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Hormones and weight loss. A formula for success?!

Women, I just learned something critical and want to share it. There is science and hope!

Photo shoot - Fall 2013

Photo shoot – Fall 2013

There are a few key sources I use as a go-to references for my ongoing transformation, and as a result, I’m always learning and evolving my thinking around total health and wellness. I’m grateful for that.

One of those key sources is Jade Teta and the Metabolic Effect. Metabolic Effect describes itself as a formula for optimal health, fitness and body transformation. It is similar in approach to the fat loss plan that I followed to lose  -200 lbs and nearly 50% of my body fat. And, it’s basic premise is how I’m continuing to keep the weight off.

The Metabolic Effect program is built around a basic hormonal protocol vs. calorie counting. So you’re burning stored fat and building muscle, not just dropping calories. It’s both science- and experience-based, plus it helps you learn about your unique body and needs. You can learn more about Metabolic Effect here.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with peri-menopausal issues. Me —  and most of my girlfriends my age. Just the other night, we were talking about the “joys” of peri-menopause and how we all noticing that our bodies are changing. The same diet and exercise approaches that we used when we were younger no longer work. The weight is settling right around the middle. Plus, to keep it interesting, we’re battling a host of other challenges — trouble sleeping, stress, mood swings, hot flashes and/or night sweats, and erratic periods. Fun stuff, both for us and the men in our lives!

I had an interesting battle this past month that made me think I needed to change up something about my nutritional program, and/or ask my doctor about it. Then yesterday, an email from Jade Teta came across my desk titled, “Master These 4 Things To Beat Menopausal Weight Gain.” Do you believe in karma? The timing of this email was uncanny.

In the email, Metabolic Effect co-founder, Jade Teta, shared his philosophy (backed by science) about why weight gain in menopause is so different and how to address. Jade shared his basic formula in four steps. I felt like he was writing it for me — and I immediately wanted to share it with my girlfriends and with all of you.

I’m not going to share the entire blog here because it’s his intellectual property and you can read it for yourself. But he certainly caught my attention with this introduction:

“Women have a completely different hormonal metabolism compared to men. As women age, the metabolism varies substantially from how it functioned in their younger years….” (Yep, we know that, but why and how do we fix it?) Jade goes on.

“The female hormones estrogen and progesterone have a major impact on keeping women lean, healthy and fit. During the menopausal transition these hormones go through dramatic fluctuations before finally dropping to low levels. This comes along with gains in weight and a dramatic shift in fat distribution to the middle of the body. In response to these changes, most women turn to the standard diet advice of eat less, and exercise more. This is the exact wrong approach and often makes the situation worse.”

Now, you’re talking. Yes, that makes sense. So what do we do about it?

Re: why this occurs? Cortisol and Insulin.

Here’s what Jade had to say about what happens to our metabolisms in menopause…

“The menopausal metabolism is by very definition an imbalanced hormone state compared to what it was in a females younger years. Insulin is a fat storing and muscle-building hormone. Even if you achieve a calorie deficit, if you have too much insulin you may lose weight, but that weight will be far less likely to be fat.

Cortisol is a stress hormone and it along with insulin causes fat storage around the middle.  Even if you achieve calorie reduction, like insulin, it makes it more likely you burn muscle along with fat. And if you don’t succeed in lowering calories, both hormones almost assure those calories will store as fat and especially around the middle.” …

“At menopause, when these two hormones go away, the female metabolism 1) slows down 2) is more carb sensitive (due to insulin) 3) is more stress reactive.”

Okay, makes sense. And, serves as proof of why I completely stalled out in trying to get those last few pounds off to get back to my goal weight for a speech last month. If I continue using the same approach I used in fat loss — pre peri-menopause — I’m likely to remain crabby and stalled, plus confused. I got it. So now what?

How to fix it?

In the email, Jade Teta goes on to describe in detail his overall Menopausal Weight Loss protocol built around a 4S model for nutrition and exercise. You can learn more about it here.

The basic point is this…

  • Eating healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, avocado, eggs are fine, but at this stage it’s important to focus on protein over fat.  “It is more satiating and has less calories.”
  • Too much fruit spikes insulin, so according to Jade — “Fruits are okay on occasion, but eat more vegetables than fruit and save fruit for an occasional dessert treat.”
  • And exercise? Again the more is better approach, not totally right at this stage. Jade suggests: “Don’t exercise too intensely or too often.  Limit the hardcore exercise to 3-4 times per week and focus on relaxing walking, restorative yoga, tai chi or other relaxing activities instead.”

This makes sense based on what I’ve been experiencing of late.

There’s no question, Jade Teta is a masterful marketer and business person. Indeed, he goes on in the email to describe a formula that he developed to address menopausal weight gain, titled: The Menopause Weight Loss Program. I’ve learned to trust the Metabolic Effect approach/advice because I’ve seen how it works in/with my body, AND because Jade Teta provides the science to back it up in simple terms I can understand. But I’m not selling anything here! Rather, I want to share the philosophy and his tips. Because for those of us in the throws of peri- and menopause who are actively struggling with losing or maintaining our weight and fighting off the middle bulge, it means there is hope.

Sometimes when we’re stuck, all we need a little hope and a road map.

Let me know what you think.

Lori

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