Once you stop ovulating, your body fails to release the estrogen and progestogen your body was used to having. Anyone who has tossed and turned battling night sweats or stuck their face in the refrigerator to help ease a hot flash knows that when these hormones become off-balance, you can be left with a multitude of menopause side effects that are uncomfortable to say the least. Unfortunately, these hormone fluctuations don’t only cause side effects on your body temperature; they also cause unwelcomed changes to your figure.
Ways Hormones May Be Affecting Your Figure
When hormones become out of balance in your system, it can cause excess weight to accumulate in areas it hasn’t before and areas you definitely don’t want it. Things like an added weight on your stomach and hips can cause your figure to change shape and make it more difficult to fit clothing. Other weight gains can be less easy to hide, such as excess fat on your arms. The problem is that sometimes toning and working out cannot remove this excess fat or tighten up these areas, which makes it more difficult to get your figure back to where you want it. Here are some of the most common menopause side effects you may notice that can change the shape of your body, as well as ways to try to prevent or resolve them.
If you have gained weight in your stomach that is soft and jiggles when you move, you may have developed the dreaded jelly belly. The cause of this particular weight gain is often caused by the stress hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone releases energy when we encounter a stressful situation evoking our body’s natural fight or flight response. Unfortunately, when this energy is released, it is in the form of glucose and fat, which causes fat deposits to accumulate around your middle, causing lower energy levels.
To combat the effects of cortisol, it is vital to reduce overall stress and maintain a healthy diet that keeps your blood sugar levels regulated. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily life, such as relaxing to music or meditating. Additionally, you should eat frequent smaller meals, which will keep your blood sugar levels even and limit the release of cortisol. You can also incorporate foods such as cashews, whole-grain bread, and apples into your daily diet.
Chubby Thighs and a Large Derriere
Another common area to gain weight due to hormone fluctuations is your backside and the tops of your thighs. Weight gain here is often a result of oestrogen. When the levels of this hormone become too high, your body will begin to store fat in these two places because those fat cells will produce more of that hormone. In addition, alcohol can increase the effects of oestrogen because it prevents the liver from eliminating excess hormone levels from the body.
To avoid weight gain in this area, you should limit your alcohol intake and eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli which can help to regulate your liver enzymes so excess hormones can be eliminated. In addition, some studies have shown that Soya supplements can reduce the production of this hormone, but this study is still in the early stages.
Large Calves and Cankles
A lack of progesterone can lead to fluid retention, which often starts accumulating in and around the ankles. When your progesterone levels are regulated, your body will flush excess fluids from your body to keep swelling down. Additionally, low levels of human growth hormone in the body can trigger your body to store more fat in your legs, causing enlarged calves.
To help combat this problem, it is essential to lower your sodium levels to keep fluid levels down and reduce water retention. You should also consume vitamin E-rich foods, which can boost your progesterone levels in the body and aid in keeping fluid levels down.
A Full Face
Fat-storing in your neck and checks is most likely caused by decreased levels of thyroxine which is a hormone that the body produces in the thyroid gland. As a result, your thyroid can become less active, which slows your overall metabolism, causing your neck to become more swollen or even lead to a visible bump where your thyroid is located, referred to as a goiter.
To increase the levels of thyroxine in your body and reduce your risk of weight gain in your neck and face, you can take a supplement that contains selenium. Selenium can help your body utilize its natural thyroxine more efficiently. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism due to a less active thyroid should meet with their doctor to get on hormones that can help.
Your body will naturally produce DHEA so that it can be converted to testosterone, and you can develop lean muscle mass. However, if testosterone levels become too low in your body, you will begin replacing that muscle mass with fat. Since some of the largest muscles are in your arms, when this muscle shrinks and skin sags, you may develop what is referred to as bingo wings.
Testosterone will peak in a woman’s body in their mid-20s and then slowly reduce over time. To combat this reduction, you should consume higher protein foods such as eggs, nuts, fish, and tofu. Additional nutrients such as zinc, B6, and magnesium can also increase testosterone production and can be found in supplement form. There have also been studies that show a link between increased levels of testosterone in women who enjoy regular sex with their partners.
Human growth hormone is the culprit behind the accumulation of back fat in the body. A woman’s pituitary gland will release human growth hormones, which cause stimulation in the fat cells to make necessary repairs to your body’s tissue. However, when the body produces too little HGH, the message to the fat cells to convert to energy is not complete, leading to an accumulation of fat around the trunk of the body.
To combat the loss of HGH production in the body, you can consume more melatonin-rich foods. For example, foods such as raspberries can increase HGH secretion by over 150%. There have also been studies that show consuming foods high in amino acid glutamine such as yogurts can increase this hormone.
While genetics plays a lot in how your body shape will continue to change as you age, lifestyle and diet play an important role as well. Certain dietary additions and deletions can help you adjust the hormone levels in your body, as well as how you absorb them, helping to reduce your risk of some of the major figure changes listed above.