#105: Hormonal Balance and Sex, Recovering From a Binge, & PMS and Soy

#105: Hormonal Balance and Sex, Recovering From a Binge, & PMS and Soy

Hey loves,

It’s episode 105!

Be sure to check back every Tuesday for a new episode, and head over to iTunes or Stitcher to subscribe!

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This week, Noelle and I discuss hormonal balance and sex, recovering from a binge, & PMS and soy.

Got a question you’d like us to answer? Email us at paleowomenpodcast@gmail.com.

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Topics

[18:27] Hormonal Balance and Sex
[39:30] Recovering From a Binge
[51:41] PMS and Soy

Links!

http://www.thistlefarms.org

Stefani’s website: http://paleoforwomen.com

PrepDish

Prep DishPrep Dish is a subscription-based meal planning service with both paleo and gluten-free options. When you sign up, you’ll receive an email every week with a grocery list and instructions for prepping your meals ahead of time.

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Allison, a Registered Dietician, Chef, and the founder of Prep Dish is offering listeners a free 2-week subscription! Go to http://prepdish.com/paleowomen to take advantage of this special deal.

Thanks for your support, and for listening! We absolutely love being a part of your lives.

dy for the entire week. You’ll save time and have amazingly delicious meals like Smoky Paprika Chicken Legs, Turkey & Zucchini Lasagna, and Almond Butter Cookies.

Allison, a Registered Dietician, Chef, and the founder of Prep Dish is offering listeners a free 2-week subscription! Go to http://prepdish.com/paleowomen to take advantage of this special deal.

Thanks for your support, and for listening! We absolutely love being a part of your lives.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Phytoestrogens in the Body: How Soy Interferes with Natural Hormone Balance

Phytoestrogens in the Body: How Soy Interferes with Natural Hormone Balance

Soy contains a certain kind of molecule called a “phytoestrogen” that acts like estrogen in the body.Health professionals disagree strongly about whether phytoestrogens are healthy for women to eat. Is soy (and flax, another potent phytoestrogen-containing food) the fountain of youth, or is it a toxin?

What is a phytoestrogen?

Phyto is Greek for “plant.” Estrogen means estrogen. Phytoestrogens are varieties of estrogen found in plants. Unfortunately, they do not exactly resemble the body’s natural estrogen. This makes the effect they have on health complicated.

There are several types of phytoestrogens.  The primary kinds are coumestans, isoflavones, and lignans.

Primary types of phytoestrogens

So what foods contain phytoestrogens?

Phytoestrogens can be found in many foods. This list documents the phytoestrogen content in some common foods. Some of the items are not surprising; Flax and Soy rank as number one and two respectfully. Some unexpected foods that contain phytoestrogens include garlic, hops and olive oil.

By far, the foods that contain the most phytoestrogens are soy and flax. These are so high in phytoestrogens that they can impact pretty much everybody, no matter their hormone health. Foods lower in phytoestrogen content such as chick peas or wheat have a very minimal phytoestrogenic impact. For most “healthy” people they shouldn’t be a problem. For women with hormone balance issues (such as me) , however, they may also still have an effect.

In all cases, with hormone balance issues, as well as people who regularly consume vegetable oils, nuts and soy, would do well to consider how potent their phytoestrogen intake may be.

What is estrogen?

Estrogen is actually a catch-all term for a wide variety of chemicals with similar shapes and functions, such as estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2). During a woman’s reproductive years, estradiol levels are much higher than other estrogens. During menopause, estradiol levels drop off, and the bulk of a woman’s estrogen content becomes E1 and E3 (estriol). This is important because E2 is the form of estrogen the ovaries pump out, and is also what is has the greatest effect in a woman’s reproductive years on partitioning fat to the hips and thighs rather than the abdomen. Plummeting E2 is why many women experience increases in abdominal fat during menopause.

E1- Estrone – Weak form of Estrogen, prominent throughout menopause

E2- Estradiol – Strongest and most prominent until menopause, active during reproductive years

E3- Estriol – weakest of the three, levels vary throughout the reproductive and menopausal course

How does the body perform estrogen signaling?

Estrogen is a hormone, which means that it is one of the chemicals in the body that works primarily as a signal: it tells cells and organs what they should be doing.  The sex hormone signaling process “begins” in the pituitary (with overhead influence from the hypothalamus in the brain).  It is up to the pituitary to tell the ovaries what to do, which is to produce estrogen.

