3 Sneaky Ways Your Hormones May be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss
31 Dec 2015

3 Sneaky Ways Your Hormones May be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

Perimenopause brings a truckload of challenges with it, so it hardly seems fair that unrelenting weight gain is one of them. Meno-middle (weight gain in the abdomen) is one of the most common complaints of perimenopausal women. And most of them have been told that an extra 10–20 pounds is simply a rite of passage at this time of life and they should just accept their “middle-age spread.”


Unfortunately, it’s not just about willpower. All the willpower in the world won’t work against hormone imbalances in your body that you may not even be aware of!

We all know that estrogen goes crazy in (peri)menopause, right? But what about DHEA? And testosterone? And Vitamin D?

Guess what? They’ve got roles in your weight loss play too!

If you’re frustrated with weight loss, there may be more going on than “more calories in than out”. That simplistic formula gets a little more complicated after forty.

Here are 3 things to consider when the needle on the scale isn’t moving:

1) You have an estrogen to progesterone imbalance

Many women have an estrogen dominance problem – when estrogen is too high relative to low progesterone levels. This contributes to weight gain in the hips and thighs, water retention, sluggish metabolism and slow or stalled weight loss. And as you gain weight, your fat cells crank out more estrogen… which is just what you DON’T need!

What to do: If your estrogen levels are high make sure your fiber intake is in the 30-45 gram/day range. Your body eliminates estrogen in poop and fiber keeps things moving along. Increase this slowly or your GI tract will hate you.

2) You have elevated levels of cortisol and low levels of DHEA and testosterone

High levels of cortisol are a big reason the human body tends to store fat, particularly in your middle. Chronic stress sends your body into hoarding mode, so that fat’s not going anywhere until stressors are minimized or eliminated. This is a survival response as old as time.

High cortisol also increases blood sugar and insulin levels, which increases fat storage. Stress hormones that are out of control rob available DHEA and testosterone, thus working against your goal of having a lean body. The more lean muscle mass you lose, the more it is replaced by F.A.T.

What to do: if you feel like you need to be on a caffeine drip at all times or you’re wired to the max, consider cortisol as the culprit. Hormone testing can determine the extent of imbalance and changes in lifestyle along with stress reduction and adrenal support can get you off the cortisol roller-coaster.

3) You’re Vitamin D deficient

Our vitamin D levels are much lower than they were 30 or so years ago. Why? We’re inside much more and when we’re outside, we’re soaked in sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Vitamin D acts like a hormone in our bodies; and its deficiency can be linked to weight gain, particularly of deep visceral fat (the type that is most hazardous to your health), fatigue, food allergies, MS and even cancer.

A level below 50 ng/mL indicates deficiency. For supplementation, the rule of thumb is that 1000IU raises your level 10 ng/mL. Your goal is a level between 50 and 80 ng/mL.

The Bottom Line

The truth is that weight loss is not about willpower or calories in/calories out. Both are myths given to us by the diet industry that doom us to failure. Fad diets don’t work because they oversimplify a very complicated process; one that is more complicated during menopause because of the factors mentioned above.

Tweet: Weight loss is a side effect of good health.

You have to get healthy before you can lose weight and keep it off. Once you do this, your body will naturally seek and maintain its ideal weight.

Healthy changes can be hard. If you’d like to create something different for yourself, but aren’t sure what the first step is, consider joining Lose Fat Over 40. The program lasts 12 weeks and is designed to specifically to address the weight management needs of women in midlife. You’ll have more energy, fewer cravings, better sleep and a return of your magical mojo. You can find out more here: www.drannagarrett.com.

About Dr. Anna

Dr. Anna Garrett is a pharmacist and menopause expert who helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. But her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim pieces of themselves they thought were gone forever.

Dr. Anna offers a complimentary 30-minute Get Acquainted Call to anyone who’d like to learn more about working 1-1 with her. You can schedule that at your convenience by clicking here.


Dr. Anna Garrett


  1. […] these 3 practices is a great start toward achieving your weight goals because unless you conquer cortisol, your efforts will feel like slogging through molasses. If you […]

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