You're not imagining it: Your hormones are making you hungrier. Here, the facts on hormonal weight gain and how to prevent it.
Hormonal Weight Gain
Many of my midlife patients complain about weight gain even though they feel as if they aren't eating any differently. They haven't changed, but their brains have.
As you enter perimenopause, your brain becomes less sensitive to estrogen. This, of course, can trigger a cascade of familiar symptoms: hot flashes, fatigue, depression, changing libido. But in many women, it can also cause raging hunger. Estrogen affects your brain's levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and acetylcholine -- neurotransmitters that control eating, mood, and memory -- so changes in estrogen wreak havoc on your appetite control.
Your appetite is controlled by your brain's energy thermostat, located in the hypothalamus. There, hormones and neurotransmitters signal your appetite to turn on or off. So the easiest way to control your hunger -- whether you want to lose weight or just maintain it -- is to work with your hormonal currents rather than to fight them.
Your Hormonal Hunger Chemistry
Hormones, neurotransmitters, and other chemical signals circulating among your brain, your fat cells, and your stomach control your urge to eat (and to stop eating). Here, a look at the major players.
LEPTIN is a protein produced by fat cells that tells your brain that you are full.
GHRELIN is a hormone that's secreted in your stomach. It signals the cells in your brain's appetite center that you are famished.
DOPAMINE, a neurotransmitter, plays a major role in motivation, addiction, and reward; it may prompt you to keep eating even though you're not hungry anymore.
CORTISOL, a stress hormone, is produced by the adrenal glands and waxes and wanes throughout the day. When it's low, it may stimulate hunger.
Three Ways to Work with Your Hormones -- Not Against Them
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Hormone Fear from Misleading Study Conclusions
I am pleased to introduce Alan Altman, MD, clinical professor at Harvard Medical School. Hehas assembled the real facts on the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a landmark women’s health study that when reported by the government had wide (and detrimental) impact – creating mass fear for women about hormones, and forever changing practitioners prescribing of hormones. Even though this study has had far reaching impact, less than one-third of women are even aware of the WHI, a recent study by Stanford researchers have found, and many doctors still are unaware of the real findings that have emerged over time and through critical analysis.
So, here are the facts on the WHI from an expert who understood from the beginning what the study showed and did not show.
What the WHI (erroneously) “concluded."
- Hormones are BAD for women
What the WHI CAUSED after their “conclusion”
- Primary Care Providers took their patients off all
WHI – Here are the Facts – Straight Talk from Alan Altman, MD
- The WHI did not study all “hormones." In fact,
the ONLY hormones studied were Prempro© and Premarin© (non-human identical
hormones and only pill form)
- Oral estrogens increase the risk of blood clots and
of strokes related to blood clots. (We’ve known this for 30+ years, however we
see no increase in clots or strokes on non-oral estrogen.)
- There was a slight increase in breast cancer risk when on
Prempro© (estrogen and progestin) and slight decrease on Premarin© (estrogen
- Non-oral estrogen (specifically estradiol via transdermal patch, gel or transvaginal ring) AND natural micronized progesterone taken orally is presently safer, healthier and more “natural” for use in hormone therapy.
- There is a serious lack of consensus in the data looking at estrogen use and breast cancer risk.
- Testosterone can be useful in the appropriate patients post hysterectomy.
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3 steps to daily health
Relax in your
chair, eyes closed. Inhale to the count
three more times.
2. Stand with your feet about 1 foot apart. Stretch toward the ceiling reaching for a spot beyond it. Now bend slowly down reaching for a spot between your feet, going as far as possible without pain.
three more times.
3. Drink some water whenever your lips are dry
Try to do 1 and 2 every hour. You will concentrate better throughout your day. Feel better when your work day is done and BE better always. You have increased the oxygen in your blood. Helped blood flow easier through your body. And kept yourself hydrated.
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