The hypothalamus and pituitary glands have estrogen receptors liberally positioned through them.  These receptors tell them how much estrogen is circling throughout the body at any given time.

Think of it like keys and locks: estrogen receptors are the locks, and estrogen molecules are the keys.  With more keys, more locks can be filled. With fewer keys, locks end up sitting there empty, and rusted.

Phytoestrogen estrogen

When the locks are filled, the pituitary detects “estrogen sufficiency!” in the body, and it slows down the “please pump estrogen” signal it sends to the ovaries.  This makes the ovaries produce less estrogen.

The whole purpose of this system is to maintain stable estrogen levels in the blood.  

Unfortunately, consuming high quantities of phytoestrogens often interferes with this otherwise healthfully functioning feedback loop.

The medical community’s opinion on what this means

Phytoestrogens act as estrogen in the body.  But here’s the problem: while phytoestrogens have a pretty good ability to bind to estrogen receptors, they are not able to signal as well as estrogen.

Phytoestrogens look enough like estrogen to bind to estrogen receptors, but they do not look exactly like estrogen.  This makes their ability to perform estrogen functions inferior to true estrogen.

When you eat phytoestrogens, they enter your bloodstream. To many doctors, this means that women with low estrogen levels should eat phytoestrogens. In their perspective, phytoestrogens would signal “fullness” to the estrogen receptors. They would also perform the normal functions of estrogen in the body.

On the other end of the spectrum, many doctors argue that women with high estrogen levels should supplement with phytoestrogens.  This is because the phytoestrogens would flood the estrogen receptors. These receptors would down-regulate estrogen production. And, because these phytoestrogens do not resemble true estrogen, estrogenic activity would not actually increase. It would decrease. This, many doctors argue, could overall decrease estrogen production and possibly reduce risks of certain cancers.

In both of these cases, however, the science is not clear cut. Some doctors may think that women with both high and low estrogen levels should supplement with phytoestrogens, but that’s not always a great solution. For women with high estrogen, it can still sometimes make it worse. There simply could be far too much. For women with low estrogen, it can also make it worse. Since different kinds of phytoestrogens communicate differently with different kinds of estrogen receptors, depending on which phytoestrogen women with low estrogen levels consume, it could actually do more harm than good.

Something you may want to look into then is how to support healthy estrogen production first without using phytoestrogens.

How to balance estrogen levels

– Increase fat mass, if underweight

Decrease fat mass if overweight

– Exercise when it feels right

– Eat anti-inflammatory, paleo foods like organic vegetables and fruits, organ meats, here’s a supplement in case you do not like to eat liver), eggs, fermented foods (on this page are my favorites) and the rockstar superfood cod liver oil can go a long way.

– Sleep.

– You can read about all of these and additional suggestions in my book, available here.

But what about the other types of Phytoestrogens?

There are three primary types of phytoestrogens (plus dozens of sub-types): lignans, coumestans, and isoflavones. There are two types of estrogen receptors: estrogen receptor alpha (ERa) and estrogen receptor beta (ERb).

Different estrogen receptors have different shapes, and are distributed unevenly throughout the body.

ERa is concentrated more heavily in the hypothalamus than ERb, for example.

ERb is concentrated more heavily in skin tissue. It also varies for fat cells, for ovarian cells, for different types of brain cells.

Edit 2017: Recently, after learning about new research and working with even more women, I’m finding that plant-based phytoestrogens may promote ER beta activity, which can lower estrogenic potency in the body as a whole, thereby decreasing the risk for certain cancers (this is not true of synthetic estrogen, like that in hormonal birth control or estrogen replacement therapy). Read more about these latest studies right here

Coumestans have a unique chemical shape (with two hydroxy groups in the same position as estradiol).   Coumestol has the same binding affinity for the ERb receptor as estrogen, but it has much less of an affinity for ERa.  This means that ERb’s will get filled up by coumestans, but ERa-heavy tissue might suffer a decrease in estrogen-like activity because estrogen production in general gets down-regulated by the hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovaries, etc.., thus making estrogen levels decrease in ERa tissues relative to ERb.

Additionally, the shape of coumestans means that coumestans have the ability to inhibit aromatase.

