I know I know – you’ve tried many different diets on your way to 40 – WW, SW, low calorie, shakes, meal replacements, eat less/exercise more…. and yes they all used to work. The minute we wanted to drop a few pounds we just jumped on the new fad and the weight vanished!


These diets don’t work now. So what happened? Have you considered that your body is changing as you’re getting older? Our bodies are not the same as they were in our 20s and they certainly do not act the same way

What happened? Hormones – that’s what!

Our hormones are changing in a big way and it’s not just our reproductive hormones…it’s all our hormones including those linked to appetite and stress. As we approach menopause levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fluctuate and these fluctuations can cause havoc with gaining weight easily.


So what’s actually happening with our hormones?

Oestrogen – our fat storer

Responsible for our body shape and where we store fat. Oestrogen works hand in hand with progesterone to regulate our reproductive cycles, promoting fat storage in the breasts and hips and is also responsible for salt and water retention.

BUT as hormones start to change around menopause we can become temporarily oestrogen dominant as progesterone falls more quickly than oestrogen. This can lead to weight gain.

As oestrogen continues to drop we no longer control where fat is stored in our bodies – suddenly that tyre around our middles starts to expand! Thanks a lot oestrogen!


Progesterone – our fat burner

Progesterone is responsible for helping our bodies metabolise fat, burning it for energy and promoting weight loss. Levels decreasing during menopause can have the effect of weight gain as oestrogen levels rise, knocking things out of balance. Progesterone is also a natural diuretic, allowing water loss and decreasing water retention.

Progesterone itself doesn’t actually cause weight loss. Instead, it helps reduce the effects other hormones have on weight gain.

When progesterone and oestrogen work together, all these factors balance out to promote healthy weight regulation.

When progesterone levels drop more quickly than oestrogen, imbalances happen, and weight gain can sneak in. Oestrogen does SO MANY amazing things for our bodies, but without enough progesterone to keep it in check, we can experience oestrogen dominance.

So we temporarily end up with our fat storer at higher levels than our fat burner -not at all great for weight control..


Insulin – another fat storer

Aka our fat storing hormone. As we get older, and especially as we gain weight, the body starts to ignore insulin — the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.

As a result, blood sugar levels increase because cells are no longer absorbing it. The result: you’re hungry all the time, and you may experience more cravings. Not only can this lead to undesirable weight gain, it also puts you at greater risk for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

Tip: To avoid a glucose overload, make sure all meals are balanced with complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fat. I will be talking more about this in other blogs.


Leptin and Ghrelin – our appetite control hormones

Hormones like ghrelin (which tells you when you’re hungry) and leptin (which tells you when you’re full) also fluctuate.

As we age, the receptors for these hormones stop being as responsive, so we can become leptin and ghrelin resistant too. You’re not imagining things – your appetite signals are out of whack because of your hormones! Appetite control is one of the things that my clients struggle with the most thanks to the changes in the effectiveness of these hormones.


Stress and cortisol – our stress hormone

Cortisol, aka your stress hormone, is responsible for pumping sugar into the blood so that you have enough energy for your ‘fight or flight’ response. The extra sugar gets ‘mopped up’ by insulin and goes straight to your fat cells for storage. A stressed body stores fat!

Not just that…when you’re stressed, tired and exhausted (I mean who isn’t nowadays?! As we get older our lives get busier and we have more and more things to juggle!), you haven’t got the energy to even think about healthy foods. You’re far more likely to grab convenient foods that will give you an instant energy boost – usually refined carbs, sugary snacks, processed foods and takeaways! Cue out of control blood sugars and fat storage!


Thyroid Hormones – our metabolism controller

The thyroid is your internal motor and it comes under increased pressure in your 40s. Imagine a record playing at a reduced speed … That’s what happens when your thyroid is struggling to keep up. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause mood changes, weight gain, constipation and feeling sluggish.

So you can see why it’s so important to address the balance of all our hormones as we get older. Fluctuating oestrogen, insulin, high cortisol and low thyroid function are common culprits of fat hoarding..especially around our middles! Add to this our slowing metabolism (It is estimated that our metabolism slows down 5% every decade after 40) and we have a recipe for disaster!


Luckily there are things we can do to bring things back into balance and this is what I help my 1:1 clients achieve every day.

You can find out more by joining my free fb group here Eat More, Feel Great and Lose Weight after 40 | Facebook

Or booking a free weight loss strategy call here….

Why is it harder to lose weight over 40?

by | Jul 2, 2021 | Uncategorized

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I’m sure you will have questions so please feel free to get in touch with me and I will answer them fully. 



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