OVERWEIGHT AND STRESSED AT FORTY?
(A mid-life approach to weight management)
For most women, when we get near our 40’s we start to notice a few changes to our once youthful appearances. Perhaps a few grey hairs, slightly deeper wrinkles and for many a new “normal” range on the scales that is NOT where we want it to be. In our 40’s we are juggling life in ways that we hadn’t previously and we are doing it on busy schedules, reduced sleep, poor food choices and huge levels of stress. It’s no wonder that our bodies can become so out of whack!
CAUSES OF WEIGHT-GAIN IN YOUR 40's
A woman in her mid-life can experience a combination of factors which slow down her metabolism - the rate at which she burns calories which contributes to weight gain. Some of these factors are:
Naturally occurring HORMONE SHIFTS (perimenopause).
A dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis caused by HIGH LEVELS OF STRESS which increases cortisol levels and causes insulin resistance.
A history of POOR DIETARY HABITS such as: yo-yo dieting, emotional (binge) eating & periods of calorie deprivation.
Busy lives can lead to limited time for EMOTIONAL & PHYSICAL SELF-CARE.
Stressed people have trouble losing weight - WHY?
Put simply stress causes the body to produce ‘the stress hormone’ CORTISOL. Chronic stressed states result in prolonged cortisol production which causes HPA axis dysfunction resulting in various negative health outcomes such as:
Increased abdominal fat and weight gain.
Blood sugar imbalances (insulin resistance).
Reduced lean muscle mass / suppressed metabolism.
Suppressed thyroid function.
With all this in mind, It is easy to see why weight gain in a stressed out 40+yr old woman can occur when no changes to diet or exercise have been made. It is also easy to see why diets alone do not work or if they do they are shortly followed with weight gain.
HOW TO BE SLIM, HEALTHY & CALM IN A BUSY WORLD!
Being the best version of yourself when you start aging all lies in emotional and physical self-care. Here are some simple places to start if you are ready to shed the stress and weight.
Seek emotional support - If you have been on the weight-loss journey for a long time, then enlisting someone to emotionally support you will offer you the best chance of success!
A daily mindfulness practice - Meditation, journal writing & positive visualisation will all reduce cortisol & stress.
Build lean muscle mass - Focussing on building muscle will not only turn your metabolism on, it will aid in maintaining bone density.
Exercise regularly - Regular exercise will increase neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine release which both reduce cortisol and increase your senses of happiness and wellbeing.
Become overnourished not overfed - Changing dietary practice to eating MAINLY foods that have nutrient value (vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, legumes, nuts, tofu, tempeh, ect).