Aromatase is the process of converting testosterone to estrogen in cells.  This can be helpful to know for women with PCOS who have high testosterone and low estrogen levels: it may be helpful to avoid coumestans.

Different isoflavones bind to different estrogen receptors differently. Some bind more strongly to ERa, and others to ERb (genistein, dihydrogenistein to ERb, equal to ERa).  Yet most importantly, many (though not all) isoflavanones that have been tested have the same binding affinity as actual estrogen, but half the receptor-dependent transcriptional power. This is a powerful fact: isoflavones have half of the ability to perform estrogenic function as they do to take up space. Isoflavones such as soy can help women with estrogen dominance.

The takeaway

Phytoestrogen biochemistry is complicated. Some studies have shown that phytoestrogens boost estrogen activity, and others have shown that they decrease estrogen activity. This is due in part to the variable biochemical components of different kinds of phytoestrogens I listed above. It may also be due to the broad diversity of women’s physiological responses to phytoestrogen.  What were the women’s estrogen levels beforehand?  Were they healthy women?  Fertile women? Women on the pill or grew up eating soy?  Those who are routinely exposed to xenoestrogens?  There are too many questions and the variables are still too numerous to say whether all women should avoid soy.

Something we can say definitively however is that women should tread carefully around soy, flax, and other phytoestrogens.

I am a firm believer in bioindividuality. Some women could benefit from phytoestrogen usage. Some may not. It is up to you to figure out which you may be. If you are extremely low or extremely high in estrogen, it seems likely that phytoestrogens could help.

If you do not know, step carefully. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. You can work on balancing your hormones first and foremost through adequate carb and fat intake, through smart exercise (for a way to achieve this at home, click here), through stress reduction, and through an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrients.

If you want to experiment with phytoestrogens, start small. Perhaps with a daily bowl of chickpeas or hummus. This is what I personally do.

For further resources on phytoestrogens and how they interface with health :

Why I now believe Phytoestrogens may be good for you

Phytoestrogen Sources you Might not Know You’re Consuming

Menopause and Hot Flashes

Losing weight while you get older 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Why Balanced Hydration is Important

Why Balanced Hydration is Important

I’ve occasionally seen a somewhat disturbing idea in the paleo community about water.

There’s an idea that we should “eat” most of our water through fresh fruits and vegetables and neglect the actual drinking of water, only drinking when we feel thirsty.

While I’m sure these people don’t mean not drinking ANY water, I think the advice can be dangerous.

It’s a nice idea to get our water from food and there may be some truth to the fact that it is better absorbed as a part of food.  But the reality is that about 80% of the water we consume as humans comes from liquid we DRINK.

And the vast majority of Americans, on healthy diets or not, are probably not drinking enough water.

We are bombarded day in and day out with cues that confuse our brains.  We often think we are hungry when we are thirsty, for example.

And that’s why relying on what we “feel” isn’t a great indicator for most people.  

Most of us know that dehydration can cause a range of health issues from fatigue and lack of energy to difficulty losing weight, yet we often place it low on the list of important changes to make to help speed weight loss or health gains.   Why water isn’t a more important part of our health conversation kind of amazes me!

Here’s where I might have people chime in to talk about the other dangerous pendulum swing- drinking as much water as you can possibly manage.

This, while well-intentioned (because the reality is that most people who try to drink a lot of water probably don’t end up going much over recommended levels) can be dangerous in the very well-disciplined, in athletes, and in others.

So how much water should you drink?

That depends on you.

The average woman should get around 9, 8 oz. cups of water a day, this is what is generally agreed upon in the scientific community and among nutritionists.  Some might need more, men need a bit more, but 9-13 cups is a good benchmark.

Caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee CAN be counted in your daily cups.  They do cause some moderate water loss but not enough to make them not count.

You all know that I’m not big on caffeine, but many people function well with some, so I recommend limiting it if you must drink it.  Caffeinated beverages shouldn’t make up the majority of what you’re drinking on a daily basis.

What about athletes?

If you’re working out regularly, your fluid needs might change.  Drinking a cup or two 30 minutes to an hour before exercise is a good idea, and then replenishing with a cup every 30 minutes throughout, but there’s no need to be gulping down tons of water.

In fact, over-hydration can cause flushing of valuable sodium and potassium in the body and can lead to serious health conditions.

