Monday, October 3, 2011

Three Reasons Why You COULD Be Gaining Weight...............

You carefully watch everything you eat, exercise religiously, yet you still seem to packing on the pounds! Sound familiar?


Here are three reasons why you could be gaining weight:

1. Stress:
When you are under stress, you automatically pack on the pounds. Here's why: Stress makes your heart race. Adrenaline and cortisol surge through your body when you are constantly tense and on alert. This causes blood sugar levels to rise.  There's no way to use all that extra sugar so your body stores it as fat.

Tell Tale Signs:
In addition to weight gain, you are physically and emotionally drained most of the time.  You might get sick easily and despite the fact you are so exhausted, you have trouble sleeping.  You also could have high blood pressure and cholesterol.

What to do:
An easy way to keep cortisol from spiking is to stop and take five deep breaths when you start to feel stressed. Try to set aside at least 15 minutes every day to do something relaxing. Exercise is also a great way to relieve stress. Try yoga, meditation, sex---ALL STRESS REDUCERS! Always take the time to prepare good, healthy meals for yourself, no matter how tired you feel. Avoid white flour and white sugar, especially when you are stressed. Stay away from energy drinks, excess coffee, soft drinks, and junk food. Lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Try eating several small meals a day instead three big ones to keep your blood sugar steady.

Constant fatigue, rapid heart beat, hypertension or high cholestrol could be signs of serious health issues.  If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor. If your doctor has prescribed medication for any of these ailments, please do NOT stop taking it!

2. Underactive Thyroid:
Your thyroid is a gland that produces T3 and T4,  hormones that control your metabolism.  When your thyroid does not produce enough of these hormones,  your body begins to burn fat very slowly. If you're HONESTLY eating and exercising as you should be yet still gaining weight, you could have a thyroid problem..

Tell-Tale Signs:
You are always tired and cold, weight gain, dry skin. Excessive hair loss, constipation. You could also be experiencing puffiness in your legs and face.

What to do:
If you suspect your thyroid is underactive, the only way to be certain is to see your doctor. A simple blood test will determine whether or not this is the case.  If your thyroid is underactive, your doctor will most likely want to prescribe synthetic versions of T3 and T4.  This is a personal choice.  There are also supplements that aid in healthy thyroid function.  I highly recommend the book: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hormone Weight Loss by Alice Stanton, M.D.

3. Menopause:
This is ME!!! I recently entered the menopause stage of my life. I was happy to say goodbye to my monthly periods, the cramps and the mood swings, but I am not so thrilled about fighting so hard now to keep excess weight off!! This has been a constant battle for the past couple of years!

Why is this happening?

A few reasons: A woman´s hormones fluctuate prior to menopause and  is preparing for a permanently reduced hormonal level. The big side-effect:  in 90% of women in menopause--weight gain!

Here´s a list of the different hormones that can affect weight gain and how:

Estrogen: As a woman´s ovaries produce less estrogen, her body attempts to find the hormone in places other than the ovaries. Fat cells can produce estrogen, so her body works harder to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Unfortunately, fat cells don't burn calories the way muscle cells do, which causes weight gain.

Progesterone: Water retention is often linked to menopause because water weight and bloating are caused by progesterone levels. Though this doesn't actually result in weight gain, clothes can feel a bit tighter and a woman may feel as though she´s heavier.

Androgen: The amount of this hormone increases at the onset of menopause. It´s responsible for sending new weight to the mid-section instead of to the hips, which many women are accustomed to. Some women even have a nickname for the menopause years based on the mid-section weight gain: "the middle-age spread".

Testosterone: Testosterone helps a woman´s body create lean muscle mass out of the calories consumed. Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells do, increasing metabolic rate. As testosterone levels drop, fewer calories are transformed into lean muscle mass, thus a woman´s metabolism winds down.

Insulin Resistance: Insulin resistance can occur during the menopausal years. This is when a woman´s body mistakenly turns every calorie taken in into fat. Over time, processed and refined foods may make a woman´s body resistant to insulin produced in the blood stream.

What to do:
Sorry, Sister! Unless you are lucky enough to be one of the 10% who don't gain weight during menopause, lifestyle change is the ONLY way to keep those pounds from piling on! If you are showing the signs of menopause: light or missed periods, hot flashes, or you're suddenly carrying most of your extra weight around your abdomen: now is the time to change your habits!

Regular exercise and an improved diet are crucial! You might also want to start including foods that help stimulate hormone production. Studies have shown that diets rich in foods that promote estrogen levels (such as soy, apples, alfalfa, cherries, potatoes, rice, wheat and yams) go a long way in helping regulate menopausal symptoms.

A drop in estrogen and progesterone can cause an increase in appetite and cause you to eat up to 67% more than usual!  A plant-based diet and alternative sources of protein can help. 67% more fruits and veggies is certainly much better than the equivalent in chips, cookies and cake!

Your lifestyle is an important factor here. You are going to gain weight during menopause if you do not:
reduce stress
exercise, exercise, exercise
change your diet
stop drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

You might have gotten away with it in when you were younger. If you put on a few pounds, all you had to do was walk an extra mile on the treadmill, cut out desserts, and switch to light beer. It's not so simple anymore. You can be still be hot and sexy during menopause--you're just gonna have to work harder at it!

If you just can't seem to win the battle of the bulge, it is possible that one or ALL of these reasons are to blame. Listen your body and do what it tells you.  Speak to your doctor or health care practitioner about the best course of treatment.  And of course, I am always available to help. Together we can put together a healthy lifestyle plan that works for YOU! 

Feel free to contact me anytime.

And this is my Daily Cyn........

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