproductive years, rest on their estrogen.” Says one of my Ayurvedic teacher Mary Thompson
“They didn’t focus on having a healthy diet and daily movement practices, such as stretching, cardiovascular workout and strength training. They don’t think about menopause until they start experiencing symptoms!”
I ate “pretty” well throughout my reproductive life, I ran and I practiced Forrest Yoga. Still I experienced weight gain, horrific debilitating headaches, hot flashes and anxiety attacks.
Why? I had to find out!
You may not know this, but before I became a weight loss coach, I lectured on menopause.
I trained with Mary Thompson. (Here’s the link to her course on menopause, the Ayurvedic Woman. I highly recommend it!)
After speaking to dozens of women, I saw a similar pattern in my life and theirs.
- We all weight cycled. All of us had been on more than one diet in our lives
- We all had digestive troubles. Either gas, bloating, indigestion or slow digestion. We either skipped meals, overate or ate when emotionally stressed
I shared in the past that though I was never overweight, I dieted during my career as a model. And later, went on yearly fasts because I was hooked on the feeling of lightness and weightlessness. Outside of dieting, I was always overeating because I wasn’t eating at regular times and by the time I was eating I was “hangry”. Emotional stress was also the cause of my overeating.
I also saw that it didn’t matter so much WHAT we ate. Whether we ate vegetarian foods or meat and potatoes!
And that’s what lead me to study, understand and teach about digestion.
When we improve digestion, weight gain is not only preventable but also reversible.
In my personal experience and observation, in order to improve digestion, we need to focus on 3 things:
- Food habits
- Food choices
When I corrected my food habits, made different food choices and incorporated regular routines in my lifestyle, I not only lost the weight but the symptoms related to menopause lessened and in time disappeared completely.
I observed the same thing in my many of my clients.
I actually like to catch my clients before they enter peri-menopause. Vata begins to accumulate around the age of 35 before the Vata time of life when it’s aggravated. Meaning when our hormones shift.
If you’re reading this and you’re between 35 and 55 and you’re starting to struggle with weight gain, act now!
Don’t know where to start? Schedule a complimentary Weight Breakthrough session with me by clicking on this link.