Those who sweat a lot or who are performing sweat inducing activities should keep in mind that sweat is salty.  That salt is sodium and if it isn’t being replenished, especially in very hot climates during long bouts of exercise like long runs, it can cause low sodium and potassium as well, especially when combined with over-hydration.

Stick to the recommendations above, but when you’re doing something really sweaty, it’s a good idea to replenish electrolytes with some kind of sports beverage.

There are some sports powders that I like for this purpose which you can buy on Amazon that aren’t chock full of high fructose corn syrup and food dyes.

This electrolyte powder is mixed into your drink and comes in several flavors.  It’s sweetened with Stevia and is gluten and soy free.  Find the multi-flavor value pack here. 

And don’t forget to put it in your BPA free glass water bottle!

How do you stay hydrated?

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

The 10 Most Common Mistakes Women with PCOS Make

The 10 Most Common Mistakes Women with PCOS Make

I’ve been working with women who have PCOS now for more than 5 years. In this time, I’ve encountered hundreds if not thousands of specific cases. Iv’e read just about every blog, website, and article there is out there for PCOS. I’ve spent hours searching through online forums and facebook communities, learning about women’s experiences.

After all this time, I’ve learned a thing or two (or several hundred) about what’s right for PCOS, as well as what isn’t.

To help prevent you from making the same mistakes I see over and over again with women who have PCOS, I’ve put together a list of the 10 most common ones. Hopefully then you’ll be able to dodge the bullet, so to speak, and overcome PCOS quickly and painlessly.

  1. Going on the Birth Control Pill

The birth control pill might be a good way to mask symptoms of PCOS, but it never fixes the underlying problem. In fact, many women who go on the pill find that their PCOS has worsens while on it, but don’t find out until they get off the pill, try to get pregnant, then can’t. Birth Control Pills are one of the most favored “solutions” for PCOS of doctors, but they are completely ineffective in terms of healing, fertility, or long-term freedom from PCOS.

  1. Using Metformin

Due to its ability to increase insulin sensitivity, Metformin is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the Western world. Metformin can help alleviate complications from diabetes, as well as help women who have PCOS, especially type 1 PCOS (more on which in video #2). Metformin is a problem, however, since much like birth control pills, in that it never solves the underlying problem causing hormone imbalance and PCOS. It only ever covers it up.

  1. Taking estrogen blockers

Thousands of women take Estro block or other estrogen blockers in hopes of helping their PCOS. However, estrogen is generally not the main problem for women with PCOS. If you’re taking estrogen blockers, you may be targeting the wrong hormones. Instead, consider looking into ways to decrease testosterone and/or DHEA-S levels, especially if you are “type 1 PCOS”. If you are “type 2 PCOS,” more estrogen might actually be what you need.

  1. Taking herbal supplements

Admittedly, some women find great relief from herbal supplements. But just like with Metformin and birth control pills, they don’t  provide permanent solutions. They only help to alleviate symptoms and cover up underlying issues. Also, they are not well studied by the scientific literature, so their effects are not well known. Most supposed “effects” of herbal supplements simply come from people’s stories. So it may be worthwhile to experiment with herbal supplements while addressing underlying issues, but this should be done carefully, and with due acknowledgement of the fact that it may not fix underlying issues.

  1. Doing a lot of cardio

Is more always better? For exercise, the answer is no, especially if you’re spending all your time on a bike or a treadmill. The best way to exercise for PCOS is to shoot for efficiency: short, intense, effective exercises instead of long, grueling, stamina-demanding exercises are best. This is because short and intense work outs (such as lifting heavy weights) help improve insulin levels and hormone balance, while long-distances exercises can help, but not quite as much. Most women do well shooting for 3-4 weight lifting work outs a week.

  1. Failing to investigate underlying causes

Trying to overcome PCOS without paying attention to its underlying causes is like shooting in the dark. Getting your hormone levels tested by a doctor, by a functional medicine practitioner, or with a home saliva test is a great way to get data on what’s going on in your body. If you don’t have access to that, learning about the potential causes and types of PCOS and their symptoms (which I’ll discuss some in video #2) may very well be enough. The more you know about what’s causing your PCOS, the more specifically you can treat it.

