There are certain sex hormones and stages of life that also influence weight gain and set points.
Oestrogens and androgens help to decide body fat distribution. Oestrogens are sex hormones made at the the ovaries and are highest in pre-menopausal women. They are responsible for prompting ovulation every menstrual cycle so that we can prepare ourselves for conception.
Men and postmenopausal women do not produce much oestrogen in their testicles or ovaries. Instead, most of their oestrogen is produced in their body fat, although at much lower amounts than what is produced in pre-menopausal ovaries
Infancy, pregnancy, menopause and post-menopausal are periods of life where fat deposition changes. The changes with age in the sex hormone levels of both men and women are associated with changes in body fat distribution. While women of childbearing age tend to store fat in their lower body (‘pear-shaped’), older men and postmenopausal women tend to increase storage of fat around their abdomen (‘apple-shaped’). Postmenopausal women who are taking oestrogen supplements don’t accumulate fat around their abdomen. Animal studies have also shown that a lack of oestrogen leads to excessive weight gain.
What can we do?
Do not make your weight loss journey a lonely one. Seek help, gather support and work on achieving long term consistency and persistent life style changes that will keep your metabolism moving and your body less adaptive to your set point. To achieve sustainable weight loss, long term intervention is needed. Work on your chaotic eating, add exercise into your daily routine and challenge all those false thoughts and dysfunctional beliefs that you have about food. There is strong evidence to suggest that long-term behaviour changes, such as specific and evidence based lifestyle changes in your diet and regular exercise, can re-train the body to shed excess body fat and keep it off.
This week’s Focus:
- If you are not already doing it, try to reduce your alcohol to only on the weekend and a maximum of 2 standard drinks
- Try and eat till you are 80% full at all meals and mindfully sit with that hunger
- Think about all your negative thoughts relating to losing weight that you have during the week
- Make a chart of all the times you feel hungry during the week when it is not meal time and acknowledge that it is your hormones adapting to your weight loss
Build on previous modules and ensure you are:
5. Only eating at the table and not in front of the TV or using an IPAD or smartphone.
6. Going for walks at lunchtimes
7. Rewarding yourself with non-food treats