  1. Low carb diets

Most women who have PCOS try a low carbohydrate diet. Is this effective? Sometimes. But not all women are helped by it. In fact, more than 20% of women who have PCOS may be hurt by it. If you try a low carb diet, pay close attention to your symptoms and see if they get better or worse. That way, you can stop yourself from doing damage if you are one of the 20% of women who really need those carbs.

  1. Low fat, high protein diets

Common nutritional wisdom says that low fat, high protein diets are best. Nutritionists or magazines might tell you to eat salad with low fat dressing and lean chicken breast. But this is not necessarily best, and definitely not for women with hormone imbalance. Hormones (and other important parts of the body, such as brain matter) are made out of fat. Without it, as you heal from PCOS, your body won’t be able to produce the hormones it needs. Fat is a friend, for all women with PCOS.

  1. Dining out

Unfortunately, dining out in the West is full of potential dangers for women with PCOS. One of the worst dangers is the fact that the vast majority of restaurants use vegetable oil for their cooking. Vegetable oil (including corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, canola oil, and more) is rich in omega 6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation. Inflammation is one of the most common underlying issues that women with PCOS suffer from. To help minimize your inflammation levels, consider dining out as little as possible, or specifically requesting olive oil or butter to be used for your meals. Additionally, adding a fermented cod liver oil supplement (fermentation prevents the fats from oxidizing and keeps them healthful) is one quick way to start reducing inflammation levels.

  1. Ignoring potential red flags

Irregular or absent periods, acne, facial hair growth, and difficulty losing weight are all potential symptoms of PCOS. But it’s important when you’re looking for the underlying causes of PCOS to pay attention to other symptoms you experience. Do you have good digestive health? Are you chronically cold? Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Any symptom you experience in your body could help point to underlying causes.

If you’re looking for help on your journey with PCOS – and want to do things like pay attention to red flags, and avoid all the mistakes these women have, I can help you. There are countless posts on my blog about various things concerning PCOS. You can catch a list of the most popular ones at the page labeled PCOS.

You can also, if you’re ready to get serious about healing (did I tell you I overcame PCOS in 6 weeks once I finally figured out what my underlying problem was?), check out my totally risk free program for overcoming PCOS: PCOS Unlocked: The Manual.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Is weight loss harder the older you get?

Is weight loss harder the older you get?

Does it get harder to lose weight the older you get?

For many women who have already reached this point in their lives, the answer is an obvious YES.

Yet the question still remains of why this is the case, and if it is absolutely necessary. What is the science behind it? Can you avoid weight gain? How much of a challenge is it to keep the same shape and weight as before?

As it turns out, the answer is a bit unfortunate. There are real biological events that happen in your body as you age – particularly as a woman – that naturally lead to weight gain. But, fortunately, the more we know about them, the more equipped we are to take counter measures.

Here are the 4 most important reasons women in menopause gain weight:

1. Estrogen regulates appetite and fat storage

Arguably the most important facet of weight gain in menopause is decreased estrogen levels.

Estrogen receptors are located all throughout a woman’s body. They are particularly concentrated in the brain. This is important, because studies have shown that one type of estrogen receptor–estrogen receptor alpha (the other type is estrogen receptor beta)–plays an important role in energy homeostasis. That is – estrogen regulates how much energy your body burns.

In 2007, in a series of animal experiments described at the 234th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers demonstrated how important estrogen is to the regulation of food intake, energy expenditure, and body fat distribution.

Professor of Psychiatry Deborah H Clegg led a group of researchers investigating two ER-alpha rich portions of the brain. There is a part of the brain called the ventromedial nucleus. This area has been long recognized to play a role in energy regulation.

Clegg and her colleagues used a new laboratory technique called RNA interference. This enabled them to deactivate the ER-alpha receptors in the ventromedial nucleus (but not other parts of the brain) in rats. When they did so, the animal’s energy levels and metabolic rates plummeted. The animals also developed insulin regulation issues, an intolerance of glucose, and weight gain, even though their calorie intake remained the same. 

This is so important it bears repeating:

Without estrogen in the ventromedial nucleus, rats ate the same amount of food as normal but developed severe weight gain, glucose issues, and low energy. Without estrogen, keeping everything else the same, they gained weight.

Plus, their weight was not evenly distributed. Instead, it went directly to the visceral, or abdominal area of the body. This area is linked to a much higher rate of inflammation and disease than fat in other locations.

Lowering estrogen activity in the brain throughout menopause and after has the same effect on women: the body natural starts to burn less fat, and to keep storing it in places like the abdomen.

2. Estrogen and progesterone combat insulin and cortisol

As I discuss at length in my program for weight loss, Weight Loss Unlocked: The Paleo Woman’s Solution (check it out here) – estrogen and progesterone play important roles in modulating insulin sensitivity.

Importantly, estrogen helps make you more insulin sensitive. As estrogen levels drop in menopause, this can be a big problem for keeping fat storage to a minimum, and especially around the abdomen, where it can be a health concern.

Importantly, estrogen and progesterone also help modulate cortisol levels. When estrogen and progesterone levels fall during menopause, it’s entirely likely that over time, the body shifts toward storing fat when calories are high (as opposed to building muscle), and reduces the amount of fat burned when calories are low (and burn muscle instead). This is an effect both of reduced cortisol suppression as well as reduced insulin sensitivity.

3. Muscle mass deteriorates more quickly than it used to

Oxidative stress, inflammation, and inactivity are important reasons that muscle mass decreases as women age.

Yet estrogen is also quite important. Estrogen helps move calcium into bones and therefore supports a strong skeleton.

Estorgen also helps build muscle.

Now, this might not make a lot of sense, since body builders are always talking about the importance of testosterone. Yet even male body builders recognize the importance of estrogen. The body needs a certain amount of estrogen to maintain androgen (male sex hormone, like testosterone) receptors, which then go on to stimulate muscle growth. Furthermore, estrogen receptor beta appears to encourage muscle growth itself. The process of muscle loss while aging – called sarcopenia – has been shown to be slowed by estrogen treatments (and estrogen receptor beta activity) in rats. Interestingly, these muscle-stimulating affects occur in both male and female mice.

4. When exercising the body doesn’t burn as much fat as it used to

Unfortunately, due to declining muscle mass and insulin sensitivity both, it becomes harder for the body to burn calories during workouts.

This is unfortunate, but  also not without its solutions. Women who switch to high quality weight-bearing exercises (which you can find, or example, in Noelle’s amazing Strong from Home workout program) do maintain muscle mass, and therefore high quality, effective workouts. They just have to good about it. This is partly why I recommend Noelle’s program so highly – it helps you craft a fitness plan that is the perfect amount of cardio, weight training, and challenge for you. 

You can be sure that the more you focus on maintaining muscle mass, the more intense and beneficial your workouts will be.

What to do about it

As I just mentioned above, you can help preserve the efficacy of your workouts by choosing ones that focus on lifting heavy weights. You can get an awesome program designed just for this purpose with Noelle’s wonderful Strong from Home

You can also do everything you can to keep inflammation to a minimum. This will help keep your body from building up stress hormone levels and storing fat in your abdomen. This means eating a nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory diet full of organic vegetables and fruits, organ meats (here’s a supplement in case you do not like to eat liver), eggs, fermented foods (on this page are my favorites) and the rockstar superfood cod liver oil can go a long way.

Finally, you can work on supporting your estrogen levels. I do not recommend hormone replacement therapy. Sometimes, a small dose for a short period of time can work great as an interim fix. But  in the long term, it is probably best to focus on supporting estrogen with simple diet and lifestyle choices. You can do this getting plenty of high quality carbs (such as fruits and starches) and fats (such as olive oil and coconut oil) which can help boost estrogen production.

You may also be served by playing with your intake of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are estrogens found in plants. They occur in high doses in soy and flax, and in lower but still sometimes effective doses in legumes such as black beans and chick peas. For some people they hurt estrogen production, but for many women in menopause it can actually help. Start with a small dose, such as a bowl of chickpeas or hummus, once a day to see if it helps make a change.

I talk in more depth about the effect of hormones on weight maintenance in my manual for permanent weight loss for women, Weight Loss Unlocked: The Paleo Woman’s SolutionIf you’re looking to find a way to keep losing weight as you age, this may be a great resource for you. Plus, it’s 100% risk free – you can try the plans without any hassle or risk. Check it out here.

Importantly, I personally have not gone through menopause! Everything I’ve shared here I’ve learned through research. Please if you have any comments or ideas or experiences share them below!

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.